Juneteenth: A celebration of freedom

It was June 19, 1865, when Major General Gordon Granger, a Union general during the American Civil War, issued General Orders No. 3, informing Texans that “in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, ‘all slaves are free.’” This moment came about two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, and became known as the holiday Juneteenth.

Celebrating diversity: Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is a 300-year-old holiday, wrapped in rich tradition and celebration. It started in 1699 in the location of present-day New Orleans, after French settlers held a small festivity deemed Point du Mardi Gras. This unique holiday has gained quite the following in the United States over the last 100 years and is often synonymous with vibrant parties and spectacular floats.

Celebrating diversity: A spotlight on Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr (“Breaking of the Fast”) is a Muslim three-day holiday, signifying the end of fasting during the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which the Qur’an was revealed. In this month, it is obligatory for all able Muslims to partake in a month-long fast where they are to abstain from food and drink (yes, even water!) during daylight hours. Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, along with a declaration of faith, five daily prayers, giving to charity and a pilgrimage to Mecca. The holy month is also used as an opportunity to build one’s spirituality. At night, Muslims line up to offer a number of optional prayers called “Taraweeh” while listening to and reflecting on the recitation of the Qur’an.