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Greater Essex County District School Board
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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

FAITH DAYS

2020-2021

DateHoly DaysFaith
July 31, 2020*
Eid-ul-Adha*Islam
September 19-20, 2020**Rosh Hashanah**Judaism
September 28, 2020**
Yom Kippur**Judaism
November 14, 2020DiwaliHinduism
November 30, 2020Birthday of Guru Nanak Sikhism
December 25 , 2020Christmas (Western)Christianity
January 5, 2021Birthday of Guru Gobind SinghSikhism
January 7, 2021Christmas (Eastern)Christianity
February 12, 2021
Lunar New YearBuddhism
March 21, 2021Naw RuzBaha'i
March 27-28, 2021**Pesach/Passover**Judaism
April 02, 2021Good Friday (Western)Christianity
April 14, 2021VaisakhiSikhism
April 30, 2021Holy Friday (Eastern)Christianity
May 13, 2021*Eid-ul-Fitr*
Islam
May 24, 2021Pentecost MondayMennonite

 

* Tentative dates subject to the sighting of the moon each month. 
** All Judaism Holy Days commence on the preceding evening at sunset

In addition to the above listed dates, the GECDSB will take reasonable steps to accommodate students and staff members of a faith group for whom the Board's and the school's operations or requirements create undue hardship and interfere with their ability to exercise their religious beliefs and practices. These dates may include, but are not limited to the following:

 

​DateHoly DaysFaith
August 29, 2020*Ashura*Islam
October 03 - 09, 2020**Sukkot**Judaism
October 11, 2020**Simchat Torah**Judaism
November 1, 2020All Saints' Day (Western)Christianity
February 17, 2021Ash Wednesday (Western)Christianity
March 21, 2021Naw Ruz (Ismaili)Islam
March 21, 2021Naw Ruz (New Year's Day)Zoroastrianism
March 28-April 08, 2021**Pesach/Passover**Judaism
​March 29, 2021​Holi​Hinduism
April 08, 2021​Wesak​Buddhism
April 16 - May 02, 2021RidvanBaha'i
April 12- May 13, 2021*Ramadan*Islam
May 16 - 18, 2021**Shavuot**Judaism
June 21, 202`National Indigenous Peoples DayIndigenous


Please note that this list does not represent all observances practiced by the GECDSB diverse faith communities.  

The Board also advocates the recognition of various days throughout the school year and recommends that individual schools, in consultation with their School Councils, develop appropriate ways of observing such faith days in keeping with the principles of inclusive curriculum practices.

For additional information, please consult your location's most recent edition of the "GECDSB Guidelines for the Accommodation of Religious Requirements, Practices and Observances" binder or ​contact Equity and Inclusion Officer, Rachel Olivero at 519-255-3200 ext. 10213.

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 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