Past DEI Spotlight Celebrations

Irvine is proud to be a City that embraces and celebrates diversity and fosters an environment that is inclusive of all cultures, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, ages, abilities, perspectives, and ways of thinking. Learn more about celebrations and observances the City has highlighted throughout the year below.

See a list of past celebrations and recognitions below. For current celebrations, visit cityofirvine.org/deispotlight.

September

Equity & Inclusion Recognitions

Labor Day: September 5
Labor Day is a holiday celebrated in the U.S. on the first Monday in September to honor and recognize the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday traces back to the late 19th century, when labor activists expressed their interest in a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the Central Labor Union.

Patriot Day: September 11 
Patriot Day is a U.S. holiday to commemorate the lives of those who died in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, New York; the Pentagon in Virginia; and those who died when the hijacked flight crashed in Pennsylvania.

Constitution Day: September 17
September 17 marks the 235th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, the four-page document that established our national government and guarantees citizens certain basic rights. At its meeting on September 13, the Irvine City Council proclaimed September 17 Constitution and Citizenship Day and declared September 17-23 as Constitution Week.

HeForShe: September 20 
HeForShe, often referred to as He for She, is a solidarity movement for the advancement of gender equality initiated by the United Nations. It is grounded in the idea that gender inequality is an issue that affects all people socially, economically, and politically. HeForShe is a global effort that seeks to involve men and boys in achieving equality by taking action against negative gender stereotypes and behaviors.  

International Day of Peace: September 21 
Each year on September 21, International Day of Peace is observed around the world. The United Nations declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace by observing 23 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. The 2022 theme for the International Day of Peace is “End racism. Build peace.” All are invited to join the efforts of the United Nations as it works toward a world free of racism and racial discrimination, a world where compassion and empathy overcome suspicion and hatred, and a world that we can truly be proud of. Visit weareirvine.org to learn the ways in which the City of Irvine has taken steps to ensure we embrace and celebrate diversity in all aspects of our community and foster an environment that is inclusive of all cultures, backgrounds, races, and ethnicities. 

Cultural & Religious Holidays

Chuseok: September 10
Chuseok is one of the biggest holidays in Korea. It is sometimes referred to as “Korean Thanksgiving” because it’s a special time for family, friends, and food. Meaning "autumn evening," this three-day holiday originated from Korea's past as an agricultural society. When a full moon appears in a mid-autumn sky, it signals that the harvest season has ended and it is now time to relax and thank their ancestors for an abundant harvest. Traditionally, Koreans celebrate with special meals and folk games. In modern times, gift-giving has become a new way for Koreans to show their appreciation for relatives, friends, and co-workers. 

Mexican Independence Day: September 16 
Mexican Independence Day celebrates the moment when Father Hidalgo, a priest and leader, called for Mexico’s liberation from Spain in September 1810. The 11-year battle that resulted in Mexico's independence culminated August 24, 1821, when Spain signed the Treaty of Córdoba, which formally recognized Mexican independence. After nearly three centuries of Spanish colonial rule, Mexico gained its independence. 

Rosh Hashanah Begins: September 25  
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and the first of the Jewish High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, known as the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day observance and celebration that includes customs such as attending synagogue services and reciting liturgy, as well as enjoying festive meals. 

Navratri Begins: September 26 
Navratri is a time when Hindus celebrate the goddess Durga for killing the demon Mahishasura. It spans over nine nights. Each day is represented by a different color that symbolizes one of Durga’s distinct characteristics or traits. The festival ends with what is known as Dussehra, which is the celebration of good over evil. 

Cultural & Religions Recognitions

National Native American Day: September 23 
Native American Day is a holiday observed in several states in celebration of Native American culture. In California and Nevada, the holiday is designated on the fourth Friday of September. The day is a way to honor those who have been a part of the American tradition before the nation of the USA existed. Native Americans are believed to be the first Americans that lived in the United States. Native Americans lived throughout the North American continent before the first explorers and settlers from Europe colonized the lands. Native Americans could be found all the way from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and from the northern reaches of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. They have played and continue to play a huge role in the history of the United States. 

National Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15-October 15  
Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of Hispanic Americans with ancestors from Latin American indigenous communities and those with Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, Central and South American roots. Enacted under federal law, the observance begins September 15 and ends October 15, starting on the Independence Day anniversary for many Latin American countries. It began as a weeklong observance in 1968 under President Lyndon B. Johnson, and was expanded to a 30-day observance in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. The national theme for 2022 Hispanic Heritage Month is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” View the events section below to learn about the City’s inaugural celebration event, Fiesta Latina en Irvine on September 24.  

DEI Events

Mid-Autumn Festival  
Friday, September 9; 5-9 p.m. 
Great Park 

The City of Irvine in partnership with South Coast Chinese Cultural Center will host a Mid-Autumn Festival at Great Park, Friday, September 9, from 5 to 9 p.m. The  Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is a traditional festival celebrated by many East and Southeast Asian communities. It is the second-most important holiday after Lunar New Year and dates back over 3,000 years, when the Emperor of China worshiped the moon for bountiful harvests. Employees are invited to attend this honored tradition, enjoying live musical and dance performances, cultural exhibits, and a festive atmosphere. Visit cityofirvine.org/midautumn to learn more. Check out a video of the event below.

Orange County Fire Authority 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony
Sunday, September 11; 8:30 a.m.
OCFA Headquarters or Online

Join the Orange County Fire Authority and community Sunday, September 11, as the men, women, and children killed in the attacks are honored and remembered. The ceremony will take place at OCFA Headquarters, 1 Fire Authority, Irvine, at 8:30 a.m., or watch live at facebook.com/ocfireauthority

OCTA Transit Workshop
Presented in Korean 한국말강좌
Wednesday, September 21
10–11 a.m.
Trabuco Center

Develop confident bus-riding skills before heading out to explore Orange County on the OC Bus. Topics include how to plan a trip, fares, how to safely board and exit the bus, ADA accessibility, and more. Register at yourirvine.org.

Fiesta Latina en Irvine 
Saturday, September 24; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 
Great Park 

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15 to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. The City of Irvine is proud to hold Fiesta Latina en Irvine, honoring the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation, society, and our community. The event will celebrate the histories, cultures, traditions, and contributions of Hispanic American citizens through music, food, language, literature, and art. It will take place Saturday, September 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Great Park. Learn more at cityofirvine.org/fiesta.  

View the Photo Album

International Day of Older Persons Event
Friday, September 30
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
3715 McClintock Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90089 | Gerontology Auditorium

International Day of Older Persons is recognized October 1 by the United Nations. The day is meant to encourage countries to draw attention to and challenge negative stereotypes and misconceptions about older persons and aging, and to enable older persons to realize their potential. The 2022 theme for International Day of Older Persons is: The Resilience and Contributions of Older Women. The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is hosting an International Day of Older Persons Event Friday, September 30, at 10 a.m. Learn about resilience in caregiving, finance, community, and much more as leading experts share insights on the ability to withstand adversity and thrive at any age. The program begins at 10 a.m., followed by lunch at 1 p.m. RSVP is required here.  

Art at City Hall: Chloe Jeongmyo Kim: Transplanted Panorama
Community members can enjoy the art of Korean-born artist Chloe Jeongmyo Kim at the City of Irvine's fall exhibition, Chloe Jeongmyo Kim: Transplanted Panorama, which is on display through November 18 at Irvine City Hall as part of the Art at City Hall series. Since 2012, Kim has been living throughout the United States, traversing urban and suburban landscapes and embracing the multicultural aspects of American life. In 2015, Kim moved to Irvine and has been producing art in this City ever since. The exhibition combines abstract painting with photographs taken by Kim in both Irvine and Korea. All ages are welcome, and admission is free. Learn more at cityofirvine.org/artatcityhall

Chloe Jeongmyo Kim, Ordinary Day, 2022   Chloe Jeongmyo Kim, Still, Be There, 2022

August 

Equity & Inclusion Recognitions

Purple Heart Day: August 7  
Purple Heart Day is a day for Americans to remember and honor the men and women who bravely represented their county and were wounded or killed whilst serving. These people are decorated with a Purple Heart, given by the President. This day is a chance to reflect on the bravery of those who have fought for the U.S. and ensure their courage is never forgotten.  

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: August 9 
The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed on August 9 each year to raise awareness and protect the rights of the world's indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. 

The City of Irvine and Orange County area boasts rich Native American history. We pay homage and tribute to this history and preserve the Native American culture in many ways throughout the community:

  • The Portola Springs Community Center's Native American Wing includes cultural and historical artifacts and displays paying homage to the Native American tribes who once inhabited the Portola Springs area. Just outside the community center, nearby trails are home to native plants like the coastal prickly pear which has been known to be a food and medicine source for Native Americans, as well as a source of needles, containers and water.  Visit the Portola Springs Community Center to view the artifacts. The center is open Monday–Friday: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m.–10 p.m.; and Sunday: Noon–6 p.m.
  • Sunset Point is a popular lookout area in the Turtle Rock community. The hill was recently renamed Sunset Point after the City of Irvine sought to rename the hill to reflect the Native American history. The site had been locally known as "Suicide Hill" for the difficult climbs, and the City — seeking a more positive name — consulted with the Acjachemen Nation Tribal Manager and gathered input from the community in a public survey for new names. 

National Liberation Day of Korea/Victory Over Japan Day: August 15 
This day commemorates the liberation of Korea from Japanese rule in 1945. While Korea has been an independent nation for centuries, it had been invaded multiple times, the last being the period of Japanese rule. The day the United States and Allied powers helped liberate Korea from 35 years of Japanese rule became known as Victory Over Japan Day. It took three years after Korea became independent in 1945 for the nation to establish the Republic of Korea. Many countries celebrate Victory Over Japan Day on August 15; however, America celebrates this day in September when the Japanese formally signed a declaration of surrender.  

    Senior Citizens Day: August 21 
    On August 21st, National Senior Citizens Day recognized the achievements of the more mature representatives of our nation. The day provides an opportunity to show our appreciation for their dedication, accomplishments, and services they give throughout their lives. To recognize Senior Citizens Day, spend time with the senior citizens you know. Let them know they are appreciated and loved. It may also be a good day to volunteer at a retirement home or share your smile with those who may not otherwise get a visitor today. 

    Marlee Matlin’s Birthday: August 24
    Marlee Matlin is the only hearing-impaired actor to win the Oscar for Best Actor or Best Actress. This is a big win for people with disabilities, and demonstrates the power of representation. Here are some ways you can be inclusive of deaf culture: 

    • Speak directly to people instead of their interpreter 
    • Look directly into the camera when speaking 
    • Make sure that only one person speaks at a time 
    • Take meeting minutes and have them distributed 

    Women’s Equality Day: August 26 
    Women’s Equality Day is celebrated to commemorate the 1920 adoption of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex.  

    Cultural & Religious Recognitions

    Krishna Janmashtami: August 18-19 
    The Krishna Janmashtami festival marks the birth of Krishna, one of the most popular deities worshipped by Hindus. It is an important festival where celebrations are held throughout the night to celebrate when Krishna was born.  Hindus celebrate Janmashtami by fasting, singing, praying together, preparing and sharing special food, night vigils, and visiting Krishna or Vishnu temples. 

    Al-Hijri: August 29 
    Al-Hijri marks the start of the New Year in the Muslim faith. It begins on the evening of August 28 and ends on the evening of August 29. To celebrate this religious holiday, Muslims will make resolutions and spend time with family. It’s important to note there’s a significant difference in how the holiday is celebrated between the two sects of Islam (Shiites and Sunnis). 

    Ganesh Chaturthi: August 31
    Our August multicultural calendar includes Ganesh Chaturthi, a 10-day Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of this god. Lord Ganesha is the god of new beginnings and a fresh start, and the festival normally lasts 10 days long. If you need a fresh beginning this August, consider learning more about this practice and celebrating the festival. 

    DEI Events

    Irvine Post Office Renaming Ceremony for Lt. Col. Robert J. Friend 

    Congresswoman Katie Porter hosted a Grand Opening and renaming ceremony of the U.S. Post Office in honor of the late Lt. Col. Robert J. Friend. The renaming and ribbon-cutting ceremony were held Thursday, August 25, at 1 League, Irvine 92602.

    Lt. Col. Friend was an Irvine resident since the 1970s and one of the last surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen. He flew in 142 combat missions while stationed in Europe during World War II as a member of the all-Black "Red Tails" unit. Friend received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Presidential Unit Citation, Bronze Star with Flying Cross, three Distinguished Service Medals, and the Air Medal. The US Post Office will be renamed: Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Robert J. Friend Memorial Post Office Building. 

    View photos of the Renaming Ceremony

    Irvine Multicultural Association Film Series: My Mother’s Castle 
    Join Irvine Multicultural Association for light refreshments and a showing of My Mother’s Castle. This French film follows a young boy and his family as they journey to their holiday cottage in the hills of Provence. Using a key to trespass through private estates along a gated canal, the family encounters trouble when they are caught by a caretaker. 
    Wednesday, August 3 | 5–7 p.m.  
    Lakeview Senior Center  
    Register Here  
     

    Art at City Hall: Chloe Jeongmyo Kim: Transplanted Panorama
    Community members can enjoy the art of Korean-born artist Chloe Jeongmyo Kim at the City of Irvine's fall exhibition, Chloe Jeongmyo Kim: Transplanted Panorama, which is on display August 1–November 18 at Irvine City Hall as part of the Art at City Hall series. Since 2012, Kim has been living throughout the United States, traversing urban and suburban landscapes and embracing the multicultural aspects of American life. In 2015, Kim moved to Irvine and has been producing art in this City ever since. The exhibition combines abstract painting with photographs taken by Kim in both Irvine and Korea. An opening reception was held Saturday, August 13, at Irvine City Hall. All ages are welcome, and admission is free. Learn more at cityofirvine.org/artatcityhall

    Chloe Jeongmyo Kim, Ordinary Day, 2022   Chloe Jeongmyo Kim, Still, Be There, 2022

     

    July Cultural & Religious Celebrations

    Eid al-Adha: July 9 
    Eid-al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,” is of Islam’s most important holidays and is celebrated by millions of Muslims worldwide. Usually lasting three to four days, this religious recognition signifies the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son, Ismail as ordered by Allah as a sign of obedience to God. Eid-al-Adha is usually celebrated with the symbolic sacrifice of a lab, goat, cow, camel, or other animal that is divided to be shared equally among family, friends, and those in need. Muslim worshipers typically perform a communal prayer, attend Mosque, donate to charities, and visit with family and friends.  

    Hijiri New Year: July 29 
    The Islamic New Year, also called the Hijri New Year or Arabic New Year, is the day that marks the beginning of a new lunar calendar. The Islamic calendar is lunar-based and only 354 days long. Islamic New Year falls on July 29 of the Gregorian calendar this year. The word Hijri is derived from Hijra meaning migration. The starting point of Islamic calendar is migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD. 

    Equity & Inclusion Recognitions

    Canada Day: July 1 
    Canada Day formerly known as Dominion Day, is the national day of Canada. A federal holiday, it celebrates the anniversary of Canadian Confederation which occurred on July 1, 1867, with the passing of the British North America Act, 1867 where the three separate colonies of the United Canadas, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada. 
     
    Canada Day celebrations take place throughout the country, as well as in various locations around the world attended by Canadians living abroad. 

    Independence Day: July 4 
    Independence Day, or the Fourth of July is celebrated in the United States of America and is a federal holiday which commemorates the Declaration of Independence, which was ratified on July 4, 1776. The Second Continental Congress declared that the thirteen original colonies were no longer subject to the British Monarchy, and were now united, free, and independent states. Independence Day is celebrated across the U.S. with fireworks, parades, barbecues, fairs, and ceremonies to signify our celebration of freedom.  

    Chronic Disease Day: July 10 
    Chronic Disease Day is held on July 10 because chronic diseases account for seven out of the 10 leading causes of death in America and more than 90 percent of our annual healthcare spending. The day is an opportunity to reevaluate what individuals and organizations can do to lower the number of preventable illnesses and better support those with unpreventable conditions. 

    Bastille Day: July 14 
    Bastille Day, also known as the French National Day, is the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. Originally built as a medieval fortress, the Bastille eventually came to be used as a state prison, where citizens were detained by the authorities for trial, often by direct order of the king, with no appeal. Bastille had come to symbolize the harsh rule of the monarchy. The taking of the Bastille signified the beginning of the French Revolution and is celebrated today with parades, fireworks, parties, and other celebrations.  

    Hire a Veteran Day: July 25 
    On July 25th, National Hire a Veteran Day reminds employers to consider veterans to fill their open positions. As highly trained, qualified individuals, they are ideal for numerous trades and are in search of civilian employment when they leave the service.  

    National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day: July 27 
    On National Korean War Armistice Day we recognize and pay tribute to the Korean War veterans. 

    The Korean War began June 25, 1950 with the North Korean army's invasion of South Korea. On July 27, 1953, the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed ending the war, now officially recognized as Armistice Day. At 10 a.m. that day, in Panmunjom, 18 official copies of the tri-language Korean Armistice Agreement were signed. The signing of the agreement marked the end of the longest negotiated armistice in history with 158 meetings spread over two years and 17 days. 

    National Disability Independence Day: July 26 
    National Disability Independence Day commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) July 26, 1990. The ADA provides protection from employment discrimination as well as better access to goods, services, and communications for people with disabilities.  

    The City of Irvine is an Equal Opportunity Employer and provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. 

    The City Council commemorated the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act July 26 with a proclamation and a presentation about ongoing efforts to ensure everyone has equal access to facilities and services. City staff highlighted programs and services provided by Disability Services and a number of improvement projects designed to ensure community members with disabilities have equal access to facilities, such as:  

    • The future Universal Playground serving children of all physical abilities at Sweet Shade Neighborhood Park. 
    • Enhancing accessibility at Col. Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park.  
    • Updated curb access ramps that meet the latest ADA requirements. 
    • Restroom improvements at facilities and Irvine Station. 
    • Modernized wheel chair lifts in the multi-purpose rooms of Heritage Park Community Center, Lakeview Senior Center, and Turtle Rock Community Center. 
    • ADA access ramps, accessible parking stalls, and areas for ADA accessible stadium seating at Ryan Lemmon Baseball Stadium.
    • New ADA compliant, two-tiered drinking fountains and accessible picnic tables citywide. 
    • 75 Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APS)  throughout the City, communicating walk and don't walk information to blind and low-vision pedestrians in a non-visual manner, such as audible tones and speech messages. The City has recently revised the standard to a touchless APS, and all new or upgraded intersections will use a touchless button.  

    To learn about classes, programs, and resources available through the City's Disability Services, visit cityofirvine.org/disabilityservices

    Cultural & Religious Recognitions

    Nelson Mandela International Day: July 18 
    Nelson Mandela International Day celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world and the ability to make an impact. The day was originally set by the United Nations on his birthday, July 18. Mendela remains as a symbol of power by resisting oppression, choosing dignity over humiliation, speaking up during injustice, and forgiving rather than hating. In honor of his 67 years of public service, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the United Nations ask that individuals spend 67 minutes of your time helping others.  

    DEI Events

    Disability Services Social & Recreational Programs 

    Adaptive Stretch & Flex

    Improve your health with this low-impact exercise class. This effective 60-minute program will help you burn fat and build muscle. Beginners welcome. Ages 10+.
    Tuesday, July 12 | 6–7 p.m. 
    Register Here 

    Games & Fun: Bocce Ball

    Enjoy interactive classes weekday evenings with friends. Engage in group activities, games, and more!
    Tuesday, July 26 | 6–7 p.m.
    Register Here 

    Game Night

    Join us for a fun-filled night of games, laughter, and entertainment. Snacks provided. Ages 10+.  
    Friday, July 29 | 6–8 p.m.
    Register Here 

    June Cultural & Religious Celebrations

    Shavuot: June 4-6
    Shavuot begins at sunset on June 4 and ends at sundown June 6. Shavuot, or the feast of weeks, is celebrated seven weeks after the second Passover seder and began as an ancient grain harvest festival. It marks the day God gave the nation of Israel the Torah on Mount Sinai. Those who celebrate Shavuot might go to the synagogue and hear the Ten Commandments; stay up throughout the night to read the Torah; and consume dairy products, as milk is considered a cleansing food item. Flowers and sweet incense are also used to decorate homes and bring a spring feel to homes and indoor spaces. 

    National Aboriginal Day: June 21 
    National Aboriginal Day is a day recognizing and celebrating the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Indigenous peoples of Canada. The day also celebrates the distinct cultures and unique traditions of these native communities. Festivities celebrating the day are held all throughout Canada every year on June 21. 

    Equity & Inclusion Recognitions

    Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month:  
    June is dedicated as Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month by Alzheimer's Association Orange County Chapter. Worldwide, more than 55 million people are living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Throughout the month, the Alzheimer’s Association asks people around the world to wear Purple and use their brains to fight Alzheimer's disease. 

    Additionally, at the June 14 City Council meeting, the City Council will proclaim June as Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, and the City of Irvine clock tower will be illuminated purple June 20-26 in this recognition.  

    D-Day: June 6
    On June 6, 1944, 156,000 American, British, and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France's Normandy region. The invasion was one of the largest military assaults in history and required extensive planning. The invasion resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany control. By late August 1944, all of northern France was liberated, and shortly after, the Allies defeated the German army. The D-Day landings have been called the beginning of the end of war in Europe. 

    Flag Day: June 14
    In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated June 14. This day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United states in 1977. The United States approved the design for its first national flag, which was designed as thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, and thirteen white stars in a blue field. 

    • Did you know there is a box at Northwood Community Park where you can bring American flags that are torn and tattered? It was established in 2015 by Gianluca Allesina of Irvine Boy Scout Troop 616 for his Eagle Scout Service Project. Flags dropped off at the retirement box will be properly disposed of. You can find the box next to the entrance to the Community Center on the side of the building facing the playground. 

    Juneteenth: June 19
    Juneteenth dates back to June 19, 1865, and is the oldest known annual observance commemorating the abolishment of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth became a celebration of freedom and achievement, gathering family and communities with food, entertainment, spiritual and religious ceremonies, and cultural storytelling. Today, Juneteenth takes on a symbol of pride in African American experiences and ancestral roots that is recognized annually across the country. 

    • Event: The City of Irvine and BIPOC Orange County invited the community to its inaugural Juneteenth Freedom Celebration. The free event will took place Sunday, June 19, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Great Park Palm Court. 

      The celebration of freedom, hope, and joy honors the history and contributions of African Americans to the cultural fabric of our community and nation. The community learned about Black culture as well as the history and significance of Juneteenth through interactive activities, local organizations, and live performances. The event was free and open to the public. 

    • Click on the image below to view photos:

                                        ​

    Pride Month: June is Pride Month — a time when the LGBTQIA+ community comes together to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. As a result, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBTQIA+ people have had in the world.

    The City of Irvine recently celebrated the beginning of Pride Month and Harvey Milk Day by hosting an inaugural Pride in Irvine event at City Hall. The gathering featured the raising of the Progress Flag and provided an opportunity for residents to connect with local organizations representing the LGBTQIA+ community. 

    Watch a recap of the event below and view pictures of the celebration. Visit our resource page to learn more about Irvine's LGBTQIA+ services and resources. 

     

    Helen Keller Day: June 27 
    Helen Adams Keller was an American author, disability rights advocate, political activist and lecturer. Born in West Tuscumbia, Alabama, she lost her sight and her hearing after a bout of illness at the age of 19 months. Helen Keller day is recognized on June 27 to commemorate her birthday and honor her successes overcoming blindness and deafness while paving the way for others to do the same. 

    World Refugee Day: June 20 
    World Refugee Day is an international day organized every year on June 20 by the United Nations. It is designed to celebrate and honor refugees from around the world. The day was first established in June 2001, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. World Refugee Day shines a light on the rights, needs, and dreams of refugees, helping to mobilize political will and resources so refugees not only survive, but also thrive. 

    The Irvine City Hall clock tower has been illuminated blue and yellow throughout much of 2022 to demonstrate the City's support for the country and people of Ukraine and their fight for freedom. To donate to help Ukraine, visit usaid.gov

    DEI Events

    Juneteenth Freedom Celebration: June 19
    The City of Irvine invites the community to its inaugural Juneteenth Freedom Celebration. The free event will take place Sunday, June 19, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Great Park Palm Court. 

    The celebration of freedom, hope, and joy honors the history and contributions of African Americans to the cultural fabric of our community and nation. The community is invited to learn about Black culture as well as the history and significance of Juneteenth through interactive activities, local organizations, and live performances. The event is free and open to the public. Free parking is available on site. Food trucks will be available for visitors to purchase food. 

     

    May Cultural & Religious Celebrations

     Cinco De Mayo: May 5 

    Cinco de Mayo is a yearly celebration held on May 5, which commemorates the anniversary of Mexico's victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Cinco de Mayo has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture. Celebrations began in California, where they have been observed annually since 1863. 

    • Event: The Irvine Multicultural Association is a Senior Services program that provides educational and social activities to promote harmony and understanding in the community. Join your fellow seniors and celebrate social oneness as we explore Mexican culture through food, dance, and discussion. Enjoy live performances, sample authentic cuisine, and learn about Mexico's rich culture. The event takes place Wednesday, May 4 from 1-3 p.m. at the Lakeview Senior Center. For more details, visit yourirvine.org

    Dia de Las Madres: May 10
    Always held May 10, Dia de las Madres is part of the Mexican culture and is celebrated with joy, appreciation, food, and singing. The tradition began in 1922 when an editor of the Mexico City newspaper wrote an article advocating the celebration of Mother's Day across Mexico. The Catholic church contributed to this holiday becoming widely observed. Sons and daughters come to the family home and wake their mother up singing traditional songs or by sharing gifts like flowers and cards to celebrate. 

    Equity & Inclusion Recognitions

    International Labor Day: May 1
    International Labor Day, also known as May Day or Workers' Day, commemorates the historic struggles and gains made by workers and the labor movement. The date was chosen after a series of socialist groups, trade unions, and labor groups fought for the eight-hour work day. On May 1 every year, rallies and marches take place across the world to raise awareness about issues like forced labor, minimum wage, and the rights of migrant workers. 

    Jewish American Heritage Month 
    Jews first arrived on American soil in 1654 in New Amsterdam. In search of better opportunities and lifestyles, they made the U.S. their new home base, finding in it a space where they could openly practice their faith and lead their lives freely. In April of 2006, the whole month of May was dedicated to recognizing and honoring Jewish contributions and achievements. 

    Orange County is home to over 3 million people, with the Jewish population estimated at 80,000-100,000. It is home to Jewish Federation Orange County, the Bureau of Jewish Education, Jewish Family Service, B'nai B'rith Youth Organization, the Community Foundation, Taglit, the Orange County Jewish Historical Society, and Camp Yofi.

    Irvine is also a Jewish hub with the Merage Jewish Community Center community campus, one of the largest in the United States and an important presence in the community. Additionally the University of California, Irvine (UCI) has multiple departments and programs committed to Jewish history, heritage, and culture. UCI School of humanities launched a Center for Jewish Studies, in collaboration with School of Social Sciences, and in February, the UCI Langson Library will host the National Holocaust Museum’s, “Americans and the Holocaust: A Traveling Exhibition.” Additionally, UCI Center for Jewish Studies is offered its first “Confronting Antisemitism” fellows program in late 2021 to educate the larger campus community about antisemitism, and to learn strategies to combat it.

    International Nurses Day: May 12
    International Nurses Day is celebrated to mark the contributions that nurses make to society. The day is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. Each year, the International Council of Nurses leads the celebrations on this day, when they prepare and distribute the International Nurses' Day Kit which contains educational and public information materials for use by nurses everywhere. 

    Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 
    Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific Islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, and Easter Island).  

    The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants. 

    • Event: The 11th Annual Irvine Korean Cultural Festival will be held May 14, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Irvine Civic Center. Join to learn about Korean culture. The event will feature Korean traditional dance and music, food vendors, Korean arts and crafts, a K-Pop cover dance competition, squid games, and more. Visit irvineokreanfestival.org for more information. 
    • The South Coast Chinese Cultural Center (SCCCA) in Irvine began as a local Chinese school in 2005 and has grown into the largest Chinese Cultural Center on the west coast. The mission of SCCCA is to promote Chinese language learning, preserve Chinese heritage, enhance the understanding of the value of Chinese culture, and advocate cultural diversity in America. Learn more in this video. below:

                 

    • Irvine Police Department Chief Michael Kent was among several recipients who were named as Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month Honorees for the 37th California State Senate District by Senator Dave Min. Chief Kent was recognized at the Asian American and Pacific Islander Empowerment Summit, held May 28 at South Coast Chinese Cultural Center, for his work serving this community. Not only does Chief Kent shed light on the importance of service and dedication to our AAPI community through his work, but he also instills these values in our police department and City staff as well. 

