July 2023 National Holidays

One of the cultural challenges of employing workers all over the world is the recognition of national holidays and days of remembrance that are an important part of their local reality. Making mention of these days and sending well wishes as they happen can go a long way toward building bridges and affinities with your global teams, though they may be oceans away. 

Here are some prominent holidays coming up in March, along with a brief description. We hope it helps you connect with and honor your employees across the world.    

Independence Day (3 July)

Observed – Belarus

On July 3rd, Belarusians remember the day that the Red Army liberated their capital of Minsk from the Nazis in the last months of World War II. This date is a bit controversial, as some point to July 27, the day Belarus claimed independence from the Soviet Union, as the more fitting national day of independence.

A lavish military parade in the capital of Minsk is the high point of Belarus’s Independence Day celebrations. Around the country, Belarusians gather for concerts and speeches, along with public singing of the national anthem, “My Belarusy”.

Independence Day (4 July)

Observed – United States

The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, is a significant holiday in the United States that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence declared the thirteen American colonies as an independent nation, separate from British rule, and laid the foundation for the formation of the United States of America.

On this day, Americans celebrate their freedom and the principles of liberty and democracy that the nation was built upon. Celebrations typically include fireworks, parades, barbecues, and flag raising ceremonies.

Kupala Night (6 July)

Observed – Belarus, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine

Kupala Night began as a pagan celebration of the summer solstice – the longest day and shortest night of the year – but later became associated with St. John the Baptist, known regionally as Ivan. Like many other solstice holidays, it carries connotations of fertility and purity.

Young people often jump alone or in pairs across small fires, symbolizing both their bravery and a ritual cleansing. Meanwhile, young women may lay wreaths of flowers in the river while would-be suitors try to retrieve them to capture their owner’s interest.

Running of the Bulls (7 July)

Observed – Spain

The Running of the Bulls, held across Spain each summer but most famously in the mountainous region of Pamplona, is a weeklong festival thought to have emerged out of a more practical need: getting one’s bulls to market as quickly as possible. Over the centuries, the event became more festive and was eventually formalized in some regions of Spain as a major cultural holiday celebrating the bull – a symbol of Spain – and Spanish spirit.

Bull running in Spain is often linked to the San Fermin Festival, which celebrates the Patron Saint of the Navarre region. Each morning during the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, the bulls are released and run around one kilometer to the center of the town along a series of blocked-off roads, with hundreds of humans running near or alongside them. Obviously, there are risks involved and anywhere from 50 to 100 people are injured each year.

Naadam Festival (11 July)

Observed – Mongolia

Held every summer, Naadam – the Mongolian word for “games” – celebrates the nomadic heritage of the Mongolian people through a series of public competitions in wrestling, distance horse racing, and archery. The tournaments have been held annually since at least the 13th century, variously associated with Buddhism, the Mongolian Revolution of 1921, and the country’s independence.

Naadam is a source of great national pride to Mongolians, and is taken quite seriously. Athletes gather at Mongolia’s biggest stadiums to compete in a series of contests, while spectators attend in person or watch the festivities on television.

Bastille Day (14 July)

Observed – France

Bastille Day commemorates the 1789 storming of the Bastille prison in Paris, a defining event of the French Revolution. With tensions high between commoners and the nobility, partisans stormed the prison and released hundreds of political prisoners. A month later, feudalism was abolished – a turning point in European political history.

The centerpiece of Bastille Day festivities is a military parade down the in Paris, though smaller regional garrisons may host events of their own. The night ends with a spectacular fireworks display over Parisian skies.

Gentse Feesten (14 July)

Observed – Belgium

Gentse Feesten – literally “The Ghent Festival” – is an annual 10-day celebration of music and theater first held in 1843 for an audience of 400. After being organized and formalized in 1969 by the late Belgian singer Walter de Buck in the city of Ghent, Gentse Feesten has since blossomed into one of Belgium’s largest cultural events with over 2 million visitors annually.

Naturally, the main attractions of Gentse Feesten are the dozens of public music concerts by artists from all over the world. These are supplemented by more informal performances around the city as mimes, magicians, and musicians perform street shows for the crowds.

Emperor Selassie’s Birthday (23 July)

Observed – Rastafarians worldwide

Celebrated among adherents of the Jamaican Rastafari movement, Emperor Selassie’s Birthday marks the birthday of the last Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie I, who is held up either as God incarnate or a messenger of God by many Rastafaris.

The birthday of Haile Selassie is commonly observed with a binghi: a celebration that includes reggae music, dancing, sacred herbs, and communal prayer.

Ashura (28 July)

Observed – Islamic communities worldwide

Ashura is an Islamic holiday celebrated across the world, though it carries different connotations in various religious traditions. For Shia Muslims, it is a day of mourning commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali at the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE. Sunni Muslims associate the day with God parting the Red Sea for Moses, and observe it through celebratory fasting.

The two key features of Ashura are fasting or mourning, depending on the denomination of Islam. Though celebrated by both Sunni and Shia Muslims, the holiday has special importance to Shias and is observed most rigorously in predominantly Shia countries like Iran.