The Holidays We Celebrate
Among the most ethnically diverse townships in the state and country, Niles Township further distinguishes itself by celebrating that diversity and creating a respectful and welcoming home to all.
Many Niles Township residents come from places all over the world, bringing with them rich traditions and celebrating holidays of great importance to them. We celebrate along with our neighbors, sharing the meaning of holidays observed in Niles Township.
What Is Labor Day?
Labor Day is the only federal holiday celebrated across the United States in September.
Paying tribute to working men and women, Labor Day has been celebrated as a national holiday in this country and Canada since 1894. Labor unions themselves celebrated the first labor days in the United States.
Sept. 5, 1882 marked the first Labor Day parade in New York City. The workers' unions chose the first Monday in September as the holiday because it was halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. At that time, people worked an average of 60 hours a week, but unions were agitating for shorter work weeks and more paid days off. The idea of a Labor Day holiday spread across the country, and some states designated it as a holiday before the federal holiday was created.
The first state to designate a Labor Day holiday by law was Oregon in 1887. Some 30 states had adopted the holiday by the time Congress made the first Monday in September a federal holiday, on June 28, 1894.
What Is World Suicide Prevention Day?
One in every 100 deaths worldwide is the result of suicide. It can affect anyone at any time.
Each and every suicide is devastating and has a profound impact on those around them. Suicide Prevention Day was created to raise awareness, reduce the stigma around suicide and encourage well-informed action. The goal of those behind the special day is to reduce instances of suicide around the world.
World Suicide Prevention Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide and to promote action through proven means that will reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts globally. This day was developed by The International Association for Suicide Prevention.
“By encouraging understanding, reaching in and sharing experiences, we want to give people the confidence to take action. To prevent suicide requires us to become a beacon of light to those in pain. You can be the light.”
What Is National Grandparents’ Day?
Months after Mother’s and Father’s Day comes Grandparents’ Day, which is celebrated nationally the first Sunday after Labor Day every year — this year on Sept. 10. The day was created to honor the special connection between grandparents and their children.
Maybe most special about the day is that the first person to suggest it was a a 9 year-old boy who sent a letter to President Richard Nixon in 1969.
Following the letter, Marian McQuade was recognized nationally by the U.S. Senate and by President Jimmy Carter as the founder of National Grandparents Day. McQuade wanted to educate the youth about the importance of seniors and the contributions they have made throughout history. She urged the youth to “adopt” a grandparent and learn more about their lives, challenges, and desires for the future.
On August 3, 1978, President Carter signed a proclamation designating the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year as National Grandparents’ Day. The day was finally recognized and celebrated for the first time in 1979.
What Is Patriot Day?
9/11 Remembrance Day, also called Patriot Day, gives all of us time to reflect on the devastating terrorist attacks that took nearly 3,000 lives in America in 2011. The day commemorates those who we lost and gives thanks to the brave first responders who put their lives on the line.
The day encourages taking a moment to consider what citizens stand for as a nation and how we can work together to make the world a better place for all.
In 2009, President Barack Obama rededicated the day Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. It is not a public holiday so government offices, educational institutions and businesses do not close on this day.
On Patriot Day, the national flag is flown at half-mast on all United States government buildings and establishments. Individuals are also encouraged to display flags on their homes. A moment of silence is traditionally observed at 8:46 AM. Many organizations and establishments hold memorial ceremonies to honor the victims of 9/11.
What Is Rosh Hashanah?
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year festival, is held on the first (also sometimes the second) day of Tishri (in September). It is marked by the blowing of the shofar, and begins the 10 days of penitence culminating in Yom Kippur.
It is both a time of rejoicing and of serious introspection, a time to celebrate the completion of another year while also taking stock of one’s life.
The two days of Rosh Hashanah also launch the 10 Days of Repentance (“Aseret Yemei Teshuvah”), also known as the Days of Awe (“Yamim Noraim”), which ends in the major fast day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The Days of Awe represent the climax of a longer process.
Starting at the beginning of the previous month, called “Elul,” the shofar is traditionally sounded at the conclusion of the morning service. A ram’s horn that makes a trumpet-like sound, the shofar is intended as a wake-up call to prepare for the Tishrei holidays. One week before Rosh Hashanah, special petitionary prayers called “Selichot” are added to the ritual. Rosh Hashanah itself is also known as “Yom Hadin” or the Day of Judgment, on which God opens the Books of Life and Death, which are then sealed on Yom Kippur.
The prayer book for the High Holidays is called the “Mahzor.” Three unique sets of prayers are added to the morning service during Rosh Hashanah.
What Is Hispanic Heritage Month?
Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
From 1968 until 1988, all presidents issued yearly proclamations, setting aside a week to honor Hispanic Americans starting under President Lyndon Johnson. The week was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 and ending on Oct. 15.
Sept. 15 was chosen as the start of the month because it marks the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, falls within this 30-day period.
Americans of Mexican origin account for more than 60 percent (37 million people) of the nation’s overall Hispanic population. The next largest group are Americans of Puerto Rican origin with 5.8 million people.
Illinois is one of 12 states with a population of 1 million or more Hispanic residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The fastest population growth among Latino Americans in the country is from people with origins in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Honduras, and Guatemala.
What Is Constitution & Citizenship Day?
Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is observed each year on Sept. 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, and “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.”
The US president may issue each year a proclamation calling on government officials within the nation to display the country's flag on government buildings as well as inviting people to observe this event in schools, churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies.
Various civil and educational authorities and individuals throughout the United States observe Constitution Day and Citizenship Day through a range of events and activities each year.
One example is the Center for Civic Education, which provides lesson topics on Constitution Day and Citizenship Day for students at different levels. The US Department of Education provides various resources on the event as the department is responsible for implementing Constitution Day legislated mandates. Among these is the requirement for educational institutions that receive federal funds to hold an educational program on the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17 each year.
What Is Respect For the Aged Day?
Respect for the Aged Day, or “Keiro-no-Hi,” is a national public holiday in Japan. The day, which honors and respects the country’s elderly citizens, is held on the third Monday of September each year.
In 1947, a small town in Hyōgo Prefecture — now known as Taka — proclaimed Sept. 15 to be Old Folks’ Day (“Toshiyori no Hi”). In succeeding years, the holiday’s popularity spread to every corner of the country. By 1966 it was proclaimed a national public holiday.
In 1998, Japan began introducing the “Happy Monday System.” This system attempted to move public holidays to Mondays so that people with the usual 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday jobs could have more three-day weekends. Respect for the Aged Day was moved to the third Monday of September starting in 2003.
On Respect for the Aged Day, organizations and companies hold special events to help the elderly living in their community. Volunteers have been known to organize free bento lunch deliveries, or distribute special hampers that contain basic necessities like soap and toothpaste.
What Is International Day Of Peace?
This year’s International Day of Peace, celebrated Sept. 21 every year, takes on the theme: Actions For Peace. It is a call to action that recognizes our individual and collective responsibility to foster peace.
Each year the United Nations-sponsored International Day of Peace is observed around the world. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.
“Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures, and everyday life in every society. It continues to be a driver of persistent inequality,” UN General Assembly Secretary-General António Guterres said. “And it continues to deny people their fundamental human rights. It destabilizes societies, undermines democracies, erodes the legitimacy of governments, and the linkages between racism and gender inequality are unmistakable.”
The United Nations General Assembly has declared the day as being devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire.
What Is Yom Kippur?
Yom Kippur, also known as “Yom Ha-Kippurim” or Day of Atonement, is the most solemn of Jewish religious holidays, observed on the 10th day of the lunar month of Tishri (in the course of September and October).
During Yom Kippur, Jews seek to atone for their sins and reconcile with God. Yom Kippur concludes the “10 days of repentance” that begin with Rosh Hashanah (New Year’s Day) on the first day of Tishri. The Bible refers to Yom Kippur as Shabbat Shabbaton (“Sabbath of Solemn Rest,” or “Sabbath of Sabbaths”) because, even though the holy day may fall on a weekday, it is on Yom Kippur that solemnity and cessation of work are most complete.
The mission of Yom Kippur is to inspire individual and collective purification by the practice of forgiving the sins of others and repenting for one’s own sins against God. The solemn day is marked by abstention from food, drink, and sex. Among Orthodox Jews, wearing leather shoes and applying oil or lotions are forbidden. Orthodox Jews may wear long white robes called kittel.
Forty days before Yom Kippur, on the first of Elul, observant Jews begin blowing the shofar every morning and reciting Psalm 27 after the morning and afternoon prayers.
For the week before Yom Kippur (known as the 10 Days of Repentance), special additions are made to prayers, and people are particularly careful with their mitzvah observance.