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Events of the Month


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Events during 2003-October:

October is a month that features fall harvest festivals: the Jewish Sukkot on the 10th to 17th; the Canadian Thanksgiving on the 8th; the Wiccan Samhain on the 31st, and the secular Halloween, also on the 31st.

  • OCTOBER: This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Brain Injury Awareness Month in the U.S. It is also Pastor Appreciation Month, a time to recognize the contribution of Christian clergy. The latter is mainly observed by Evangelical Christians.
  • OCT-4: This is World Angel Day. It is celebrated in Los Angeles on this date, and elsewhere in Australia, Canada, Europe, South Africa and the U.S. at approximately this date. It is a time "when everyone will be touched and overlit by angels."
  • OCT-5: Many Protestant Christians will observe World Communion Sunday. This is the held on the first Sunday in October each year. It is a day when many Protestant churches around the world celebrate communion. Often, a congregation will hold a multi-cultural service. "...on this Sunday we are reminded that Christ has called us to a table that is universal, that encompasses all the diversities of this world, a table that sees difference as a gift not a burden." 1
  • OCT-5: Since 1987, this is National Coming-out Day, celebrated every year on this day by gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, and their allies. They are urged to "come out of the closet," and be open with their sexual orientation. This is  a very dangerous act in some areas of North America. 2
  • OCT-5?: In past years, as a reaction to National Coming-out Day, Kerusso Ministries advertised the same day as National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day. Persons with a homosexual orientation publicly declare it is possible to leave homosexuality by choosing to be celibate. Others with a bisexual orientation choose to restrict their relationships to opposite-sex partners. We have been unable to confirm that this will be observed in 2003, but will recheck as October approaches.
  • OCT-5?: In past years, the annual International Week of Prayer and Fasting is observed about this time. It is sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church, and is an urgent call to convert the world to Catholicism, attain world peace, and to end abortion access. We have been unable to confirm this date for 2003. We will recheck as October approaches. 3
  • OCT-5: The 15th annual  International Life Chain occurs today. It is held yearly on the first Sunday in October the U.S. and Canada. Demonstrators will pray for an end to abortion, and hold signs promoting adoption and condemning abortion.
  • OCT-6: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement follows the Jewish new year. It is the most solemn of Jewish holy days -- a time of fasting, confession of sins, and praying.
  • OCT-10: This is World Mental Health Day. It is sponsored by the World Federation for Mental Health and the World Health Organization.
  • OCT-11: Jews celebrate the first day of Sukkot (a.k.a. Sukkoth, the Festival of Booths and Festival of Tabernacles). Booths are built to remind Jews of their wandering through the wilderness after their Exodus from Egypt.
  • OCT-12: A number of Christian fundamentalist and social conservative groups have defined this day as the start of Marriage Protection Week. Their goal is to preserve laws that prevent same-sex couples from marrying in the U.S.  President Bush proclaimed it nationally on 2003-OCT-3.
  • OCT-13: This is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. It is held on the second Monday of October. Being a harvest celebration, it is celebrated in Canada earlier than in the U.S. because it is so cold there. 6
  • OCT-13: This is Columbus Day in the U.S. This holiday is also held on the second Monday in October. It is considered a celebration by many Americans of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the new world. Many Natives view it as the observance of a tragedy and the start of a genocide.
  • OCT-5: Navaratri (a.k.a. Durga Puja and Dusserah) is a Hindu festival that started this year on SEP-26, and ends on this date. "Navaratri" means "nine nights." "...the one basic aim of this celebration is to propitiate Shakti, the Goddess in Her aspect as Power, to bestow upon man all wealth, auspiciousness, prosperity, knowledge (both sacred and secular), and all other potent powers." 5
  • OCT-19: Jews celebrate Simhat Torah (a.k.a. Rejoicing the Law). This is the start of the annual reading cycle in each synagogue.
  • OCT-20: The Birthday of the Bab will be celebrated by members of the Baha'i Faith, starting at sundown on the 19th. They observe the anniversary of Mirza Ali Muhammed's birth in 1819.
  • OCT-21: This day recalls the Installation of the Guru Granth Sahib -- the holy book of the Sikhs -- as the eternal Guru.
  • OCT-24: This is United Nations Day. It commemorates the day that the U.N. Charter went into effect in 1945. 4 This year's theme is global health and interdependence. Years 2001 to 2010 form the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.
  • OCT-25:The five-day festival of Diwali begins. Also called Divali, Dewali, Deepavali, and the Festival of Lights, it is a celebration of good over evil, and is related to ancient stories of struggles between a goddess and a demon. It is observed by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains. It is also the time of the New Year according to the Vikrama calendar.
  • OCT-26: Ramadan was the month when Muslims believe that the first verses of their holy book, the Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad some 1,400 years ago. It begins approximately today. Its precise beginning does not depend upon the actual timing of the new moon. It requires the viewing of the crescent moon by the unaided eye. In Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, Ramadan will start on OCT-27 this year. Ramadan lasts for a lunar month of about 28 days. Devout Muslims engage in prayer, fasting, sexual abstinence, and meditation.
  • OCT-26: Some Protestant Christians celebrate Reformation Sunday. This is the anniversary of 1517-OCT-31, when Martin Luther is remembered as nailing his 95 theses to a cathedral door in Germany. This triggered the Protestant Reformation.
  • OCT-31: Wiccans and many other Neopagans will celebrate Samhain. No! Samhain is not the Celtic God of the Dead as is mentioned so often in the media and on the Internet. Samhain simply means "end of the warm season." It is the Wiccan New Year's Eve, and a major Sabbat -- one of eight yearly festivals. Samhain is usually celebrated on the evening of the day before.
  • OCT-31: Halloween is celebrated (a.k.a. All Hallows Eve).
  • OCT-31: Some Protestants celebrate Reformation Day on the anniversary of Martin Luther's action, rather than on OCT-26 noted above, the Sunday before the actual anniversary.

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Although care was taken in the preparation of this list, we cannot accept responsibility for any errors or their consequences.


  1. "World Communion Sunday," at: http://www.fbcss.org/sm100100.htm
  2. "A History of National Coming Out Day," at: http://www.hrc.org/ncop/history/index.asp
  3. "Ninth Annual Int'l Week of Prayer and Fasting," at: http://www.catholicexchange.com/vm/
  4. "United Nations day" at: http://www.unausa.org/programs/unday.htm
  5. Sri Swami Sivananda, "Durga Puja or Navaratri," at: http://www.sivanandadlshq.org/religions/
  6. "Annie's Canadian Thanksgiving Day page," at: http://www.annieshomepage.com/canadianthanksgiving.html 

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Copyright © 2003 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Essay prepared on 2003-JUN-3
Latest update: 2003-OCT-27
Compiled by B.A. Robinson

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