Religious Holidays

By Sarah Jessop, HR Business Partner

At ASP, we value and recognize the diverse religious beliefs of our employees. The world’s rich diversity is reflected in the observances that are celebrated and recognized by our ASP employees. Knowledge of the following holidays and celebrations can enhance our workplace diversity and inclusion efforts. Throughout the months of July, August, and September a variety of religious holidays, festivals, observances, and spiritual commemorations took place.

These events were celebrated and observed by many of us, so it is important that we recognize and respect each one of them. We have compiled a list below of the many important religious events that took place throughout the last few months. We encourage you to review this list to learn more about some of the significant celebrations and observances that are meaningful to your colleagues and friends. Let’s celebrate diversity, together.

July 2022

  • July 6: Dalai Lama’s Birthday (Buddhist)
    His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. Born to a peasant family in northeastern Tibet, he was recognized as the 14th Dalai Lama (Mongolian for ‘Ocean of Wisdom’). In Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama is believed to be an incarnation of Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion.
  • July 8: Day of Hajj (Islam)
    Muslims perform the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The pilgrimage is one of the five Pillars of Islam. All Muslims are expected to perform the Hajj at least once in their lifetime if they have the physical and financial capacity. About 6 million Muslims from over 70 countries journey to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. In one of the rites of the Hajj, pilgrims move in a circular, counterclockwise procession around the Ka’bah.
  • July 9: Martyrdom of The Báb (Bahá’í)
    The Báb was executed at the age of 31 by a firing squad in Tabriz in 1850 C.E. The event is observed at noon.
  • July 10: Eid al-Adha (Islam)
    It concludes the Hajj and is a three-day festival celebrating Abraham’s test of obedience to Allah when he was asked to sacrifice his son Ismael. At the last minute, Allah replaced Ismael with a lamb. Since Eid is determined by the first sighting of the new moon, the date varies by a day depending on whether the Saudi Arabian or North American sighting is being observed. This calendar follows the North American dates which is a day later.
  • July 11: Imamat Day (Islam Ismaili)
    Imamat Day is celebrated every year by Ismailis on the day that the Imamat or religious leader transferred from the past Imam to the present Aga Khan.
  • July 13: Guru Purnima ( Jain/Hindu)
    Is celebrated by disciples to revere and honour their Gurus (spiritual masters).
  • July 13: Wassana/Dhamma Day (Buddhist)
    This day marks the beginning of the 3-month ‘Rains Retreat’ for self-examination and peace-making for monks and nuns. It also celebrates Buddha’s first teaching.
  • July 24: Pioneer Day (Christian – Mormon)
    This day honours the U.S. pioneers led by Brigham Young, who first settled in Utah in 1847. This day is celebrated with parades to remember their pioneering ancestors.
  • July 30: Oh-Harai-Taisai (Shinto)
    During the Grand Purification Ceremony, Japanese worshippers walk through a large ring of woven grass and reeds that are placed at the entrance of the shrines as an act of inner purification for sins and offenses committed during the first half of the year. This sacred ritual is observed twice yearly.
  • July 30: 1st Muharram – Islamic New Year (Islam)
    Islamic New Year, 1443 AH. The first of Muharram marks the first day of the first month (Muharram) of the Islamic year. Muharam lasts for 29-30 days depending on the moon sighting. It begins at sundown the previous day. The dates vary by a day depending on whether the Saudi Arabia or the North American Calendar is being observed. This calendar follows the North American dates which is a day later.
  • July 31: Kamál (8th Month) (Bahá’í)
    The first day of the eighth Bahá’í month. The English translation of Kamál (Arabic) is Perfection.

