Special Days/Weeks

This is a work in progress to collate key dates and weeks that may be of interest to those seeking to integrate what’s happening in the community with what’s happening in the church (and visa versa). Karl Barth is famous for, among other things, saying something to the effect that: One must hold a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. (It turns out, he didn’t really say it quite that way. Barth recalls that he advised young theologians ‘to take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible’. Therein lies the challenge for those preparing worship, as they listen in to community concerns and foci and endeavour to plan worship that is timely and relevant…..

Some links below relate to resources on this website, and others are related websites.

JANUARY

(New Year’s Eve)

Vegenuary (month of January)
Join thousands of people going vegan for the month of January. Eat delicious, healthy food, save lives and help the environment.

New Year, January 1

World Braille Day, January 4
World Braille Day commemorates the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, who is popularly known for inventing a language used by blind and visually impaired people. The day aims to promote awareness of the braille language, which strives to bridge the big divide between ordinary and specially-abled people.

20th January Penguin Awareness Day

Day of Mourning (Sunday before Australia Day)

22nd January – marks the one year anniversary since the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons came into force. Shamefully, Australia is not a party to this treaty.
Paper cranes have been synonymous with the movement to end nuclear weapons following the tragic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the story ‘Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes’. We need to continue to raise awareness of the utter destruction that nuclear weapons can bring, and to call on the Australian Federal Government to sign and ratify this treaty. Thank you to ICAN Australia for this challenge and all their continued work to bring an end to nuclear weapons.

Martin Luther King Jr Day (USA)
This is set for the 3rd Monday in January, closest to his birthday of 15th January.

24 January: Aboriginal Sunday – reclaim William Cooper’s Aboriginal Sunday and act in solidarity with Aboriginal peoples.

Day of Mourning (acknowledged in the Uniting Church on the Sunday before Australia Day)
(see also Change the Heart, a national prayer service led by Aboriginal Christian Leaders)

Australia Day, 26th January 2022 (also referred to as Invasion Day/Survival Day)

International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27 2022)
Acknowledged on the day that the Auschwitz Concentration Camp was liberated in 1945, this day remembers all those who suffered and lost their lives during the holocaust.

FEBRUARY

Ovarian Cancer Month (February)
Campaign to highlight the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Heart Research Month (February)

World Interfaith Harmony Week (Feb 1-7)
The United Nations encourages us to spread the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship during that week, on a voluntary basis and according to their own religious traditions or convictions.

2nd Feb: (UN) World Wetlands Day 
The United NationsWorld Wetlands Day marks the signing of the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty that calls for the member countries to maintain the ecological use of their wetlands. It is a day to remember the importance and fragility of our native wetlands.National/State: International
Website: www.environment.gov.au/water/wetlands/world-wetlands-day

4th Feb: World Cancer Day
It is the occassion to unite the world in the fight against the disease through raising awareness, educating the public, and lobbying for change. It is only by every person, organisation, and government, individually doing their part, that the world will be able to reduce the global cancer burden.

~ 4-10th Feb: International Vendor Day (The Big Issue publication)
Senior business leaders and politicians join The Big Issue’s regular vendors on the streets in a national campaign to shine a spotlight on homelessness and disadvantage.Website: www.thebigissue.org.au/news-and-events/

8th February International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking
Pope Francis has designated 8th February, the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, as the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking following a request from Talitha Kum, the worldwide Network of Consecrated Life Against Human Trafficking.
https://acrath.org.au/take-action/world-day-of-prayer/

8th February Safer Internet Day

13th Feb: Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations (2008) – resources on Australia Day, Day of Mourning, & Reconciliation Sunday may be helpful, as well as this information about stolen generations on the Australians Together website (includes PM Kevin Rudd’s historic apology).

14th Feb: Valentine’s Day

20th Feb: UN World Social Justice Day
The pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of the United Nations’ global mission to promote development and human dignity.