                      

    • The City of Irvine and South Coast Chinese Cultural Center (SCCCC) hosted a book launch celebration May 4 at City Hall for Chinese-Americans in Irvine 1971-2021Chinese-Americans in Irvine 1971–2021 documents the history of Chinese Americans in Irvine over the City’s 50 year history. This book illustrates the Chinese immigrant experience and serves as a cultural homage, celebrating this community’s contributions to the City. Six themed chapters such as Philanthropists, Arts and Cultural Innovators, and Community Leaders cover the contributions of 31 nonprofit organizations and 77 individuals to the Chinese American experience in Irvine. SCCCC published the book in April 2022, and distributed it to community organizations and libraries. Additional copies of the book will be available to the public in the future.

          

    National Armed Forces Day: May 21
    Armed Forces Day is a special holiday for people all over the world to come together and thank the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. First conceived by President Harry S. Truman, the holiday was established in 1949. The creation of a single-day celebration for all five branches of the United States military made sense due to its recent unification under the Department of Defense. Today, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of every May, this year falling on May 21. 

    Harvey Milk Day: May 22
    Harvey Milk was the first openly gay politician to be elected to public office in California, serving on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1977 to 1978. His life and political career embody the rise of the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. While in office, Milk advocated for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Milk was assassinated in 1978 by Dan White, a former colleague on the Board of Supervisors. On October 11, 2009, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger established Harvey Milk Day to be held as a significant observance on May 22, Milk’s birthday. 

    • Event: The Irvine community gathered for the inaugural Pride in Irvine event Sunday, May 22, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., at the Irvine Civic Center. The Progress Flag was raised in honor of Harvey Milk Day and in preparation for June Pride Month. Watch a video recap below.

     

    Memorial Day: May 30
    Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for mourning the U.S. military personnel who have died while serving in the United States armed forces. It is observed on the last Monday of May. 

    • The City of Irvine hosts two Memorial Day ceremonies. Join us May 29, at 4 p.m., at Northwood Community Park for a candle lighting ceremony at the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial. Learn more here
    • The City of Irvine will host its annual Memorial Day Ceremony May 30, at 10 a.m., in the Formal Garden of Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park. A Commanding Officer from Irvine’s adopted 2/11 Marine Battalion will speak to pay tribute to our military fallen. Learn more here

    Mental Health Month 
    Millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is “Together for Mental Health,” and advocates strive to bring voices together to advocate for mental health and access to care. 

    The City of Irvine's FOR Families program provides free information and short-term support to individuals, couples, and families living in Irvine who need assistance identifying and accessing needed services and resources, including mental health resources. Additionally, the Irvine Police Department's Mental Health Unit takes a case-management approach to serve those in need of mental health help. Two dedicated Mental Health Officers are paired with a County clinician on a weekly basis to follow up on cases in which a mental health need is identified. Our Mental Health Officers have advanced expertise, with one working toward a doctoral degree in psychology. 

    Older Americans Month 
    Older Americans Month is recognized every May. The theme of Older Americans Month for 2022 is "Age My Way," and discovers the opportunities for all people to explore the many ways older adults can remain in and be involved with their communities. 

    The City of Irvine's Senior Services program provides resources, services, and activities for those ages 50 and older at three dedicated centers: Lakeview Senior Center, Rancho Senior Center, and Trabuco Center. Visit cityofirvine.org/seniors for more information.

    • The City of Irvine offers a variety of classes and virtual activities for seniors in the summer issue of the Irvine Senior Connection magazine, such as music appreciation, Bollywood dance fitness, and special workshops. Read this edition, and sign up for classes at yourirvine.org to get involved in your community. 

    ALS Awareness Month 
    May is ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis month. ALS is a rare neurological disease affecting nerve cells that control voluntary movement. Individuals with ALS experience a degeneration of their motor neurons, which causes the muscles to stop receiving the signals needed to function. After time, the brain loses its ability to control voluntary movements, and those living with the disease become unable to walk, move, or breathe.  

    Disability Services at the City of Irvine
    The City’s Disability Services program provides social recreational programs, support services, and advocacy for people with disabilities, their caregivers, and providers who live or work in Irvine. Services include social events, access reporting, sensitivity training, resources and referrals, inclusion, and accommodations.

    • Event: The City of Irvine Disability Services program invites you to attend a film screening of the documentary Let ’Em Play. This free event is presented in partnership with Irvine Residents with Disabilities Advisory Board. This documentary is geared toward athletic coaches, as well as parents and families of individuals with disabilities, interested in pursuing athletic opportunities. The event is 6–8 p.m., Tuesday, May 10 at Lakeview Senior Center, and will include the film screening followed by a question-and-answer session with the producer, Scott Marshutz. Light refreshments will be provided. The film screening is intended for parents and caregivers of loved ones with special needs. Registration is required at yourirvine.org.

    DEI Events

    Cinco De Mayo: The Irvine Multicultural Association is a Senior Services program that provides educational and social activities to promote harmony and understanding in the community. Join your fellow seniors and celebrate social oneness as we explore Mexican culture through food, dance, and discussion. Enjoy live performances, sample authentic cuisine, and learn about Mexico's rich culture. The event takes place Wednesday, May 4, from 1-3 p.m., at the Lakeview Senior Center. For more details, visit yourirvine.org

    Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month: The 11th Annual Irvine Korean Cultural Festival will be held May 14, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Irvine Civic Center. Join to learn about Korean culture. The event will feature Korean traditional dance and music, food vendors, Korean arts and crafts, a K-Pop cover dance competition, squid games, and more. Visit irvineokreanfestival.org for more information. 

    Harvey Milk Day: Join the Irvine community for the inaugural Pride in Irvine event Sunday, May 22, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Irvine Civic Center, as the Progress Flag will be raised in honor of Harvey Milk Day and in preparation for June Pride Month. Learn more here

    Memorial Day: The City of Irvine hosts two Memorial Day ceremonies. Join us May 29, at 4 p.m., at Northwood Community Park for a candle lighting ceremony at the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial. Learn more here
    The annual Memorial Day Ceremony will be held May 30, at 10 a.m., in the Formal Garden of Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park. A Commanding Officer from Irvine’s adopted 2/11 Marine Battalion will speak to pay tribute to our military fallen. Learn more here

    Disability Services: The City of Irvine Disability Services program invites you to attend a film screening of the documentary Let ’Em Play. This free event is presented in partnership with Irvine Residents with Disabilities Advisory Board. This documentary is geared toward athletic coaches, as well as parents and families of individuals with disabilities, interested in pursuing athletic opportunities. The event is 6–8 p.m., Tuesday, May 10, at Lakeview Senior Center, and will include the film screening followed by a question-and-answer session with the producer, Scott Marshutz. Light refreshments will be provided. The film screening is intended for parents and caregivers of loved ones with special needs. Registration is required at yourirvine.org.

     

    April Cultural & Religious Celebrations

         

    Rama Navami: April 10
    Rama Navami is a Hindu spring festival that celebrates the birthday of Shree Rama, the seventh avatar of Vishnu. On this day, followers pray for peace, prosperity, and success and seek divine blessings.

    Palm Sunday: April 10
    Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday, is recognized by Christian followers. The day celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, which took place a week before his death and resurrection.

    Songkran: April 13-15
    Songkran is the Thai New Year’s national holiday.

    Choul Chnam Thmey: April 14-16
    Traditional celebration of the solar new year in Cambodia

    Pi Mai: April 14-16
    Lao New Year is a widely celebrated festival in Laos.

    Passover: April 15-23
    Passover is a major Jewish holiday that celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Passover is celebrated by Seder meals that include drinking four cups of wine, eating matzah and bitter herbs while retelling the story of the Exodus.

    Easter: April 17
    Easter is a Christian festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The resurrection is said to have occurred three days after Jesus was crucified by the Romans. The day is celebrated by attending church services, and spending time with family.  

    Mahavir Jayanti: April 22
    One of the most important religious festivals in Jainism, it celebrates the birth of Mahavir, the 24th and last Tirthankara of present Avasarpini. 

    Orthodox Easter: April 24
    Eastern Orthodox celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    April Cultural & Religious Recognitions

         

    Ramadan: April 1-May 1
    Ramadan is a holy month of fasting, introspections, and prayer for Muslims, the followers of the Islam religion. It is believed during this month Muhammed received initial revelations of the Quran, the holy book of Muslims. Each day during Ramadan, Muslims do not eat or drink from dawn to sunset.

    Maundy Thursday: April 14
    Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, is the day during the Christian Holy Week that commemorates the last supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. This day falls just before he was crucified and resurrected on Easter Sunday.

    Good Friday: April 15
    Good Friday is a Christian observance held two days before Easter Sunday. It commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 

    Gathering of Nations: April 21-23
    More than 500 Native tribes meet to celebrate tribal traditions and cultures.

    Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day: April 24
    From 1915 to 1923, the Armenian genocide claimed the lives of 1.5 million men, women, and children. The Irvine City Council has proclaimed April 24, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. We honor and remember the individuals who lost their lives, as well as those who survived this horrific tragedy. As we join with those around the world in mourning what has been lost, we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring we eliminate all forms of hate so that this never happens again.

    Laylat al-Qadr: April 22
    Islamic belief that the night the Quran was first sent down from heaven.

    April Equity & Inclusion Recognitions

         

    Autism Awareness Day & Month: April 2
    Every April is World Autism month, and April 2 is Autism Awareness Day. Autism spectrum disorder refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication, affecting 1 in 44 children in the United States. The City of Irvine’s Disability Services team provides support to individuals with sensory, physical, or cognitive disabilities and their family members in the Irvine community. These services include social recreational programming, inclusion and accommodation support, and resources and referrals. To learn more about available services and upcoming programs, visit cityofirvine.org/disabilityservices.

    Denim Day: April 27
    Denim Day takes place on the last Wednesday of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. On April 27 this year, people are encouraged to wear denim to combat victim blaming and educate others about sexual violence. 

    Visit demindayinfo.org to learn more about the significance of denim and how you can participate in addition to wearing jeans April 27.  

    The Irvine Police Department’s Victim Services unit offers specific resources and support services to victims of sexual assault and violence. Visit their website to be connected to a resource guide and services that can help if you are experiencing sexual abuse.  

    April DEI Events

    Community Safety Meeting

    • The Irvine Police Department (IPD) and South Coast Chinese Cultural Center will host an annual Community Safety Meeting April 23, from 10 a.m. to noon at South Coast Chinese Cultural Center (9 Truman Street, Irvine). This is a collaborative effort between the IPD and the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community. Join as IPD Chief Michael Kent and a number of multi-ethnic police officers and AAPI community leaders discuss concerns about safety in our community and answer questions. 

    Spring Around the World

    • Thank you to all who joined us for Spring Around the World, a celebration of springtime cultural holidays and traditions, April 2 at Great Park! We loved celebrating with residents, community members, family, and friends. The event was a meaningful, inclusive celebration that incorporated the best of Irvine’s diverse heritages offering a wide variety of multicultural food options, interactive and educational spring activities, live performances, and art exhibitions.

               

               View Photos from Spring Around the World

     

    March Celebrations and Recognitions

    Women's History Month

    Women’s History Month began as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28, which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week of March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” 

    Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9, designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”  

    Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, every U.S. president has issued a proclamation designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” 

    This year’s theme for Women’s History Month is "Providing Healing, Promoting Hope." 

    Celebrate Women in History

    • The National Women's History Alliance is a leader in promoting women's history and is committed to the goals of education, empowerment, equality, and inclusion. 
      Read the latest edition of their magazine to learn about important female figures in our nation's history who have provided healing and promoted hope to advance the rights and power of women around the country. 

    Celebrate Locally

    • Join Irvine Valley College (IVC) for a variety of academic and cultural events. These events are open to Irvine Valley College students only.   
      • March On, Women: Discussion on Race, Reproductive Rights and Me Too discussion will be  held via Zoom Friday, March 11 at 11 a.m. Register and learn more
      • American Association for University Women Club: Join the meetings Monday, March 7, 14, 21, and 28 from 2 to 3 p.m. to participate in advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy and education. Learn more
      • "Shes the First" Club: She's the First Club promotes public awareness of insufficient schooling for young girls, stimulate, and develop student interest in the importance of education of girls across the globe.
        Meetings are held this month March 10 and 24 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Learn more
      • Womxn of Color Collective: Womxn of Color Collective is a group dedicated to building community and empowering self-identified womxn of color students, staff, and faculty. Womxn is used in place of ‘Women’ to be inclusive of all gender experiences surrounding femininity. Non-female-identifying IVC students such as non-binary and gender expansive folks are explicitly invited and welcomed. Join the conversation Wednesday, March 16, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Learn more and register for the meeting
    • Celebrate the women making history, as recognized by the University of California, Irvine. Read about powerful women who are shaping our community. Learn more

    Changing the Label

    • Hershey's chocolate bar has released a limited-edition "Celebrate She" bar, which is available in stores across the country. 
      The new look features an eye-catching new label. 

    Mental Health Awareness

    On March 9, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra met with City of Irvine officials about our nation’s mental health crisis, and how to strengthen the mental health and crisis care systems in our communities.

    March Significant Dates & Recognitions

    Irish American Heritage Month & St. Patrick’s Day
    Irish American Heritage Month is celebrated in March to honor the achievements and contributions of Irish immigrants and their descendants living in the United States.

    Additionally, March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day. 
    This day honors St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland and the legacies he left on the country.
     

    Deaf History Month
    National Deaf History Month is recognized and celebrated every year from March 13 to April 15 to recognize the accomplishments of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. The City’s Disability Services team provides support to individuals with disabilities and can provide accommodation services to ensure appropriate and equitable program opportunities and accessible uses. Similarly, during City meetings, assistive listening devices are available to the public upon request.  

    Fat Tuesday & Ash Wednesday: March 1 and March 2
    Ash Wednesday marks the official beginning of Lent, a period of prayer, fasting, and repentance that the Catholic and Christian religions observe, which falls 40 days before the Easter holiday. Fat Tuesday, therefore, is the day before Ash Wednesday, where many indulge in foods and behaviors that they may choose to abstain from during the Lent period.

    Lailat al Miraj: March 1
    Lailat al Miraj is a Muslim holiday that commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s nighttime journey from Mecca to the ‘Farthest Mosque’ in Jerusalem where he ascended to heaven, was purified, and given the instruction for Muslims to pray five times daily.

