Embracing Inclusiveness: Celebrating and Observing Holidays in Our Community

By SLES Equity Team
Photo Gallery
December 08, 2020


Jewish High Holy Days

This month, Jewish people throughout the world will be observing what is known as the High Holy Days or High Holidays. Most Jewish families will celebrate these holidays, which are often thought of as the holiest days of the year.

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins Friday evening, September 18. Some Jews celebrate for one day and some celebrate two days. Most Jews celebrate with large family meals and services. Even though most synagogues are closed for the pandemic, services are being held virtually by many Jewish congregations. Feel free to greet your Jewish friends and colleagues with “Happy New Year,” or try Hebrew with “Shana Tova.”

Yom Kippur, a more somber holiday, begins on Sunday night, September 27, through Monday night September 28. It includes fasting and prayer. Many people will refrain from eating for the full 25 hours of the holiday. Feel free to greet your Jewish friends and colleagues with, “Have a meaningful and easy fast.”

Learn more about the Jewish High Holy Days:




Also, a student and family from Ms. Jarboe’s class sang a song and taught the class how to say hello in Hebrew. We invite you to watch the link and enjoy seeing students learn a little about this culture from one of our families.


Note: The session was off/on due to connectivity issues.



Hispanic Heritage Month ~ September 15 through October 15

Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities. The event, which spans from September 15 to October 15, commemorates how those communities have influenced and contributed to American society at large. 

Below is a youtube video sharing some facts about Hispanic Heritage Month.


National Coming Out Day (NCOD) ~ October 11

National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an annual LGBT awareness day observed on October 11, to support lesbiangaybisexual and transgender (LGBT) people (and sometimes other groups typically grouped within the LGBT community) to "come out of the closet".[1] First celebrated in the United States in 1988, the initial idea was grounded in the feminist and gay liberation spirit of the personal being political, and the emphasis on the most basic form of activism being coming out to family, friends and colleagues, and living life as an openly lesbian or gay person.[2] The foundational belief is that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of silence and ignorance, and that once people know that they have loved ones who are lesbian or gay, they are far less likely to maintain homophobic or oppressive views.[3]


Fairfax County School Board Recognizes LGBT History Month




Native American Heritage Month ~ November

Native American Heritage Month is an annual celebration of the history and culture of the Native American communities. This month we recognize and commemorate how Native American communities have influenced and contributed to American society at large.



Diwali ~ November 14

Diwali, also known as the "Festival of Lights", is an annual celebration that takes place between mid-October and mid-November. This year Diwali was celebrated on Saturday, November 14.


Learn More: 




Hanukkah ~ December 10 - December 18

Hanukkah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew, is a Jewish holiday that begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and usually falls in November or December. This year, Hanukkah will occur from December 10 through December 18. Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts.

Learn more about Hanukkah:



Kwanzaa ~ December 26 - January 1

Kwanzaa is an African American holiday that is celebrated from December 26 through January 1. During the week-long celebration, 7 African principles are celebrated that aim to provide service and fellowship within the African American community. Each day the Kinara (candle) is lit to honor the principle that is being celebrated for that day. Here are the 7 principles of Kwanzaa:

Umoja - Unity

Kujichagulia - Self-Determination

Ujima - Collective work and responsibility 

Ujamaa - Cooperative economics

Nia - Purpose

Kuumba - Creativity

Imani - Faith


Learn more about Kwanzaa: