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October is a month of celebrations

Graphic of fireworks

We all know about Halloween being celebrated on October 31st, but did you know there are several other celebrations throughout the month as well? Here are just a few more to explore and learn about:

Festival Of Sukkot Begins sundown October 4

The joyous festival of Sukkot celebrates the forty years the Jewish people wandered through the desert after leaving Egypt. During this time, they lived in temporary shelters, called "Sukkahs." The holiday lasts seven days, beginning five days after Yom Kippur. During the first two days, no work is permitted.

A major symbol of this festive holiday is the "Sukkah," the temporary dwelling in which the Jewish people lived while wandering through the desert. Traditional Jewish tradition requires that the Sukkah be built, decorated and lived in during the week of Sukkot. It is used to eat and sleep in.

Oktoberfest September 23 - October 8

It's time to eat, drink, and be merry! Oktoberfest is a two week festival, held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. While it is a giant world festival in Germany, Oktoberfest celebrations are held around the world during this time. So, if you can't get to the fair in Germany, you can participate in a local event. Oktoberfest is not just a celebration of beer. These festivals celebrate the rich heritage of the German people.

The very first Oktoberfest was held on October 12, 1810. It was held to commemorate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig (King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The wedding took place on October 12th, and a great horse race (in celebration of the marriage) was held a few days later on October 17th. The marriage was celebrated annually, and came to be known as Oktoberfest.

Early Oktoberfest celebrations were held in October. The festival was eventually moved to September, as the weather was better earlier in the fall.
Oktoberfest has been held annually since 1810. Throughout this time, it has been canceled a few times, due to wars, and once due to a major Cholera outbreak (1854) in the region.

Over the years, the festival grew. Carnival booths appeared. Beer became a central theme, and flowed freely. Food was a big part of the festivities. And, later music, dancing, rides, and carnival booths were added. Millions of people annually flock to Oktoberfest in Munich.

Clergy Appreciation Day - October 8th

Clergy Appreciation Day is observed on the second Sunday in October. This year it is October 8th. It is a time to recognize the work of ministers, pastors, and priests in the United States. This national day also falls in National Clergy Month, which is observed each October.

Thank your clergy for the work they do.  Use #ClergyAppreciationDay to post on social media. Clergy Appreciation Day was originally called Clergy Appreciation National Day of Honor.  The day was started by Hallmark Cards in 1992.  Many people also refer to the day as Pastor Appreciation Day.

Columbus Day - October 9th

For decades and decades, American history books and school teaching, told us Christopher Columbus discovered America. What those books and teachings did not give credit, to was the fact that Native Americans were already here. Native Americans truly discovered America. It also gave little mention, to the fact that Nordic explorers had travelled down the eastern cost of Canada thousands of years earlier.

Today, we celebrate Columbus Day for what it accurately is. Columbus did discover the existence of the New World for Europeans who until then, believed the world was flat and ended somewhere in the Atlantic. And, the focus is more upon discovery of the "New World", and less upon Columbus himself.

Some key facts (in case you forgot them since grade school):

  • Columbus Discovered America in 1492. He originally set sail on August 3, 1492, but had trouble with the ships, stopping at the Canary Islands for a month. The ships left the Canary Islands on September 3, 1492. 
  • He travelled with three ships: the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria
  • While Columbus was an Italian, he could not find funding in Italy, so he turned to the King of Spain. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella provided the funding.
  • Christopher Columbus did not land on the U.S. mainland. He landed on an island in the Caribbean. While many believe he landed on San Salvador, there is still debate on which island he originally landed on.

White Cane Safety Day - October 15th
White Cane Safety Day celebrates and recognizes the achievements of the blind and visually impaired, and their independence. That independence is represented by the white cane that they use to travel from place to place.

The white cane is an invaluable tool for the blind. It affords blind people a freedom of movement they otherwise may not have. The white cane is a well-recognized symbol of independence.

If you know someone who is blind or visually impaired, celebrate this day with him or her. We suggest you let them take you for a walk.

On October 15, 1964, a Joint resolution of Congress passed legislation marking this day. President Lyndon Johnson immediately issued a proclamation declaring this day to be White Cane Safety Day. This is an annual proclamation.

Dilawi Day, A Hindu Festival of Lights - October 19, 2017

Dilawi Day is the first day of a five day Hindu holiday celebration. It is a festival of lights, one of the major hindu holidays of the year. Dilawi Day originated in India as a harvest festival. It is now celebrated by Hindus throughout the world. It is also called "Dipwali".

Dilawi Day signifies the victory of:  Light over darkness; Good over evil;  Knowledge over ignorance; and Hope over despair.

Some Dilawi Day Customs and Activities include: Participate in family prayer; Clean up home, office and workplace; Dress up in new clothes or your best clothes; Light lamps and candles; and Celebrate with fireworks.

For more information about these and other holidays, visit: