Cinco de Mayo means “Fifth of May” in Spanish, and is a celebration of the Mexican victory at the Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862. The Mexican army, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, won the battle even though the French force was three times as large and better equipped. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico, and has become a popular heritage celebration in the United States.
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The annual celebration of Asian-Pacific Americans began as a week-long observance in 1978. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a resolution extending the celebration to the entire month of May. In 1992, the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.
The month of May was chosen to recognize the history, culture and contributions of Asian-Pacific Americans for two reasons:
1) the first Japanese immigrants in the United States arrived on May 7, 1843
2) the transcontinental railroad, which was constructed largely through the labor of Chinese immigrants, was finished on May 10, 1869
Learn more about Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month on our page of links
Arbor Day is a state holiday celebrated each year on last Friday in April. It is customary to observe the day by planting a tree. It is estimated that one million trees were planted in the United States on the first Arbor Day April 10, 1872. This year Arbor Day falls on April 29th.
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Jewish Year 5776: Sunset April 22 – Nightfall April 30, 2016
Passover is an eight day Jewish holiday that celebrates the delivery of the Jews from bondage in Egypt. It is observed on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan.
Passover is a moveable feast, a holiday which does not fall on the same date every year, but varies according to astronomical occurrences and is based on the Jewish liturgical calendar.
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Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22nd. The brainchild of environmentally-conscious Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, Earth Day was first observed in 1970. Nelson’s intention was that Earth Day be observed through nationwide “teach-ins” on college campuses. Instead of focusing on the Vietnam War, however, theses teach-ins focused on the threats facing the environment. The 1970 event was celebrated across the country and was wildly successful. Earth Day is now celebrated in more than 175 countries throughout the world.
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Patriots’ Day commemorates the Battles of Lexington and Concord which occurred on April 19th 1775 and initiated the Revolutionary War with Britain. Patriots’ Day was first celebrated in 1894 and until 1969 was marked on April 19th. Since then it has been celebrated on the third Monday of April. In Massachusetts, the holiday is observed with battle reenactments, the running of the Boston Marathon, a Red Sox game at Fenway Park and the start of school vacation week. This year Patriots’ Day falls on Monday, April 16th.
Learn more about Patriots’ Day and find things to do on our page of links