October 1 -International Day for the Elderly

October 1 marks the United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Older Persons. Also known as International Day of the Elderly, the event recognizes the contributions of older persons. It is a special day for senior citizens or older persons worldwide. Talking about the history of International Day of Older Persons, in 1982, World Assembly on Ageing had passed Vienna International Plan of Action of Ageing. The plan was endorsed later that year. This initiative was marked as a historical day for elder people. To strengthen the cause, the United Nations General Assembly made October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons in 1990. The day was first observed throughout the world on October 1, 1991.

Additionally, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons in 1991. Second World Assembly on Ageing took place in the year 2002. The occasion marked adoption of “Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages”. According to WHO, the number of older persons is expected to quadruple in the next 50 years. Other data are more staggering in terms of percentage of elderly people in world population in next 50-100 years.

International day for the Elderly is marked with special events, celebration and plenty of activities. Speeches focusing on elder citizens are made. Opinions are generated to improve the situations of older population. Extensive media coverage is provided to the cause of elder generation and what can be done to improve the situation. Campaigns are launched to raise awareness about duties of youths and children for their elders. Voluntary activities focusing on health, education and community service etc are also organized. The World Health Organization (WHO) plays an active role in highlighting health related issues of older people.

May 8- World Red Cross Day

The World Red Cross Day is celebrated every year on May 8. It is an important day in the history of mankind simply because of the role played by Red Cross in saving lives and aiding the defenseless communities around the world. May 8 is also the birthday of the founder of Red Cross, Henri Dunant. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a private institution founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland. Red Cross has contributed significantly to the relief of human distress and misery. In times of war, battles, famine, disease or any other natural calamities, Red Cross has remained at the forefront. It is credited to provide life to millions of people all across the globe.

Every year there is a selection of theme on the World Red Cross Day. The theme emphasizes the goal of the celebration. For instance, theme of this year was “Together for Humanity”. The aim behind choosing this theme was to make people notice the importance of partnerships. If more organizations become partners for helping people that are suffering because of some disasters, it will benefit the entire world. Humanitarian challenges are growing and that demands stronger local and global associations to face the situation.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have the honor of being world’s largest humanitarian network to provide relief. They have presence in more than 170 countries. Red Cross society has always believed in carrying out great works silently. More than 240 million people across the globe are recipient of free assistance provided by dedicated Red Cross workers. Having said that, it is no easy task but Red Cross must be commended for the way they have done their job in an excellent manner. According to data, Red Cross and Red Crescent have total 97 million members and volunteers.

They provide first aid and other possible assistance to the victim on the battlefield. It is truly a remarkable job performed by Red Cross.

January 26 -International Customs Day

International Customs Day (ICD) is celebrated every year by the custom organizations on 26 January. The day is dedicated to the first official meeting of Customs Co-operation Council. Also known as World Customs Organization (WCO), it is the only intergovernmental organization exclusively focused on Customs matters. Established in 1952, WCO is an independent body solely focused on enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of customs administrations all over the world. With over more than 177 custom administration members, WCO is a giant body in the field of customs. According to one estimate, total members of WCO collectively process no less than 98% of world trade. WCO is the true voice of international customs community.

Every year, there is a different theme on International Customs Day. The theme of 2010 was “Customs-Business Partnership”. Because of escalating international security risks, international customs bodies have to play an increasing important role. Global business scenario is adversely affected with security related dangers. The day marked the necessity of customs bodies to tighten the vigil and establish better understanding with business firms. WCO’s competence in customs matters and increasing world trade are closely related. Better Customs-Business Partnership is a win-win situation for both sides.

World Customs Organization plays a vital role in stimulating the growth of legitimate international trade. WCO has taken several crucial steps to combat the increasing menace of fraudulent activities. 26 January highlights the need of promoting an honest, transparent and secure custom environment in the world. The health of international trade is very much dependent on the contributions made by the WCO.

The theme of International Customs Day emphasized the importance of partnership approach. WCO has contributed in several areas including trade supply chain security, development of global customs and business standards, anti-piracy initiatives, simplification of Customs procedures and public-private partnerships. Celebrated by all the members of WCO, International Customs Day is a wonderful reminder of important role played by customs bodies in the world.

March 23 – World Meteorological Day

March 23 is annually celebrated as the United Nations’ (UN) World Meteorological Day. On this very day, World Meteorological Organization (WMO) was established in 1950. World Meteorological Organization has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. There is long history of the International Meteorological Organization. First International Meteorological Congress (IMC) was held in Vienna, Austria, in 1873 and that’s where International Meteorological Organization (IMO) was established. IMO became the World Meteorological Organization on March 23, 1950. WMO is the designated agency of UN for meteorology, operational hydrology and related geophysical science. The primary aim of the organization is to establish meteorological station networks which were linked by telegraph later on. It was a huge step in meteorology as it resulted in improved weather forecasts which further helped in safe and secure international trade as shipping companies could get right weather instructions.

World Meteorological Day is celebrated on March 23 since 1961. Every year, there is a different theme observed on WMO. For instance, last year it was, “Weather, climate and the air we breathe” whereas in 2008, the theme was “Observing our planet for a better future” celebrated by 188 members of the WMO, the day aims to promote global cooperation in the establishment of metrological observation stations. Many different activities and events are organized on this occasion.

Various events like conferences, symposia and exhibitions for meteorological professionals and general public are conducted. Prize ceremony is also organized and awards are given to those who have made notable contribution in this field. Some countries issue special postage stamps to celebrate the day. WMO is a global observance. Campaigns are held to inform public about climatic variability and change, to understand the impact of meteorology on environment and how to address environmental issues. The day aims to bring the focus on meteorology department and how to promote research and training in this field.

August 29 -National Sports Day

August 29 is celebrated as National Sports Day in India. The day marks the commemoration of the great, legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand Singh. Dhyan Chand was born on 29th August 1905 in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. Also known as “Hockey Wizard”, Major Dhyan Chand made India proud by his extraordinary sporting skills. He was a celebrated player who catapulted Indian hockey to new heights. Those who watched him play often reminisce of his extraordinary ability to conjure magic on the hockey field. The international career of Shri Dhyan Chand began in 1926. His goal-scoring feats are stuff of the legends. Many a times, he single-handedly won matches for the nation.

Dhyan Chand was a highly successful Indian hockey team captain. He won 3 Olympic gold medals for the country. Dhyan Chand’s international hockey career was also the golden phase of Indian hockey. His name was enough to make opponents shiver. One of the all time greats in the history of hockey, Major Dhyan chand played till the age of 42 and retired in the year 1948. A recipient of India’s third highest civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan, he was also famous for his exemplary conduct off and on the field. Till the date, he remains the only player in hockey to receive this award.

Dhyan Chand retired from his services in Army at the age of 51. He died of liver cancer on 3rd December, 1979. A postage stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Service in his honor. Indian government also initiated “Dhyan Chand Award” dedicated to the greatest hockey player India has ever produced. This is a lifetime achievement award given to those who have contributed significantly in the field of sports. There is also a stadium in Delhi named after the famous sportsman.

On National Sports Day, the President of India gives National Sports Awards such as Arjuna Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Dhronacharya Award to great players who have done extraordinary feats to make the country proud in the last year. August 29 is celebrated by all the sportsmen. The day is also celebrated as the Annual Sports Day in many schools across the country.

August 9- Quit India Day

India was under the British rule for more than 200 years. It was a period of tumult, sacrifices and persistent struggles. The first official munity of the country took place in 1857 when the great freedom fighter Mangal Pandey refused to obey the orders of cruel British rulers. His disobedience caused a nationwide movement against the British Empire. Though, the movement was ruthlessly suppressed but it initiated what we know as, great Indian freedom struggle for next 100 years. Thousands and lakhs of Indians participated in the freedom struggle. Great many personalities contributed their bit.

Indian freedom movement is like a great mythical saga that witnessed a series of movements all across the country. Among all these movements, Quit India movement was the most decisive one. The movement started on 9th of August 1942. The day marks the anniversary of Quit India movement and is observed every year even after 68 years. Quit India Movement is considered as a turning point in India’s struggle for freedom. Initiated by Father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, the movement urged the Indian masses to raise their voice against brutal rule of British Empire. The English leaders were asked to “Quit India”. It was India’s very own war cry that redefined the freedom struggle.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “We shall either free India or die in the attempt; we shall not live to see the perpetuation of our slavery” and that inspired millions of Indians to come on streets. The Quit India Resolution was adopted by the Congress Working Committee. The day, movement started, almost all the prominent leaders were arrested. The movement was marked by bouts of violence. Railway stations, courts, post offices and police stations were set ablaze by the protestors.

The widespread protests coupled with Britain’s suffering in the Second World War paved the way for India’s freedom. Quit India Day was unquestionably one of the defining moments in the Indian freedom struggle. Every year, 9th August is marked with functions held in schools and colleges where skits, speeches are staged. Political establishment pays tributes to the martyrs of the freedom struggle and entire nation fills with a sense of patriotism.

January 31 -World Leprosy Eradication Day

Raoul Follereau is credited to organize the World Leprosy Day in 1954. He said, “so that people affected by leprosy could be cared for like all others who are ill and so that those in good health could be cured of their absurd and often criminal fear of this disease and those who are affected by it”. Leprosy is a major disease affecting millions of people all over the world. The worst aspect about this disease is that, there is a visible discrimination against the patients. They are deprived of their basic rights. Not just society but also the family members of the people affected by leprosy are accused of discrimination against these innocent souls.

World Leprosy Eradication Day aims to foster respect for the rights and dignity of those who are affected by this disease. Though, much needed to be done to eradicate discrimination against them but the United Nations has initiated several positive steps to counter this global phenomenon. World Health Organization (WHO) has created “Enhanced Global Strategy for Further Reducing the Disease Burden Due to Leprosy 2011-2015”. According to new guidelines, “Constant efforts should be made to ensure that discriminatory, derogatory or undignified references to persons affected by leprosy are avoided altogether”.

