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DEI holidays to celebrate in May

We’ve curated a list of holidays for May to keep you in the loop on what’s most commonly celebrated. Plus download our 2024 DEI calendar.

“May” in white type on an orange background“May” 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.

Enhance employee engagement with these May DEI holidays and celebrations.

Looking for a way to stay on top of all the holidays your team celebrates can be quite a challenge. But worry no more! We’ve curated a list of holidays for May to keep you in the loop on what’s most commonly celebrated alongside unique and engaging DEI-focused celebrations and awareness opportunities. These celebrations are a great way to enhance your high-performance culture.

Download our DEI holidays calendar

Month-long celebrations in May

Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month

Asian immigrants first arrived in the U.S. in 1587, but did you know the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States in May 1843? They did! This is just one of the reasons we recognize the contributions of all people of Asian American or Pacific Islander ancestry during May.

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is also Mental Health Awareness Month — a time to fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies that support people with mental illness and their families. (Note: May 5 is National Silence the Shame Day, an opportunity to eliminate mental health stigma, minimize health disparities and lower suicide rates among vulnerable populations.)

Make the business case for mental health education in your organization

Military Appreciation Month

Military Appreciation Month reminds us to thank our service members and their families for their work. (Note: May 29 is Memorial Day, a day that is more than just the unofficial start to summer. Memorial Day honors the people who died while serving in the U.S. military.)

Older Americans Month

Older Americans Month is a time to acknowledge the contributions of past generations to our country and learn their stories.

Learn how an age-diverse workforce can be a competitive advantage

Speech & Hearing Awareness Month

Each May, Speech & Hearing Awareness Month (sometimes called Better Hearing & Speech Month) provides an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and how we can create more inclusive environments.

Download our DEI holidays calendar

Additional May DEI holidays

May 1

International Workers’ Day

Also known as May Day, International Workers’ Day began during the industrial revolution. Today, it is an opportunity to highlight workers’ rights, work towards safer environments and fair wages.

May 4

National Fitness Day

January isn’t the only time of year we should care about our wellbeing. The first Saturday in May is an opportunity to be inspired and try new ways of becoming fit and healthy.

May 5

Cinco de Mayo

Often confused with Mexican Independence Day (in September), Cinco de Mayo celebrates Mexico’s 1862 victory over France during the Franco-Mexican War. While Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the U.S., Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage.

National Silence the Shame Day

See National Mental Health Awareness Month above for details.

World Laughter Day

The legendary comedian Victor Borge said it best when he declared, “laughing with someone is the shortest distance between two people.” Around the world, many celebrate World Laughter Day on the first Sunday of May. People gather worldwide to laugh together and raise awareness of the many health benefits of laughter. 

May 6*

Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day

Observed worldwide, this holiday is set aside to remember the victims – and heroes – of the Holocaust. Yom Hashoah emphasizes how Jews resisted their Nazi tormentors through “passive resistance” – retaining their human dignity in the most unbearable conditions – and by “active resistance,” fighting the Nazis in the ghettos and joining underground partisans who battled the Third Reich in its occupied countries.

May 11

National Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day

The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is a charitable initiative conducted by the U.S. Postal Service and related professional associations to make significant donations of food to organizations serving those in need. Want to help? Do a food drive with your team to help stamp out hunger. 

May 12

Mother’s Day

Did you know we can trace celebrations of motherhood back to the ancient Greeks and Romans? Mother’s Day is celebrated in the U.S. by presenting mothers and other parents and guardians with gifts and flowers, honoring their contributions to our lives.

May 15

International Day of Families

Families come in all shapes and sizes. This holiday provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families (like Relativity did).

May 17

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

According to May17.org, “The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was created in 2004 to draw attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions and sex characteristics.”

Learn more about LGBTQIA+ inclusion

May 27

Memorial Day

See Military Appreciation Month above for details.

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

Download our DEI holidays calendar

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