June 2023 National Holidays
Erez Greenberg| May 30, 2023
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.
Madaraka Day (1 June) – Republic of Kenya
Madaraka Day commemorates Kenya’s attainment of internal self-rule in 1963 after over four decades as a British colony. This day holds great significance as a symbol of African independence and self-determination. Kenyans gather at public places, and the president delivers a speech that celebrates the nation’s origins, progress, and addresses current challenges.
Festa Junina (1 June) – Brazil
Festa Junina is a month-long festival in Brazil that takes place during the mild Brazilian winter. It primarily commemorates the nativity of St. John the Baptist, with participants giving thanks for rain during this time. Originally celebrated in agricultural areas, Festa Junina has gained popularity in urban centers. It features country games, folk music, poetry, and dancing, celebrating Brazil’s rural traditions.
Birth of the King Day (5 June) – Malaysia
Birth of the King Day celebrates the birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Malaysia’s constitutional monarch. This celebration has been observed since the country’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1957. The festivities, especially in Kuala Lumpur, span a week and include grand events such as “trooping the color,” a formal military display to honor the king.
Juneteenth (19 June) – United States
Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of freedom for African American slaves in Texas at the end of the Civil War. It has become a symbol of slavery’s abolishment in America and was established as a national holiday in 2021. Communities across the United States, particularly in the South, celebrate this day as “America’s second Independence Day.” Events aim to educate people about slavery and celebrate African American arts and culture.
Andean New Year’s Day (21 June) – Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela
Andean New Year’s Day celebrates the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Although not a new year in the Gregorian calendar sense, the Andean people associate it with the cycle of solstices. It serves as a reminder to store harvested goods for the upcoming cold months. Symbolically, some gather at dawn to welcome the new sun.
Dragon Boat Festival (22 June) – China, Malaysia, Singapore
Dragon Boat Festival is an ancient Chinese holiday centered around dragon boat races. Legend has it that the festival originated from the search for a poet’s body in the Miluo River. Apart from the races, celebrants prepare traditional sticky rice dumplings called zongzi and drink realgar wine, a blend of yellow rice wine and powdered realgar.
Jāņi (24 June) – Latvia
Jāņi is Latvia’s midsummer festival, celebrating the peak of the growing season. This agricultural festival pays homage to fertility, the sun, fire, and light. People engage in activities like picking flowers and plants for home decoration, crafting circular wreaths, brewing herbal teas, and enjoying singing, dancing, cheese, and beer. These customs aim to stimulate the growth of cows and barley.
Eid al-Adha (28 June) – Islamic communities worldwide
Eid al-Adha commemorates the devotion of Ibrahim (Abraham) in his willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail as commanded by God. Ultimately, Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice was tested, and he was spared from doing so. Celebrants gather for a lavish meal and chant the Takbir, an important Islamic expression of faith. If they are able, families sacrifice an animal, mirroring the story of Ismail and Ibrahim. They divide the meat among themselves, friends, and the poor.