Legal Leaders for Diversity and Inclusion – January, 2018

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Well, better late than never in wishing you the best for 2018!

We welcome our newest member, Kathleen A. Howie, Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, The Co-operators Group Limited.

Starting the New Year, you might be thinking about one action you can take to advance diversity and inclusion.  Though there are many, one simple and inexpensive act would be to offer up a position to a senior high school student who participate in LAWS (Law in Action Within Schools).

In 2017 LAWS placed 114 student with 74 employers.  By adding to those of us who for many years have taken on a LAWS student, the LLD could significantly increase the number of students who are given the opportunity to spend 4 weeks in a corporate environment.  It is a win/win:  students gain experience and employers get talented students to help with a variety of projects we have been putting off!

If you are in the GTA, please contact Sarah Pole (Sarah Pole, and if you are outside the GTA, see what you can do to provide an opportunity to a student who would not otherwise get such a chance.

Religious and Cultural observances

  • January 1 – St. Basil’s Day (Greece) The Greeks call New Year, St. Basil’s Day. Traditionally, gifts are exchanged.
  • January 1 – Gantan-Sai (Japan, Shinto) Gantan-sai, also referred to as Shogatu, is the Shinto New Year holiday. The faithful visit shrines, often at midnight, praying for renewal of heart, health, and prosperity. During the seven-day holiday, people wear their best clothing and visit the homes of friends and family to express their wishes for the coming year.
  • January 1 – New Year’s Day (International) New Year’s Day marks the start of a new year according to the Gregorian calendar. Pope Gregory XIII introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1582. It was adopted immediately in some areas of Europe but it was not used in various countries until centuries later. For example, the United Kingdom and the United States started observing the Gregorian calendar in 1752, in which 11 days were dropped. It is important to note that not all cultures follow the Gregorian calendar in observing New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. For example the New Year in the Hindu, Chinese, Coptic, Jewish, Islamic calendars differ to that of the Gregorian calendar.
  • January 8 – Seigin No Hi (Japan) This national holiday celebrates Coming-of-Age of the youth of Japan who are twenty years old. They wear traditional clothes and visit the shrines where the family announce their adulthood to the spirits.
  • January 14- Pongal (India) A three-day rice harvest festival in South India is celebrated with a cultural evening of song and dance.
  • January 15 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (USA) This day commemorates the leader of the American Civil Rights movement. People of all races and religions have benefited from the sacrifices and accomplishments made by this great man. He was a Nobel Prize winner (Peace Prize 1964) and a prominent advocate of nonviolent protest. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
  • January 25 – Tu B’Shevat (Arbor Day) (Jewish) . This day celebrates Judaism’s roots in the Natural world. It is a holiday and known as the New Year for Trees. Special meals include eating the seven fruits of the land – wheat, barley, figs, grapes, pomegranates, olives and dates. Trees are also planted.

Other dates of note

Date Event
January 1 Independence Day (Sudan, Haiti)
January 1 Gantan-Sai (Shinto)
January 2 Berchtold’s Day (Switzerland)
January 4 Independence Day (Myanmar)
January 5 Guru Gobind Singh’s Birthday (Sikh)
January 6 Christmas (Armenia Christian)
January 6 Three Kings’ Day (Christian)
January 6 Epiphany (Christian)
January 7 Christmas (Christian – Coptic & Eastern Orthodox)
January 8 Seigin No Hi (Japan)
January 11 National Foundation Day (Japan)
January 13 St. Knut’s Day (Finland, Sweden)
January 13 Lohri (Hindu, Sikh)
January 14 New Year – Eastern Orthodox (Christian – Coptic & Eastern Orthodox)
January 14 Makar Sankranti (India, Hindu)
January 15 Martin Luther King Jr. Day (USA)
January 19 Timkat/Theophany (Christian – Coptic & Eastern Orthodox)
January 19 Sultán (17th Month) (Bahá’i)
January 20 Martyrs’ Memorial Day (Azerbaijan)
January 21 Anniversary Day (New Zealand)
January 22 Basant Panchami (Hindu)
January 25 Robert Burns’ Day (Scotland, Ireland)
January 26 Republic Day (Australia)
January 26 Republic Day (India)
January 30 Greek Education Day (Greece)
January 30 Sadeh (Zoroastrian)
January 31 Thaipoosam Cavadee (India, Mauritius)
Skip to content