    Purim: March 16
    Purim is a Jewish holiday which commemorates the salvation of Jewish people in ancient Persia. It is a celebration of unity, family, togetherness, and triumph over adversity.

    Holi: March 18
    Holi is a popular Hindu holiday celebrated largely by the Indian culture. 

    Also known as the “Festival of Colors,” the “Festival of Love” or “Festival of Spring,” the day celebrates the triumph of good over evil and the changing of the seasons from winter to spring.
     

    Mid-Sha’ban: March 18
    This Muslim holiday is a night when people’s fortunes are decided for the coming year, and when sins may be forgiven.

     

    Nowruz: March 20
    The Nowruz festival marks the Persian New Year and is celebrated on the spring equinox. The holiday is recognized and celebrated by honoring the cultures and friendships that make up the Persian community. Those who celebrate count their blessings this day and welcome the grand possibilities for a new year.  

    • Celebrate the Persian New Year with Pretend City Children's Museum. Visit March 23 to explore and celebrate the Persian New Year through activities, art, and story time. Visit pretendcity.org/events/persian-new-year/ for more information. 

    World Down Syndrome Day: March 21
    World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on March 21 to raise awareness of Down syndrome, a genetic chromosome disorder in which a person has an extra 21st chromosome. People with Down syndrome have three copies of the 21st chromosome, making March 21 a fitting day to raise awareness of members of this community. 

    • Rock Your Socks: The Rock Your Socks campaign invites people to wear brightly colored mismatched socks to recognize World Down Syndrome Day. Socks were chosen as a way for all to participate because the set of Down Syndrome chromosomes resembles mismatched socks. City of Irvine staff participated in recognizing this day:
                
    • Autism Night at Pretend City Children's Museum: Visit Pretend City Children's Museum March 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. for Family Autism Night. This evening is an opportunity for neurodivergent children and their families to enjoy the museum in a whole new way – as they will dim the lights and turn off the museum sounds. While you play and build connections, their community partners will be on hand to enrich each family’s play experience with practical support as needed. This event is limited to 250 participants. RSVP and learn more about the event here

    Vietnam War Veterans Day: March 29 
    In 2017, March 29 officially became National Vietnam War Veterans Day. More than 11,000 commemorative partners conduct events in their local communities throughout the year to recognize Vietnam veterans and their families. Learn more about events happening in our area to recognize Vietnam War veterans day by clicking here

    César Chávez Day: March 31
    Cesar Chavez Day honors the life and legacy of the civil rights and labor movement activist who founded the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers of America).

    The day is commemorated through education, celebrations, and service projects.
     

    February Celebrations and Recognitions

    Holocaust Remembrance

    International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945. We remember and honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust and we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to counter antisemitism, racism, and intolerance. 

    We encourage you to take a moment to learn more about the Holocaust. Visit the Holocaust Museum L.A. and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for additional information including stories from Holocaust survivors.

    • UCI Libraries is one of 50 U.S. libraries selected to host the traveling exhibition "Americans and the Holocaust." It will be on display from February 2 to March 9. Details at lib.uci.edu/americans
      • Join Author Deborah Lipstadt Wednesday, February 16 from 12-1 p.m. via Zoom for an Author Talk in coordination with UCI Libraries. Lipstadt will discuss her latest book Antisemitism: Here and Now, a captivating analysis of current political trends that bolster prejudice and hostility towards Jews in today’s world. RSVP for the event

    Lunar New Year

    February 1 is Lunar New Year! Also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, Lunar New Year traditionally lasts for 16 days. The date of the Lunar New Year changes every year, decided by the lunar calendar and based on the cycles of the moon and sun. 

    This year is the Year of the Tiger. People born in the Year of the Tiger are known to be brave, competitive, unpredictable, and confident. 

    Local Events and Celebrations

    • The South Coast Chinese Cultural Center is hosting a Chinese New Year Celebration February 5-6 from noon to 1 p.m. Learn more.
    • Pretend City Children's Museum will also be recognizing Lunar New Year at the museum through bright colors, music, art, and stories. Learn more
    • Pacific Symphony is holding a special concert February 5 at 8 p.m. in honor of Lunar New Year. Learn more
    • Together, the South Coast Chinese Cultural Center and Pacific Symphony are offering the 7th OC Lantern Festival February 26 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to commemorate the end of the Lunar New Year celebration. This family-friendly event will include music, dance, art making, riddles, and food and be held at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Learn more

    Irvine Fine Arts Center Artist Talks

    Join the City of Irvine for a series of upcoming Artist Talks in support of the current exhibitions at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, Mirror and Terrain. Learn about the inspirations, processes, and artist backgrounds that inspired the works on view in the exhibits. 

    Each talk will be held on Zoom, and advanced registration at yourirvine.org is required. Learn more about our winter exhibitions at irvinefinearts.org. Learn more.

    Black History Month

    Tuskegee Airmen

    The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. During World War II, they flew more than 15,000 sorties and their heroic missions earned them distinguished honors.

    On January 16, 2022, General Charles McGee, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, died at the age of 102. Throughout his 30 year military career, McGee flew 409 combat missions in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. He received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.

    Another member of the Tuskegee Airmen, Lt. Col. Robert J. Friend, was an Irvine resident from 1972 until his passing in 2019. In 2012, he shared his experiences as a Tuskegee Airman Red Tail Combat Pilot with ICTV. You can hear him tell his story on the City's YouTube channel.  

    Great Park Gallery Exhibition

    In recognition of Black History Month, visit the Great Park Gallery to view 52nd Street: Jazz and the Photography of William Gottlieb.  

    Manhattan's 52nd Street formed a hub of musical creativity in the years immediately following World War II. It was here where legacies were created giving recognition to musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, and other emerging jazz geniuses of the era.  

    The exhibition will feature photographs and rare documents archiving this pivotal and exciting moment in American culture, captured by photographer and columnist William Gottlieb, and will be accompanied by Jammin’ in the Palm Court, a three-part live jazz series.  

    O.C. Black History Parade and Unity Festival

    Irvine Mayor Farrah N. Khan — along with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee Chair Amil Aaron, local business Rivian Automotive, and Portola Springs High School student and basketball player Makai Brown and his family members — represented the City at the 42nd annual O.C. Black History Parade and Unity Festival in Anaheim. Irvine was proud to see its community members and businesses come together to celebrate National Black History Month at this important local event.

    #WomenWhoPlay Jazz: A Virtual Play Series

    In honor of Black History Month, the Lilly Theatre Company held a virtual original play and live panel discussion about Terri Lyne, a renowned drummer invested in social justice, as part of the #WomenWhoPlay Jazz Virtual Play Series, throughout the month. The Lilly Theatre Company is a nonprofit designed to support the military and student theater and music community, while encouraging diverse representation within the arts. Learn more here.

    Founders Day at Christ Our Redeemer Church

    Christ Our Redeemer Church celebrated Founders Day February 13. This celebration recognizes the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Richard Allen. 

    The theme was "A Reflection of our Past: a Celebration of the African Methodist Episcopal Church." The event featured music and opportunities to learn about the rich history and impact of Richard Allen and the African Methodist Episcopal Church in America. Christ Our Redeemer Episcopal Church is located at 45 Tesla, Irvine. Learn more

    Orange County Fair Board Flies Pan African flag

    The Orange County Fair Board recently voted to adopt a policy to fly the Pan African flag at OC Fair & Events Center each February in recognition of Black History Month. 