21 Feb: International Mother Language Day

Fairtrade Fortnight, 21st of February to the 5th of March, 2022 (used to be in August)
Theme: ‘Choose the World you Want Festival’ https://fairtradeanz.org

Feb 22 1943, Sophie Scholl, German political activist, executed
(Sophie’s final words): “How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause…. It is such a splendid sunny day, and I have to go. But how many have to die on the battlefield in these days, how many young, promising lives. What does my death matter if by our acts thousands are warned and alerted”. 

MARCH

Autumn (1 March – 31 May in Australia)

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month

World Hearing Day, March 3

University Mental Health Day, March 3

World Day of Prayer, first Friday in March annually

International Women’s Day, March 8 2022

St Patrick’s Day 17th March

International Day Against Bullying and Violence, 19th March

World Frog Day, 20th March

Harmony Day 21st March
(Harmony Week March 15, 2022 – March 21, 2022)

Feast of Saint Benedict, 21 March

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, March 21

World Down Syndrome day, 21 March (link here)
World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is a global awareness day that has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. March 21st was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication of the chromosome which causes Down syndrome. People with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome (they have 3 copies of chromosome 21 – hence 21/3

World Poetry Day, 21 March
UNESCO proclaimed this date back in 1999. World Poetry Day is celebrated every year to recognise the unique ability to make poetry and encourage people who are creative enough to capture life poetically.

Feast of Saint Benedict 21st March

World Water Day, 22 March

World Meteorological Day, 23 March
WMD helps people to understand and realise their role in protecting the atmosphere of the Earth.

Earth Hour, (last Saturday in March) 8.30pm
The symbolic action of switching off the lights has become aligned with awareness of positive environmental impact.

World Theatre Day, 27th March

Good Neighbour Day on 27th March. (Neighbour Day is an initiative of Relationships Australia and is held annually on the last Sunday of March)

World Bipolar Day, 30th March

International Transgender Day of Visibility, 31 March

APRIL

World Health Day, 7th April

World Art Day, 15th March

National Infertility Awareness Week 18-24th April dates tbc

April 21: United Nations World Creativity and Innovation Day
(This day aims to raise awareness of the importance of creativity and innovation in all aspects of our lives. This is especially true during the pandemic when we have collectively found new ways to stay connected!)

Earth Day, April 22nd
(Also called International Mother Earth Day)
Held by the United Nations to promote harmony with nature and the Earth.

ANZAC Day, April 25th

Break the Silence Sunday, April 28th(fourth Sunday in April)

International Workers Memorial Day, 28th April

International Dance Day, 29th April

MAY

Holocaust Remembrance Day, May 2nd
World Labyrinth Day, May 2nd
4 May Global 6K for Water
Six kilometres is the average distance people in developing countries need to walk to get water. World Vision encourages groups to hold six kilometre fun runs or walks to raise money to provide clean water to vulnerable communities. This event is held internationally, meaning you’ll unite with thousands of others to turn the tide for people who need it most.
Pluralism Sunday, first Sunday in May
May 4 is International Respect for Chickens Day and the whole month is International Respect for Chickens Month!
May 5th, International Day of the Midwife 
Mothers Day (second Sunday in May in Australia)
International Nurses Day, 12th May
This date is the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth
Federal Election (Australia)
Election issue (Australia): refugees and asylum seekers
Refugees and asylum seekers      A hymn for ‘boat people’
Election Issue: Environment (prayers in Seasons of Creation or World Environment Day)
Election Issue: Homelessness
Saint Brendan’s Day, 16th May (Celtic Saint)
Wear Orange Day (Australia) May 19th – to thank State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers who generously give their time to help communities during emergencies, saving lives and protecting communities.
International Bee Day, 20 May 
International Tea Day, 21 May 2020
National Volunteers Week, 17-23 May 2022
22 May 2021: International Day for Biological Diversity Biodiversity Day
We remember we are trustees of God’s creation for future generations.
World Schizophrenia Awareness Day, 24th May
(22-28th May 2022 is Schizophrenia Awareness Week)
National Sorry Day (Australia)
Reconciliation Sunday (closest Sunday to May 26th)
National Reconciliation Week (27th May to 3 June)
The dates commemorate the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 29 May-5 June 2022

