• Cultural Calendar
The Rich, Vibrant Cultural Holiday Celebrations of Nochebuena and Kwanzaa

The winter holiday season is filled with a rich variety of celebrations, from Hanukkah and Christmas, to the Nochebuena celebration of those with Latin roots, to Kwanzaa, for those of African descent.

Celebrating Nochebuena

For Latinx people as well as those in the Philippines, the birth of Christ isn't celebrated on December 25, but on December 24, the night before known as "Nochebuena" (meaning "good night"), when a feast of traditional dishes is served, followed by dancing and celebration, the opening of gifts, and the singing of Christmas carols called Villancicos. Families may also attend a late-night church service or mass known as "La Misa del Gallo," or "The Rooster's Mass." Followed in many cases by still more parties and celebrations!

Observing Kwanzaa

Meanwhile, Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday celebration of life, takes place from December 26 to January 1. Named for the KiSwahili (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania) word meaning "first," Kwanzaa was inspired by the Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits." Taking place over seven nights, on each night of Kwanzaa, families gather, the unity cup is poured with libations honoring the ancestors, and one of the seven candles on the Kinara (a candleholder) is lit.

The candles are reminders of ancestral origins back in 55 African countries, as well as of the seven principles of Nguzo Saba that are intrinsic to African culture -- unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. With the lighting of each candle, each principle is discussed in turn by the family, and gifts are exchanged. On December 31, a feast is shared that frequently includes cuisine from across African countries.

All of these holidays share a common observance of peace, joy and culture. Which do you celebrate?


Deafblind Awareness Week  —  June 23–30

Deafblind Awareness Week is marked each year during the last week of June in honor of Helen Keller’s birthday on June 27, and first commemorated by President Ronald Reagan. Helen overcame the loss of her sight and hearing in early infancy to become a celebrated representative of the deafblind community and its potential during her lifetime. This year, Deafblind Awareness Week will be observed from June 23 to June 30.

Read More about Deafblind Awareness Week  —  June 23–30
Juneteenth (Tukwila)

Juneteenth is an occasion for contemplation and remembrance, as well as a time for joyous celebration. To honor the legacy of Juneteenth, there are a terrific variety of events taking place across Puget Sound, with something for everyone in 2024—celebrations ranging from civic events to musical concerts, fairs and farmer’s markets, museum exhibitions, story readings for children, and more, and we've assembled this useful guide for your convenience!

Read More about Juneteenth Events Across Puget Sound (2024)
The D-Day

On D-Day—June 6, 1944—more than 156,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, in Nazi-occupied France, to take part in the largest and most daring invasion by air, land, and sea in world history.

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Honoring National Higher Education Day

The Higher Education Act was originally signed in 1965 and was federally created to improve U.S. educational institutions’ higher education programs, and to offer financial help to students unable to afford their college fees.

This goal has continued to be a vital one for many, including Izamar Olaguez and Marcie Hronis, who founded National Higher Education Day in 2015. The day has been celebrated ever since on June 6 by students, parents, teachers, and more, as a movement to inspire students to pursue higher education while also working to make college fees accessible for everyone.

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Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride in June

June means it’s time for Pride! Time to proudly support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBTQ+ Pride Month), which takes place in June to commemorate the events of June 1969, when supporters of the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City, rose up to protest police persecution and harassment against LGBTQ people. The uprising marked the beginning of a movement to outlaw laws and practices that discriminated against LGBTQ Americans.

Read More about Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride in June
PSESD Announces Kim Broomer as PSESD Regional Teacher of the Year and Julie Herdt as Classified School Employee of the Year!

Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) is thrilled to announce Kim Broomer from the Northshore School District as its Regional Teacher of the Year, and is also delighted to announce Julie Herdt of Tukwila School District as Classified School Employee of the Year!

Read More about PSESD Announces Kim Broomer as PSESD Regional Teacher of the Year and Julie Herdt as Classified School Employee of the Year!
It's Never Too Late for Financial Aid: Support the Push for FAFSA Completion!

The Washington Student Achievement Council is asking for our support in messaging to high school seniors and their families the importance of completing the FAFSA/WAFSA. 

The only way to qualify for financial aid for college or career training is to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)—or in limited cases, the WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid).

We know how vital and important this message is, so we're sharing the original message from Chris Reykdal, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, below in its entirety. There's still time to apply for financial aid—so check out the information below for further links, opportunities, plus instructions on how to do it.

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Latino Books Month

Promoting books by Latino/a/x authors and illustrators, Latino Books Month was founded by Rhode Island Latino Arts as a valuable opportunity to explore and celebrate Latino literature and to explore bilingual titles. The day encourages booksellers, librarians, and teachers to promote books by and for Latino people while also inspiring readers to explore the beauty of Latinx literature.

Read More about Latino Books Month 2024