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Multicultural Observances

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Canada is a multicultural, multiracial and multi-faith society.  Windsor and Essex County is the fourth most culturally diverse municipality in Canada.  Within the Greater Essex County District School Board, we proudly reflect and celebrate this diversity. The Board acknowledges that the celebration of many faiths and backgrounds is vital to better schools and better communities. The GECDSB values the uniqueness and diversity of its students and the communities it serves, and understands that people from diverse religious communities need to work and study in environments that are safe and respectful. 

Customs, traditions and calendars from all different faiths need to be taken into consideration when planning board and school events.  In a region as dynamic and diverse as Windsor and Essex County, it is important that the public school system actively acknowledge both the freedom of religion that is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the protection from discrimination and harassment based on religion that is part of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The charts below list holy days which may require accommodation for students/staff in our schools

RELIGIOUS HOLY DAYS (By Religion)

2018-2019
 
 
Bahá’í
RIDVAN
April 21, 2017-May 2, 2019
Buddhist
LUNAR NEW YEAR
February 05, 2019
Christian (Western)
CHRISTMAS
December 25, 2018
(Western)
GOOD FRIDAY
April 19, 2019
(Eastern)
CHRISTMAS
January 7, 2019
 (Eastern)
HOLY FRIDAY
April 26, 2019
Hindu
DIWALI
November 07, 2018
Jewish
ROSH HASHANAH**
September 10-11, 2018
 
YOM KIPPUR**
September 19, 2018
 
PASSOVER/ PESACH**
April 20-27, 2019
Mennonite
ASCENSION DAY
May 30, 2019
(Old Colony)
PENTECOST MONDAY
June 09, 2019
Muslim
EID-UL-FITR*
June 07, 2019
 
EID-UL-ADHA*
August 22, 2018
Sikh
BAISAKHI
April 14, 2019
 
Other days of faith significance may include, but are not limited to the following***.
 
 
Buddhist
WESAK*
April 08, 2019
Christian
ALL SAINTS’ DAY
November 1, 2018
(Western)
ASH WEDNESDAY
March 06, 2019
Hindu
HOLI
March 20, 2019
First Nations
NATIONAL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES DAY
June 21, 2019
Jewish
SUKKOT**
September 24-30, 2018
 
SHAVUOT**
June 08-10, 2019
Mennonite
EPIPHANY
January 6, 2019
Muslim
ASHURA*
September 21, 2018
 
RAMADAN*
May 06-June 07, 2019
Sikh
BIRTH OF GURU NANAK DEVJI*
November 23, 2018
 
BIRTH OF GURU GOBIND SINGH JI
January 5, 2019
Zoroastrian
NOW RUZ (New Year’s Day)**
March 21, 2019
 
 
*           Tentative dates subject to the sighting of the moon each month
**         These holy days begin the previous evening at sundown.
***        For more detailed information please consult your “Multicultural Calendar”, “Guidelines for the Accommodation of Religious Requirements, Practices, and Observances”, or contact Rachel Olivero, Diversity Officer at 255-3200 ext. 10213.
 
 FEBRUARY IS BLACK HISTORY MONTH

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 February is Black History Month. Recognizing that many residents of Windsor and Essex County are descendants of those who "followed the freedom trail north", and are proud members of the African Diaspora,  the GECDSB is pleased to honour the important role that African-Canadians have played in the cultural, political, social and economic progress of our community. 

In 1926 African American Scholar Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson created Negro History Week. Dr. Woodson, considered by many to be the "Father of Black History", chose the second week of February because of the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. The celebration of Negro History Week continued until the early 1960's, when the word "negro" was replaced with "black". In 1976, Black History Month expanded and became the celebration that we know today as Black History Month. The purpose of this month is to recognize the contributions of Black Americans and develop a better understanding of the diversity of the Black experience.

In December of 1995, the Parliament of Canada recognized February as Black History Month following a motion introduced by the first African Canadian woman elected to Parliament, Jean Augustine. The presence of peoples of African descent in Canada dates back farther than Samuel de Champlain's (a French explorer and navigator in early 1600's) first voyage down the St. Lawrence River.

During the Transatlantic Slave Trade, thousands of enslaved Africans escaped bondage and liberated themselves from oppression fleeing to Canada, many settling in the Windsor area. In fact, our city is known as the "last stop of the Underground Railroad."  Many students in our local schools are descendants of those courageous freedom seekers who made Windsor and surrounding areas their home. Although progress has been made to ensure that all students see themselves reflected in the curriculum, there are still strides to be made.

Black History is celebrated annually during the month of February, however,  the role of African/Black Canadians in our history and society is embedded in GECDSB curriculum throughout the year.  In addition to activities promoted during the month of February, GECDSB students, families and staff members are invited to explore the rich history in the surrounding areas and learn more about how African Canadian history can be incorporated into the curriculum, not only in February but all year long.  Black History is everyone's history, and knowledge is the key to understanding.

For more information on what is happening at your child's school please visit the school website.  For more information about what is happening locally in our area during the month of February please view attached links.  Local information graciously provided by the Amherstburg Freedom Museum and the Essex County Black Historical Research Society

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Regional-Black-History-Month-Calendar-2019-ver.-1-31-2019.pdf

​Multicultural Observances Calendar

Available to GECDSB Staff - login required