JUNE

Winter begins (southern hemisphere)

World Environment Day, June 5

World Oceans Day, June 8

World Day Against Child Labour, 12th June (An estimated 152 million children across the world trapped in forced labour)

International Men’s Health Week, 13-19th June 2022 (dates tbc)

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 15 June

Refugee Week, Sunday June 20 to Saturday June 26, 2022.
Every year, Refugee Week is scheduled during the week that includes the 20th of June, which is World Refugee Day.

World Refugee Day, 20th June

Arbor Day/Tree Day, 20th June

Winter solstice, June 21, 2022

UCA Anniversary 22nd June

Winter solstice (The winter solstice is the day that has the least daylight hours of any in the year and usually occurs in Australia on 22 June but can occur between 21 & 23 June)

JULY

NAIDOC Week (3rd to 10th July, 2022) also NAIDOC website here

World Chocolate Day! July 7th (note also the campaign to end slavery in the production of chocolate)

Sea Sunday, 10th July
(celebrating the way seafarers enrich our lives, and the Church’s ministry to them)

One Great Sunday of Sharing, 17th July 2022
A recognition and celebration of the Uniting Church being a multicultural Church for all God’s people. 

On 18 July every year, we are invited to mark Nelson Mandela International Day by making a difference in our communities. 

National DonateLife week Sunday 24 July to 31 July 2022 (Australia)

UN World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, 30th July (or closest Sunday)

International Day of Friendship, 30th July

Earth Overshoot Day (Australia) date varies each year. 
Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. The date for each year can be found on the website. In 2021, it fell on July 29.

National Missing Persons Week, 31st July – 6th August 2022

AUGUST

Lay Preachers Sunday, Uniting Church in Australia, Sunday closest to 1st August

National Tree Day August 2nd

August 2nd is Imbolc (which means Ewe’s Milk) also known as Brigids’ Day in the Southern Hemisphere, an old Gaelic festival – a time of metaphoric rebirth when we see, feel and hear the beginning signs of Spring. Winter is over, Spring cometh. Imbolc is a time of new beginnings, fresh starts and cleaning out the old ready to welcome the new. (North Hemisphere is Lughnasadh)

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, August 4

Hiroshima Day, 6th August (also Nagasaki August 9th)
(could also use some prayers for peace resources)

Aged Care Employee Day, August 7th (Australia)
A national day to thank, honour and celebrate more than 365,000 people across Australia who care for and support around 1.3 million older Australians receiving care either in their home or in residential facilities.

Homelessness Week, 7-13th August 2023

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People recognition, August 9th
(poems for Indigenous People’s Day on Godspace)

International Prisoners’ Justice Day, 10th August

Red Nose Day, 13th August

Prayers for Peace – Korean Peninsula, 15th August
August 15 is Liberation Day in both South and North Korea. It marks the date in 1945 when Korea gained independence from Japanese colonial oppression. Sadly and ironically, the 15th of August also marks the day Korea divided into two countries.

International Youth Day, 12th August

World Humanitarian Day, 19th August

World Photography Day, 19th August

Daffodil Day August 24th (Cancer Council)

Migrant and Refugee Sunday in the UCA (last Sunday in August)

Wear it Purple Day (last Friday in August each year, 25th August 2023)
Wear it Purple was founded in 2010 in response to young people taking their own lives as a result of bullying and harassment from the lack of acceptance of their sexuality or gender identity. Link here.

