November is officially here, and all of the feast planning (and everything else that goes with the Thanksgiving holiday) tend to take center stage for the month. That being said, before the majority of the frenzy begins, as a nation, we remember and celebrate Veterans Day to honor the military veterans. And of course, after Thanksgiving, many like to celebrate Black Friday with a day of shopping for all of the deals. However, did you know that out of all the days in November, there are more than triple that amount of celebratory observances to think about? We’ve got a huge list of all of the November holidays and observances in 2023!
Some of these other holidays are honoring an occupation or group of people. For instance, All Saints Day is celebrated to honor all of the saints of the church. Other observances are for disease awareness, such as Diabetic Eye Disease Month. And many of the rest are more offbeat and random like National Mason Jar Day or National Cook For Your Pets Day.
Besides the daily observances, there are also some observances that are celebrated either for a full week or an entire month. For instance, the National Hunger And Homeless Awareness Week occurs the entire week before Thanksgiving—the perfect timing to help us gain perspective and give back.
Who Comes Up With National Days and Observances?
While some holidays hold historic significance or are religious (some are both), there are so many random national days each year that you have to wonder who comes up with these and who is ultimately in charge of the list? If you love waffles and peanut butter, can you just call it out as a national day?
It is in fact almost as easy as that! A company or person can declare a day and it can take off on social media. However, there are sometimes more official ways to go about getting a national day approved, which is how they end up a universal thing on sites like National Day Calendar.
Some of the National Days for November may excite you—like National Donut Day or National Candy Day. Those are easy to celebrate. But others, like the National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, may pass by without a second thought. Whoever came up with that one must have needed a reminder to do it in a big way!
Are There Any Religious Holidays in November?
In 2023, the month of November has a couple of religious holidays. Starting right at the top of the month is All Saints Day. This starts on November 1 and is a Catholic holiday meant to honor holy men and women canonized as saints within the Church.
Also falling on Nov. 1, but starting the night before on Halloween (Oct. 31), is the pagan religious festival of Samhain. It’s a pagan or Wiccan festival that has roots in the Celtic tradition and it marks the end of harvest season. It is the opposite of Beltane, Gaelic May Day. Samhain is all about ringing in “the dark half of the year,” aka winter.
Then there’s the religious Hindu holiday called Diwali. Since the dates of Diwali—known as the Festival of Lights—are based on the Hindu lunar calendar, they change from year to year. But in 2023, Diwali begins on November 12. India’s biggest and most important holiday of the year, the Festival of Lights is a celebration of the victory of good over evil and light over darkness and marks the beginning of the new year for some Hindu groups. During Diwali, Indians light clay lamps outside of their homes, symbolizing the inner light that protects their dwellings from the darkness. The five-day holiday is as important in the Hindu religion as Christmas is in Christianity. And much like Christmas, Indians celebrate with prayer, feasts, and family gatherings.