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DEI holidays to celebrate in January

Who says keeping track of holidays has to be a drag? We've got you covered with our January DEI holiday list and our 2024 DEI holiday calendar.

January in white type on an orange backgroundJanuary in white type on an orange background

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Insights from Ellen Raim, Founder of People MatterWe focus more on solving than preventing People problems.

Who says keeping track of holidays has to be a drag? 

We've got you covered with our January holiday list, complete with all the usual suspects and some exciting DEI-specific celebrations and awareness opportunities thrown in. These events are perfect for any organization working to create an inclusive, high-performance culture.

Download our DEI holidays calendar

This blog post was updated on March 15, 2024 and now features dates for January 2025.

Month-long celebrations in January

Poverty in America Awareness Month

The poverty rate was 11.4% in the U.S. in 2020, according to Poverty USA. That means 37 million people had earnings below the poverty threshold, which is $25,700 for a family of 4. Poverty in America Awareness Month reminds us to think about those who are struggling to put food on the table and take action to minimize poverty in America.

National Mentoring Month

During National Mentoring Month, we are all encouraged to raise awareness “for how one conversation, one experience and one mentor can change a young person’s life,” according to Mentor, a nonprofit that is “connecting and fueling opportunity for young people everywhere they are from schools to workplaces and beyond.”

Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month

21 million people are victims of forced labor around the world, and 4.5 million are victims of forced sexual exploitation, according to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). In January, the DoD works to raise awareness of “this horrendous crime against humanity” and to educate on the signs of trafficking and the actions to take if trafficking is suspected. The Combating Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) division of the DoD published stories of human trafficking survivors that can be shared with teams alongside other CTIP resource materials.

Additional January DEI holidays

January 1

New Year’s Day

Celebrated the first day of the new year, New Year’s Day is a day when many set resolutions and goals for the year ahead. Make sure your managers are ready to help teams set goals early in the year to capitalize on the resolution mindset of your people.

January 2

World Introvert Day

Introverts are often misunderstood, and World Introvert Day is here to change that. While we should not seek to change introverts, we need to understand that they may think and act differently than extroverts. And that’s okay.

January 4

World Braille Day

Celebrated since 2019, World Braille Day is an international holiday designed to raise awareness of our blind populations and “the importance of Braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people.”

January 7

Coptic / Orthodox Christmas

The orthodox churches of Egypt, Russia, Ethiopia, Serbia, Ukraine celebrate Christmas on a different day than what most of us consider “Christmas Day.” Celebrations often include gathering family and Christmas Mass that ends at midnight and breaks the 43-day vegan-pescatarian fast, leading into a late-night holiday feast.

January 11

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

The Blue Campaign, from the Department of Homeland Services, turned Human Trafficking Awareness Day into #WearBlueDay to raise awareness of human trafficking.

January 13

National Clean Off Your Desk Day

Celebrated the second Monday of January each year, National Clean Off Your Desk Day is a great day to create a clean slate, whether literally (on our desks) or figuratively (in our minds).

January 13

Korean American Day

Created to recognize and honor the contributions of the Korean-American Community, this holiday resolution was passed by unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate and House in 2005.

January 14

Orthodox New Year / Old New Year

The Orthodox New Year celebrates the first day of the year on the Julian calendar. Although the Gregorian calendar is the most commonly used calendar across the world now, Orthodox New Year is popularly celebrated by Orthodox individuals and families.

January 19

World Religion Day

On World Religion Day, people of different faiths are encouraged to learn more about each other and their beliefs. Interfaith events on World Religion Day seek to unite through common values.

January 20

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day / Civil Rights Day

Observed on the 3rd Monday in January to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) and recognizes his impact across the U.S. and the world, MLK Day is designated as a “national day of service.” In fact, MLK Day is the only federal holiday with this designation. On MLK Day, also called Civil Rights Day since 1999, we’re all encouraged to learn, connect and take action to improve our communities.

January 20

National Hugging Day

If you Google “National Hugging Day,” you’ll see results that question whether or not this holiday is real. But, we don’t really care if it’s real or not. It sounds like a pretty awesome day, and we choose to celebrate. National Hugging Day encourages us to practice compassion and empathy, and to show people that we care.

January 21

Roe v. Wade Day / Celebration of Life Day

In response to the 2022 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, it may be safe to assume that emotions could still be running high on both sides of the aisle this year on January 22 when both Roe v. Wade Day and Celebration of Life Day occur.

January 22

International Day of Education

“Transforming the future requires an urgent rebalancing of our relationships with each other, with nature as well as with technology that permeates our lives, bearing breakthrough opportunities while raising serious concerns for equity, inclusion and democratic participation.” This quote is within the UNESCO Futures of Education report, published in 2021, and International Day of Education is a U.N.-sponsored initiative intended to bring awareness to the human right of education.

January 27

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27th is the anniversary of the liberation of Aushchwitz-Birkenau, the largest concentration camp of the Holocaust, so the U.N. designated this day to be an annual day of commemoration. On the International Holocaust Day of Remembrance, people around the world are encouraged to reflect and honor the victims of the Holocaust, to learn about genocide and to take action to create programs that help prevent genocide in the future.

January 29-February 5

Lunar New Year

Celebrating the new year across many East and Southeast Asian cultures, Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays of the year for some families and communities. The timing of Lunar New Year is tied to the lunar calendar, commencing with the 1st new moon of the year and ending with the 1st full moon. In Chinese culture, preparations called “Little Year” begin prior to the beginning of Lunar New Year (also called Spring Festival) and the festivities conclude with the Lantern Festival. 2025 will be the Year of the Snake.

*Indicates a holiday that begins at sundown the day prior.

Download our DEI holidays calendar

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