SEPTEMBER

Spring (starts Sept 1st in southern hemisphere)

Wattle Day (Australia), September 1

September is Dementia Month

Interfaith September (see also #WIHW)

Season of Creation (Sundays in September)

Fathers Day (first Sunday in September in Australia)

Women’s Health Week, 6-10 September 2022

Child Protection Week, 6th-12th September (first week in Sept every year)
(Organised by NAPCAN; 2022 theme is ‘Putting Children First’)
For liturgical resources could check out Child Protection Week

R U OK? Day, 9th September

World Suicide Prevention Day, 10th September
(National Suicide Prevention Month – September)

9/11 Remembrance

World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, 19-25 Sept (third week of Sept)

International Day of Peace, 21st September (each year)

World Alzheimer’s Day – Sept 21 (each year)

Freedom Sunday (end human slavery), 22 September 2019

International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, 26 September 2021

National Op Shop Week www.opshopweek.com.au
27th September – 2nd October (dates tbc)

Social Justice Sunday – last Sunday in September

World Rivers Day – last Sunday in September (each year)

OCTOBER

International day of Older Persons – October 1st (annual)  

World Habitat Day, 2nd October (each year)

International Day of Non-Violence 2 October (Gandhi’s birthday)

World Communion Sunday, first Sunday in October

Labour Day – 7th October 2019 (South Australia)

(Yom Kippur– Jewish holy Day, evening of Oct 8 to evening of Oct 9)

Indigenous People’s Day (October 9) 
(resources on NAIDOC Week, Reconciliation Week, Day of Mourning etc could be used)

World Mental Health Week, 9th-17th October 2022

(In South Australia, it will be Mental Health Awareness Month)

World Mental Health Day, October 10
(2022 Theme: Look out, look up and look forward)

National Carers Week, 9th – 17th October 2022

World Homeless Day, 10th October

International Day of the Girl – October 11

Anti-Slavery Day, 14th October (resources by Church of Scotland here)

Global Handwashing Day Oct 15

International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, 15th October

World Food Day October 16th (background video here)

Anti-Poverty Week 16th – 22nd October 2022

United Nations’ International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 17 October

International Pronouns Day, 19 October 2022 (3rd Wednesday in October)

October 22: anniversary of the National Apology to Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse in Australia. A 2019 Liturgy of Acknowledgement and Lament downloadable liturgy here, 2018 resource here and pre-recorded liturgy (2020) posted here

Reformation Day 31st October 2017

National Unity Week, Oct 26 – Nov 2

Halloween/Hallow Evening – October 31


National Grandparents Day Sunday, 31 October (Australia)
– a day for people to celebrate the role grandparents play in families and communities.
* Queensland celebrate on 1st Sunday in October FacebookWikipedia (scroll to Australia)

NOVEMBER

World Vegan Day Nov 1 (could be interesting focus as we pursue a sustainable future)

All Saints Day, Nov 1

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted ChurchIDOP
(first Sunday in November each year – Nov 6, 2022)

Cervical Cancer Awareness Week
(in 2021 it was 8-14th Nov)

Kristallnacht – Night of Broken Glass, Nov 9

Anniversary of fall of Berlin Wall, Nov 9
(Wikipedia article here; Monday prayers in Leipzig)

Remembrance Day, 11th Nov

World Kindness Day, 13th Nov

World Toilet Day, Nov 19

International Men’s Day, Nov 19

Perinatal anxiety and depression awareness week, 7-13th Nov (dates tbc)

UN World Children’s Day Nov 20 (in 2022 it’s on a Sunday)

International Transgender Day of Remembrance (ITDR) Nov 20

National Agriculture Day, Nov 20 (A time to celebrate all those working in the horticulture industry and Aussie growers  who continue to work tirelessly to ensure we have food on our tables 365 days a year)

DECEMBER

Summer begins (Australia)

World AIDS Day, Dec 1

International Day for Persons with Disabilities, Dec 3

Grieving Day, December 2. Facebook page

UN International Human Rights Day, Dec 10

21 Dec Anniversary of Native Title passing in the Australian Senate in 1993

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awareness days calendar
Dates – https://www.ourcommunity.com.au/calendar?fromDate=29-09-2018#01Oct2018