January 1: New Year’s Day

According to the Gregorian calendar, January 1 is among the most celebrated public holidays in the world.


January 1: Emancipation Proclamation

On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln declared all individuals held in slavery to be free. This was the start of slaves being freed in the U.S.; however, it wasn’t until June 19, 1865 (now celebrated as Juneteenth) that slavery was ended across the Confederacy.


January 4: Louis Braille’s Birthday

Louis Braille created the popular tactile reading and writing system known as “braille.” The system has stood the test of time, and it has increased accessibility to the visually impaired. 


January 6: Feast of the Epiphany

On the 12th day of Christmas, Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. They believe this is when the three wise men arrived to baby Jesus after following the star. Around the world, countries celebrate this by dressing up like the three wise men and decorating floats.


January 15: Makar Sankranti

Our January diversity calendar includes the Hindu festival dedicated to Surya, the god of the sun. Hindus celebrate this day by having morning prayer and then engaging in kite competitions. Consider flying a kite of your own this day!


January 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day

This January, several local Arkansas organizations are doing their part to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. The Northwest Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Council has a variety of events planned as part of their 26th Annual MLK Holiday Celebration. Events include a Food Drive, Memorial Service, Freedom March, and more. For more information, visit their website by clicking here. On Thursday, January 13th, EngageNWA is also hosting a virtual event that communicates the importance of service in the workplace by using MLK Day as a foundation. To pre-register for free, sign up here.


January 22 – Lunar New Year

The Lunar New Year is the beginning of a calendar year whose months are moon cycles. In East Asia and Southeast Asia, the Lunar New Year is a festival that marks this time. You may also hear it called the Chinese New Year in China. This multicultural celebration is celebrated by offering gifts to others in red envelopes, lighting fireworks and firecrackers, and putting up decorations.


January 27: International Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust

The United Nations established this global holiday to remember the approximately 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. Head to the library on this day and check out a book or two about World War II. If you have kids, helping them to develop knowledge about this history and enhancing their awareness of genocide and war can help raise compassionate leaders for the next generation.


January is National Poverty Awareness Month

This holiday aims to recognize the severe conditions of poverty in which many Americans live.  We may not be able to fully eradicate poverty, but we can acknowledge the problem and do what we can, within our means, to help those less fortunate than us.  We can donate food, clothes, blankets, socks, money or anything that a person living in poverty may need.   We can spread awareness by utilizing social media.  We can also host a charity event and encourage others to donate.