May dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

5th – Vesak, Buddhism

Sometimes called Buddha Day, Vesak celebrates the Buddha’s birthday. Celebrations vary from country to country but are colourful and joyful. People clean and decorate their homes. Some hold ceremonies where water is poured over statues of the Buddha, to signify purification of thoughts and deeds.

8th – 14th – Mental Health Awareness Week

The Mental Health Foundation has held this awareness raising week every year since 2001, with the aim of helping to remove the stigma around mental health problems. Each year has its own theme; this year it is anxiety. Go to to find out more.

28th – Pentecost, Christian

Celebrated by Western and Orthodox Christian churches, Pentecost commemorates the Holy Spirit appearing to Christ’s Apostles and other followers while they were celebrating the Feast of Weeks, or Shavuot. It is considered by some to be the birthday of the Christian faith.

This month’s dates at a glance


1 –      Beltane, Wicca and Pagan

2 –      Twelfth day of Ridvan, Baha’i

Birthday of Guru Arjan Dev Sikh

3 –      Feast of Saints Philip and James, Catholic Christian

5 –      Vesak, Buddhist

9 –      Lag BaOmer, Judaism

14 –    Feast of Saint Matthias, Catholic Christian

18 –    Feast of the Ascension, Christian

19 –    Yom Yerushalayim, Judaism

23 –    Birthday of Guru Amar Das, Sikh

24 –    Declaration of the Báb, Baha’i

25 –    Feast of the Ascension, Orthodox Christian

26-27 – Shavuot, Judaism

28 –    Pentecost, Christian

29 –    Ascension of Baha‘u’llah, Baha’i

31 –    Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Catholic Christian

 Awareness and events

1 -       Bank Holiday UK (May Day)

1-7 –   Deaf Awareness Week

7 –      International Family Equality Day

8 –      Bank Holiday UK (King’s Coronation)

World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day

8-14 – Coeliac UK Awareness Week

8-14 – Mental Health Awareness Week

15 –    International Day of Families

17 –    International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

18 –    Global Accessibility Awareness Day

21 –    World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

22 –    International Day for Biological Diversity

24 –    Pansexual Visibility Day

29 -     Bank Holiday UK (Spring Bank Holiday)

April dates for your diary

Calendar snapshots

4th – Mahavir Janma Kalyanak, Jain

This is one of the most important Jain festivals, celebrating the birth of Mahavir, the 24th and last spiritual teacher of the dharma in our current time cycle. Across India, statues of Mahavir are anointed and special prayers are said, with many Jains giving extra to charity on and around this day.

6-13th – Passover, Judaism

Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, is the Jewish festival celebrating the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt where they were held as slaves under Pharoah Ramses II. In a battle with the Egyptians to secure the slaves’ freedom, God had sent the Angel of Death to kill all the firstborn children. The Israelites were told to mark their doors so that their children were spared by the passing Angel; hence ‘passover’.

22nd – Eid al-Fitr, Islam

The festival that marks the end of Ramadan, Muslims believe that Eid al-Fitr was created by the Prophet Muhammed himself. It is a very lively and joyous celebration, where people dress up in new clothes, give extra to charity and share their first daytime meal for a month.

This month’s dates at a glance


2 – Palm Sunday, Christian

4 – Mahavir Janma Kalyanak, Jain

6 – Maundy Thursday, Christian

6 – Hanuman Jayanti, Hindu

6-8 – Theravada new year, Buddhist

6-13 – Passover, Judaism

7 – Good Friday, Christian

8 – Lazarus Saturday, Orthodox Christian

9 – Palm Sunday, Orthodox Christian

Easter Sunday, Christian

10 – Easter Monday, Christian

13 – Songkran, Thai new year, Buddhist

14 – Vaisakhi, Hindu and Sikh

14 – Puthandu, Hindu

Holy Friday, Orthodox Christian

16 – Pascha (Easter), Orthodox Christian

18 – Birthday of Guru Angad Dev, Sikh

Laylat al-Qadr, Islam

Yom HaShoah,Judaism

21 – First day of Ridvan, Baha’i

22 – Akshaya Tritiya, Hindu and Jain

Eid al-Fitr, Islam

23 – Saint George’s Day, Christian

25 – Yom HaZikaron, Judaism

25 – Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist, Catholic Christian

26 – Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Judaism

29 – Ninth day of Ridvan, Baha’i

30 – Saint James the Great’s Day, Orthodox Christian

Awareness and events

1 – April Fool’s Day

2 – World Autism Awareness Day

6 – International Asexuality Day

7 – World Health Day

8 – International Romani Day

22 – Earth Day

24-30 – Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week

25 – World Malaria Day

26 – Lesbian Visibility Day

28 – World Day for Health and Safety At Work