A new set of Draft Guidelines and Principles is being finalized by the advisory committee of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The documentation will be submitted in the 15th Session of the Human Rights Council. UN has paid special attention to promotion of equity and equal opportunities for people affected by leprosy. The United Nations is having close consultation with scientists, members of the ILEP and medical experts to completely eradicate this problem. On World Leprosy Eradication Day, fundraising and awareness events are organized in many parts of the world. The day calls upon all the humans to accord dignity and respect to the persons affected with leprosy.

May 11- National Technology Day

India has made several technological breakthroughs in the field of science. One such breakthrough was mastering of nuclear weapons technology. Hardly a handful of countries in the world have mastered nuclear weapons and missile technology. Through the series of controlled tests at Pokharan, India joined an elite group of nations to achieve the feat.

The arrival of Indian technology got a further boost with test flight of the indigenous aircraft Hansa-3 and test firing of indigenously developed Trishul, Agni and Prithvi missile. These technological marvels made the world sit and notice the rapid advancements made by India.
National Technology Day falls on 11th May. The occasion is celebrated all over the India to commemorate technological breakthroughs. All these achievements are significantly diverse in nature and that makes them even more commendable. Before Pokharan, India was not really acknowledged as a force to reckon with in international technology but the nuclear tests completely changed the scenario for the nation.

It is a scientific miracle to develop nuclear power technology and when India managed to do it indigenously, the country had every reason to feel proud of itself. 11th May is the day when India flexed its technological muscle. It is also a sweet reminder of the success of the country in a strategically important area.
Today, India has institutional, strategic, technological and manpower strengths and National Technology Day makes us remember this fact. The day enabled India to make its commanding presence felt in the global arena. Now, India cannot be taken lightly in any sphere of technology.

National Technology Day symbolizes achievements of India in the field of science and technology. India has made rapid strides in every field of technology. Right from agriculture to software, India is a giant force in the world and very few countries can boast of such turnarounds.

December 3 -World Disabled Day

World Disabled Day is observed every year on 3 December. Also known as “International Day of Persons with Disabilities”, the day aims to promote an awareness of disability issues and the fundamental rights of persons with disabilities. It is important to integrate disabled persons in the main stream of society. Disabled persons are often discriminated against and that is never an ideal condition. Society must take adequate steps to involve persons with disabilities in the main stream of each aspect of the social, political, economic and cultural status of their communities.

United Nations has taken several steps to empower disabled persons. It is essential to inculcate confidence in disabled persons in their own abilities to lead self-dependent lives. World Disabled Day provides an opportunity to initialize action to reach the target of full and equal pleasure of human rights and contribution in society by disabled persons. UN General Assembly had launched World Program of Action for Disabled Persons in the year 1982. UN seeks equal rights for all humans irrespective of their religions, caste, economic conditions and physical abilities. Social justice demands identical fundamental human rights to all the persons. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, each person has “the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

Several activities are conducted on World Disabled Day. Campaigns by human rights agencies and voluntary organizations are organized to raise awareness on the theme of right to act. Rallies are conducted to demand the right to select helps on their own free will for the disabled persons. The day seeks measures to assist physically handicapped persons in their own decision making. The year 1981 was proclaimed as “International Year of Disabled Persons”. Several plans were launched with a mission of providing similar opportunities, rehabilitation and prevention of disabilities. These campaigns were launched at national, international and regional levels.

October 4 -World Animal Welfare Day

World Animal Welfare Day is totally dedicated to the animals. The occasion celebrates animal life in all its forms. First started in 1931 at a convention of ecologist in Florence, Italy, the purpose of World Animal Day was to highlight the predicament faced by endangered species. Slowly, the idea grew in scope and later on included all forms of animal life. World Animal Day is celebrated in every corner of the world. October 4 is a significant day as it also marks the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

World Animal Day celebrates relationship between humankind and animal kingdom. Animals play a diverse array of role in our lives. They not just enrich our lives with their support and companionship; they also make us better human beings. It is a historical journey traveled together by humans and animals. The day gives us a reason to be part of something special.

The best part about World Animal day is that it is not restricted to any one nationality, creed, religion, political belief or ideology. This festival is for those who care for animals and also for those who should care for these wonderful creations. Several organizations, animal welfare groups, schools, individuals, charitable trusts and clubs etc participate in Animal day celebration. With every passing year, number of events taking place on this day has increased substantially. The purpose is to ensure our active contributions in saving endangered species and care for all other kinds of animals. The occasion provides us a reason to unite the animal welfare movement all across the globe.

Animal welfare campaigns are launched on World Animal Day. Rescue shelters for the animals are opened in different parts of the world. Fundraising events are also organized. Schools and different group of the wildlife arranges information displays. Voluntary organizations come forward to sponsor shelter to the animals. World Animal day is a wonderful reminder of different ways in which animals enhance our lives.