August 2022

  • August 1: Lughnasadh (Wiccan)
    Its name is taken from the Celtic God Lugh, or Samildanach, which means ‘he of many gifts’. It celebrates the ancient festival of the first harvesting of grain in August.
  • August 7: Tisha B’Av ( Jewish)
    A Jewish holiday that remembers the destruction of the Jewish temple, once in 586 BCE and once in 70 CE in Jerusalem.
  • August 8: Ashura (Islam)
    The tenth day of the first Islamic month (Muharram). For Shi’ite Muslims, this day mourns the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad. Devout Shi’a commemorate this day of sadness with retelling the story of the battle fought in Kerbala.
  • August 8: Fravardeghan (Zoroastrian)
    Fravardeghan lasts ten days in preparation for Now Ruz for those who follow the Shenshai calendar. Ancestors are memorialized during this time.
  • August 11: Raksha Bandhan (Hindu)
    According to legend, God Indra was warring with demons. His wife tied a silk charm around his wrist to protect him and he was able to defeat his enemies. Hindu girls now tie a threaded amulet or ‘rakhi’ on their brothers for protection against evil.
  • August 15: Assumption (Christian)
    This refers to Mary’s death and ascent to heaven and is celebrated by Catholic and Orthodox Churchs. Special mentions: Sicilian-Canadians hold an outdoor procession for the Madonna del Assunta, Polish- Canadians celebrate the Feast of the Mother of God of the herbs, an early harvest festival, Armenian Orthodox bless the first grapes of the season, Ukranians take flowers to the church to be blessed.
  • August 19: Janmashtami (Hindu)
    Celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna and his rescue from potential death by the demon Kasna. Lord Krishna was born in a prison, then carried by his father to another village where he was secretly exchanged with a cow herder’s daughter for his safety.
  • August 19: Asmá (9th Month) (Bahá’i)
    The first day of the ninth Bahá’í month. The English translation of Asmá (Arabic) is Names.
  • August 24: Birth of Prophet Zarathustra (Zoroastrian)
    Zarathushtra (Zoroaster in Greek; Zarthosht in India and Persia) is the founder of the Zoroastrian religion, dating back to sometime between 1500 and 1000 BCE. He lived in Persia, modern day Iran.

    Zoroastrianism became the state religion of various Persian empires, until the 7th century CE. When Arabs, followers of Islam, invaded Persia in 650 CE, a small number of Zoroastrians fled to India where most are concentrated today.
  • August 25 – September 1: Paryushana-Parva ( Jain)
    Celebrated for eight days, Paryushana-Parva is the holiest time of the year and is marked by fasting and worship of the 24 realized teachers of the Jain faith known as Tirthankaras or Jinas.
  • August 31: Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu)
    It is in honour of one of Hindu’s major deity, Ganesh, the elephant-headed god. He is known as the ‘remover of all obstacles’ and is invoked at the beginning of all new undertakings.

September 2022

  • September 1: Dashalakshani-Parva ( Jain)
    Celebrated by the Digambara sect and lasts ten days, each day dedicated to a virtue: humility, honesty, purity, forgiveness, truthfulness, selfrestraint, asceticism, study, celibacy and detachment.
  • September 1: Samvatsari ( Jain)
    This day is dedicated to introspection, confession, and penance, especially for the Shvetambara sect.
  • September 7: Onam (Hindu)
    Onam is a Hindu festival celebrated by the people of Kerala in India. Lasting for four to ten days, it is a harvest festival commemorating the homecoming of the legendary Emperor Mahabali from Patala (the underworld) who visits every Malayali home and during this time.
  • September 8: Ízzat (10th Month) (Bahá’í)
    The 10th month in the Baha’i calendar. “Ízzat” in Arabic means ‘Might’.
  • September 9: Ananta-Chaturdasi ( Jain)
    ‘Festival of Ten Virtues’ is a 10-day fast and meditation for the Jains.
  • September 10: Ksamavani ( Jain)
    Ksamavani is the ‘day of universal forgiveness’ for wrongs committed by them and to them.
  • September 12-16: Gahambar Paitishahem (Zoroastrian)
    This day celebrates the creation of earth.
  • September 23: Mabon (Wiccan)
    This day celebrates the fall equinox and the end of the harvest season. Apples are juiced for cider and grapes for wine.
  • September 26-27: Rosh Hashanah ( Jewish)
    Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s holiest days. Meaning “head of the year” or “first of the year,” the festival begins on the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, which falls during September or October.
  • September 26: Navratri (Hindu)
    It means ‘nine nights’ beginning on the new moon and ending on Dussehra. It is dedicated to the goddess Durga who had nine incarnations and has the power of good to destroy demons.
  • September 27: Mashiyyat (11th Month) (Bahá’í)
    The first day of the eleventh Bahá’í month. The English translation of Mashiyyat (Arabic) is Will.

Do you feel we have missed anything? Let us know! Contact our Diversity and Inclusion committee at

  • Category: Diversity and Inclusion