    A flag raising ceremony took place February 1. Read the full resolution

    UCI Black Thriving Initiative

    University of California, Irvine (UCI) celebrates Black History Month with many events throughout the month of February. 

    These include:

    • Panel discussions;
    • Performances;
    • Film screenings; and
    • Recognitions at sporting events.

    Please visit UCI's website to view information about each event and to RSVP or purchase tickets. 

    Irvine Valley College Expresso'Self! Event 

    In honor of Black History Month's 2022 theme: Mental Health and Wellness in the Black Community," join Student Equity and Billboard charting spoken word artist Ty Scott King for a thought-provoking poetry event via Zoom. 
    The event will be held Wednesday, February 16 from 2 to 3 p.m. Register here

    January Celebrations and Observances

    Emancipation Proclamation 

    January 1 marks the date President Abraham Lincoln enacted the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free." 

    The Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation due to limitations of the order, which only promised freedom dependent upon United States military victory during the Civil War. It did, however, mark a significant change to the reason behind the war — a war for freedom. 

    You can read more about the Emancipation Proclamation and view images of the document on the National Archives website

    Korean American Day

    Korean American Day on January 13th commemorates the arrival of the first Korean immigrants to the United States in 1903. 

    In 1882, the United States and Korea signed a treaty establishing a peaceful relationship, friendship, and commerce. While this led to Korean diplomats, students, politicians, and businessmen visiting the United States, few felt compelled to stay. It wasn’t until December of 1902, on the SS Gaelic, that 102 Korean immigrants set sail for Honolulu, Hawaii. These families initiated the first wave of Korean immigration, resulting in more than 7,500 immigrants over the next two years. This day honors and celebrates Korean Americans' immense contributions to every aspect of society.

    Makar Sankranti or Maghi

    Like languages, so many religions are practiced in Irvine. In Hinduism, Makar Sankranti, also known as Maghi or Makara Sankranti is an important Hindu religious and harvest festival that celebrates the sun's journey back into the northern hemisphere and is considered a highly positive event.

    Makar Sankranti is marks the first day when the sun is transiting into Capricorn, also known as Makara in Hindi. 

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a holiday in the United States honoring the achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister and civil rights leader who advocated for nonviolent resistance against racial segregation.

    International Holocaust Remembrance Day

    This day is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and honors the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism. 

    U.S. Naturalization Ceremony 

          

    As a City committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are proud to have hosted the U.S. naturalization ceremony Thursday, December 2, at Great Park.

    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalized 30 U.S. citizens from 30 different countries as part of the 30th anniversary of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Asylum Corps. We are honored to have our Great Park chosen as a host location for the momentous occasion.  

    December Celebrations & Observances

    International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3)

    December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and this year's theme is "leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible, and sustainable post-COVID-19 world." The City's Disability Services team provides support to individuals with sensory, physical, or cognitive disabilities, and their family members. Support services include social recreational programming, inclusion and accommodation support, and resources and referrals.

    You can request accommodation services while participating in Irvine classes, activities, and programs by contacting Disability Services at ids@cityofirvine.org or 949-724-6637. Learn more at cityofirvine.org/ds.

    Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (December 7)

    This day is observed annually to remember and honor the 2,403 service members and civilians who were killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. You can watch the City’s Veterans Day Ceremony to learn more and recognize those who served during this time.

    National Human Rights Month (December 10 & Monthlong)

    National Human Rights Month is observed December 10. This day, and the entire month recognizes National Human Rights Month. This month and every month to follow, everyone in the United States is encouraged to come together and stand up for equality, justice, and the dignity of all humans.

    World Arabic Language Day (December 18)

    World Arabic Language Day is celebrated every year December 18. The Arabic language is a pillar of the cultural diversity of humanity. It is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, used daily by more than 400 million people. This year’s World Arabic Language Day theme “Arabic Language, a bridge between civilizations” is a call to reaffirm the important role of the Arabic language in connecting people through culture, science, literature and many more domains.

    Winter Holidays from Around the World (Ongoing)

    Visit the Winter Holidays from Around the World display on the first floor of Irvine City Hall to learn more about the various holidays that are celebrated by the Irvine community during this time of year. Learn about Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Lunar New Year, and Las Posadas. You can read about each holiday and view different materials that are used in local celebrations.

    Native American Heritage Month & Day of the Dead (November)

    Native American Heritage Month

    November is Native American Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of native tribes in Orange County and indigenous people worldwide. Native American Heritage Month is also a good time to learn about tribes and raise awareness about the unique challenges Native Americans have faced, both historically and in the present, as well as the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.

    The original inhabitants of Orange County and the surrounding areas are the Gabrieleño (or Gabrielino) Indians and the Juaneño Indians. The Gabrieleño were given this name by the Spanish, because they were named after the San Gabriel Mission, but they call themselves Tongva. The Juaneño, named by the Spanish after the San Juan Capistrano Mission, call themselves Acjachemen.

    You can learn more about these Native American people at the links below:

    Gabrielino-Tongva Website

    Acjachemen Website

    Local Artifacts

    Portola Springs Community Center, located at 900 Tomato Springs, features a Native American Wing. The area houses cultural and historical artifacts which pay homage to the Native American tribes who once inhabited the Portola Springs area.  

    Just outside the community center, nearby trails are home to native plants like the coastal prickly pear which has been known to be a food and medicine source for Native Americans, as well as a source of needles, containers and water. 

    Visit the Portola Springs Community Center to view the artifacts. The center is open Monday–Friday: 9 a.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m.–10 p.m.; and Sunday: Noon–6 p.m.

    Connect with Nature & Native American History

    Celebrate Native American Heritage Month by exploring the native plants on the Irvine Open Space Preserve. If you take a hike on Bommer Canyon, you'll see acorns from Oak trees and black sage, which Native Americans gathered and ground into meal.
    You may not want to come across Poison Oak on your walk, but the Native Americans did. They used the stem juice from the plant to dye their baskets black.

    Learn more about the Irvine Open Space Preserve and plan a visit today.

    Dia de los Muertos

    Although Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is celebrated widely throughout Latin American countries, its roots trace back to indigenous traditions. Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human cycle of life where, for three days, the dead return and are once again part of the community. Altars and offerings are put out to help awaken the deceased from their sleep and share in the celebration with their families and loved ones. In the state of Guerrero, Mexico, the Tlapaneca People offer their deceased adults mole, tamales, and mezcal as offerings. In Veracruz, Mexico, the Totonac peoples consider the altar a small world: earth is represented by the flowers and vegetation, water is placed under the altar, the sky is made out of tepejilote leaves, and the sun is made with coyol palm leaves.

    Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15)

    National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually from September 15 to October 15 to recognize the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the U.S. 

    Manos, an exhibition at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, features sculptural works by José Flores Nava and paintings by Kiara Aileen Machado that share a proposition that sustenance is both a physical and emotional requisite of daily life. 

    Nava’s works detail fruits and vegetables native to the Americas, and Machado’s delicately rendered paintings of familial figures and fauna from her family’s native El Salvador and Guatemala, converge to hold homage and space to what nourishes them. You can view their work online here, or visit the Irvine Fine Arts Center through December 18 to view the exhibition in person. 

    If you would like to learn more about the artists, read their biographies.

    Manos Artist Biographies