Calendar of Holidays, Observances, and Local Cultural Events:
Thank you for taking time to explore this Calendar of Holidays, Observances, and Local Cultural Events. This calendar was developed by the Office of Inclusive Excellence at the Community College of Aurora. Please note that this calendar of dates, times, holidays, observances, and events may not be 100% accurate as some do not operate under the Gregorian calendar or event dates/times/locations may change from the organizer. It is best to research and confirm, yourself, in addition to reading this document.
Each holiday, observance, or event title that is underlined is a link to an informative website. Participants of the religions/cultures noted may observe some of the holidays, none of the holidays, or all of the holidays. They may participate in the holiday in the ways listed or not.
This calendar is not all encompassing and hoping to grow in inclusion. For additions to this holiday, observances, and local cultural events calendar (or suggestions for modification), please submit them to this form: https://bit.ly/2DAdL2C
Special thanks to Missouri State for inspiration.
- Sun, Dec 1: World AIDS Day is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness.
- Tue, Dec 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities commemorates a commitment to work together for a better world that is inclusive, equitable, and sustainable for everyone, where the rights of people with disabilities are fully realized. Holiday Tree Lighting is free and celebrates the sights and sounds of the holiday season while lighting the holiday lights at the Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Pkwy., Aurora, CO 80012.
- Sat, Dec 7: Free First Saturday at the Denver Art Museum is an opportunity to enjoy the art collections and non-ticketed exhibitions without spending a dime at the Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204. It occurs from 10am – 5pm.
- Sun, Dec 8: Dinner for Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) benefits the amazing organization that improves the lives of immigrants and refugees by making Colorado a more welcoming, immigrant-friendly state. It occurs from 6:30pm – 9:30pm at the Comal Heritage Food Incubator, 3455 Ringsby Court #105, Denver, CO 80216. Colorado Advancement of Muslim Professionals (CAMP) 3rd Annual Networking Banquet occurs from 1:30pm – 5:30pm at the Clements Community Center- Columbine Room, 1580 Yarrow St. Lakewood, CO 80214 and includes speakers, panel discussion, volunteer awards, and vendor displays. Bodhi Day is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment. (Some folks celebrate this day on January 2nd, 2020depending on which calendar they follow.)
- Participants may reflect, meditate, decorate with multi-colored lights, and spend time with the community.
- Tue, Dec 10: International Human Rights Day commemorates the 1948 United Nations General Assembly adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document that proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being- regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status.
- Thu, Dec 12: Our Lady of Guadalupe Day honors the miraculous image/apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, unmade by human hands, patroness of the Americas, unborn children, and the New Evangelization.
- Participants may celebrate with the local community through feasts, receptions, Mass, decorations, and worship.
- Fri, Dec 13: Friday the 13th has long been considered a harbinger of bad luck.
- Sun, Dec 15: Jewish Explorers and Judaism Your Way Latkes + Light- a Family Chanukah Celebration occurs from 10am-12pm at the JCC Denver Social Hall, 300 S. Dahlia St, Suite 300, Denver, CO 80246. LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Hanukkah at Dos Luces Brewery with the JCC Denver and play Hanukkah games, eat delicious food and share your favorite Hanukkah memories. It occurs from 5pm-7pm at the Dos Luces Brewery, 1236 S. Broadway, Denver, CO 80210.
- Mon, Dec 16 – 24: Las Posadas, with roots stretching deeply into Latin culture, commemorates Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a warm place to stay the night and commemorates the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy.
- Participants may parade to neighbors and places of worship, dress in costumes, light candles, sing songs, pray, partake in festive foods, attend Mass, and gather around a piñata in celebration.
- Sat, Dec 21: Drumming Up the Sun (Sunrise at Red Rocks) celebrates a new beginning with lengthening days and a return of the sun on the solstice morning. Bring drums or rattles, and warm clothing. Arrive anytime between 4am-7am to the Red Rocks Park Amphitheater, 18900 W. Alameda Pkwy. Morrison, CO. Afterwards, visit the Yule Celebration and Breakfast Potluck (After Drumming Up the Sun) to reconnect with the community and each other. This goes from 8am – 10:30am at 605 Newton St. Denver, CO. 2019 Muslim Youth Empowerment Conference occurs from 9am – 7pm at the University of Colorado Denver, 1201 Larimer St., Denver, CO 80204. Yule Winter Solstice is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. It is also longest night of the year and seen as the sun’s “rebirth.”
- Participants may celebrate with bonfires, yule logs, feasts, and spending time with family, friends, and neighbors.
- Sun, Dec 22: Winter Solstice/Yule Ritual and Potluck honors and celebrates the rebirth of the Light into the world. It begins at 4:15pm at the Ascension Station, 319 W. 11th Ave, Denver, CO.
- Sun, Dec 22-30: Chanukah, the Jewish festival of rededication and lights, begins the evening of December 22nd and ends the evening of December 30th. This holiday has its roots in a revolution against assimilation and suppression of Jewish religion and commemorates the victory of the Jewish people, led by the Maccabee family, over the Syrian Greeks in 165 B.C.E.
- Participants may light candles in a Hannukkiah, sing songs, exchange gifts, feast, and play games.
- Tue, Dec 24: Christmas Eve, the night before Christmas Day, is celebrated because Jesus is traditionally thought to have been born at midnight.
- Participants may attend Mass, fast, exchange gifts, pray, feast, decorate a tree, burn a yule log, and sing songs.
- Wed, Dec 25: Christmas Day celebrates and remembers the birth of Jesus Christ; although not exactly known to be the real birthday, it has been celebrated on this day since 336 A.D., during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine.
- Participants may attend church services, pray, sing, exchange gifts, feast, and spend time with family and friends.
- Thu, Dec 26-Jan 1: Kwanzaa is an African American pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community, and culture; created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies in 1966.
- Participants may spend time with family and the community, feast, partake in music, dance, and poetry, and reflect.
- Thu, Dec 26: Celebrate Kwanzaa: Umoja (Unity) with a performance filled with storytelling, songs, and dancing at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St. Denver, CO 80205. It occurs from 11am – 12pm.
- Fri, Dec 27: Celebrate Kwanzaa: Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) with a festive cross-cultural experience highlighting the principles of Kwanzaa accompanied by music and dance at the Ford-Warren Branch Library, 2825 High St. Denver, CO 80205. It occurs from 2pm – 3:30pm. Also, Celebrate Kwanzaa: Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) through life stories and literature at the Central Library, 10 W. 14th Ave Pkwy. Denver, CO 80204. It occurs from 12:30pm – 2:00pm.
- Sat, Dec 28: Celebrate Kwanzaa: Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility) with a festive cross-cultural experience highlighting the principles of Kwanzaa accompanied by music and dance at the Ford-Warren Branch Library, 2825 High St. Denver, CO 80205. It occurs from 1pm – 3pm.
- Mon, Dec 30: Celebrate Kwanzaa: Nia (Purpose) with a festive cross-cultural experience highlighting the principles of Kwanzaa accompanied by music and dance at the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library, 1498 N. Irving St. Denver, CO 80204. It occurs from 2pm – 3:30pm.
- Tue, Dec 31: Celebrate Kwanzaa: Kuumba (Creativity) with a festive cross-cultural experience by creating your very own vision board at the Pauline Robinson Branch Library, 5575 E. 33rd Ave. Denver CO 80207. It occurs from 1pm – 2:30pm. New Year’s Eve celebrates the change into the New Year at midnight.
- Wed, Jan 1: New Year’s Day is the first day of the New Year, following both the Gregorian and the Julian calendar, and is often marked by fireworks, parades, and reflection.
- Thu, Jan 2: Bodhi Day is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment. (Some folks celebrate this day on December 8th depending on which calendar they follow.)
- Participants may reflect, meditate, decorate with multi-colored lights, and spend time with the community.
- Sat, Jan 4: World Braille Day celebrates the invention of braille on its inventor’s birthday: Louis Braille in 1809. This day reminds folks on the importance of accessibility and independence for people who are blind or visually impaired. Free First Saturday at the Denver Art Museum is an opportunity to enjoy the art collections and non-ticketed exhibitions without spending a dime at the Denver Art Museum, 100 W. 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, CO 80204. It occurs from 10am – 5pm.
- Tue, Jan 7: Russian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on this day because the majority of the Orthodox churches use the Julian calendar, as opposed to the Gregorian calendar.
- Participants may spend time with family, friends, and the community feasting, attend Church, gift giving, and praying.
- Tue, Jan 14: Maghi is the occasion commemorating the sacrifice of forty Sikhs, who fought in pursuit of Guru Gobindh Singh Ji. Makar Sankranti, known as the phase of transition, is dedicated to the sun god, Surya, and celebrated by Hindus as the start of the agricultural new year. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute features special guest performances and will honor recipients of the 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Awards. It is a free concert at 7:30pm located at the Boettcher Concert Hall, Denver Performing Arts Complex, 1000 14th St., Denver CO 80202.
- Participants of Maghi may recite texts, engage in religious rituals, and connect with family and the community.
- Participants of Makar Sankranti may engage in community festivals, feast, sing songs, give gifts, bathe in a river, fly kites, and dance.
- Fri, Jan 17-19: Colorado Indian Market and Southwest Art Festival features 200 top quality Native American, Southwestern, and Western artists and craftsmen, alongside tribal dances, entertainers, and culinary booths. It occurs 10am-7pm Friday and Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday. It is located at the Denver Mart, 451 E 58th Ave., Denver, CO 80216.
- Sun, Jan 19: World Religion Day was initiated in 1950 and is marked by hosting discussions, conferences, and other events which foster understanding and communication between the followers of all religions.
- Mon, Jan 20: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day honors the legacy of Dr. King (surrounding his birthday on January 15th and eventually declared the third Monday in January), focuses on the issue of civil rights, highlights the use of nonviolence to promote change, and calls people into public service. MLK Jr. Marade, sponsored by the Statewide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission and going on since 1985, combines the words “march” and “parade” to remember Dr. King’s marches through the South, his influence on civil rights, and to highlight current issues surrounding equity. The 5k Marade starts formation at 9:30am at City Park, near the intersection of E. 17th Ave. and Esplanade. MLK Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo of Champions partakes in the history and heritage of America’s black cowboy as top cowboys and cowgirls compete in the ladies’ steer un-decorating and more traditional rodeo events. It begins at 6:00pm at the Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St. Denver, CO 80216.
- Sat, Jan 25: Chinese New Year Cultural Fair celebrates Asian art and culture through educational, art and craft displays, and items for purchase. Free admission and it goes from 12pm – 4pm at the Southridge Rec Center, 4800 McArthur Ranch Rd., Highlands Ranch 80130. 2020 Colorado Chinese New Year Celebration includes a cultural fair, taste of china, marketplace, and celebration show. It occurs from 10:30am – 3:30pm at The Potter’s House Church of Denver, 9495 E. Florida Ave, Denver, CO 80247. Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year marks the beginning of the Year of the Rat.
- Participants may feast, celebrate with fireworks, pray, spend time with family, dance, and visit temples.
- Mon, Jan 27: International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, honors the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism and encourages development of educational programs to help prevent future genocides.