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Welcome to October

Posted on September 20, 2022

October marks the beginning of the final quarter of the year. While obviously best known for concluding with Halloween festivities, there are many other important days of recognition and celebration. They include:

October 4 -Yom Kippur. In the Jewish faith Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is known as the holiest day of the Jewish year.

October 9 – Leif Eriksson Day. Eriksson was an explorer attributed as a son of Iceland and grandson of Norway. The day is to celebrate Nordic-American heritage. it was designated by the Congress in 1964.

October 10 – Columbus Day. It is a federal holiday celebrated on the second Monday in October. While it is a federal holiday, not every state in the country recognizes it, although Massachusetts does. The day commemorates October 12, 1492, the date when Christopher Columbus landed in the New World. The holiday was first proclaimed in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Massachusetts has specific rules regarding the operation of businesses on Columbus Day. Any business seeking to open before noon must get permission from the local chief of police. Any retail business operating that day must pay employees premium pay of 1.1 times their regular hourly rate.

October 10 – Indigenous People’s Day. In response to the negative cultural and political implications of Columbus Day’s celebration of European conquest of what is now the United States various states and municipalities across the country now recognize “Columbus Day” as Indigenous People’s Day.

October 31 – Halloween. Halloween is actually a 2,000-year-old celebration of the Celtic New Year (called Samhain) and the end of summer when bonfires were lit and revelers would wear costumes to ward off evil spirits. The Celts lived 2,000 years ago, mostly in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, and celebrated their new year on November 1st.

This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints. Soon, All Saints’ Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve, and later Halloween.

Apparently one quarter of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween.

For some employees who identify as Wiccan, Halloween may represent their religious day of observation. Wiccan is a modern pagan based religion. So, it is possible that a Wiccan employee may seek a religious accommodation for Halloween. A quick reminder that under Massachusetts law any employee seeking time off from work for religious accommodation must requested time off at least 10 days in advance. Please see this link for more details about the law. Look specifically at section 4, 1A.

October is also “National Energy Awareness Month”. This was initially proclaimed in 1991 by President Bush. The goal of the month is to encourage government and organizations to raise awareness of the importance of sustainably managing the nation’s energy resources.

See you in November.