May is…

May has a lot of observances and awareness connections.  I decided to write about some of them.  There are of course many other observances during May, so here is the list from Wiki if you want to explore more.  I am by no means an expert on any of these, so please research more on your own if you find yourself interested.

Awareness Month

May is set aside for the awareness of several diseases and causes.

Celiac Disease

Celiac (or Coeliac) disease is a autoimmune disease where the small intestine can not properly digest gluten.  It causes damage to the lining of villi, which help digest nutrients.  It can range from discomfort to great pain and other health problems.  This disease is probably getting more known due to gluten-free diet trends.  Gluten can be found in wheat, Rye and Barley.  It is a genetic disorder as well, so it runs in families.

More information:

Celiac.Org

Beyond Celiac.Org

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis is a serious genetic disorder that effects the major organs, particularly the lungs.  It is caused by a recessive gene mutation, which causes secretions like sweat, digestive fluids and particularly mucus to become thicker.  There is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis, just treatments to treat the symptoms.

More information

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Cystic Fibrosis – Mayo Clinic

Cystic Fibrosis (Wiki)

Mental Health Awareness Month

Awareness of Mental Heath issues is very important.  Misinformation, ignorance of treatment and other factors have led to people not getting the treatment they need, or choosing to refuse treatment because they don’t’ want to be treated poorly for having a mental health issue.  While societal views on mental illness have improved over the last few decades,we have far to go till its treated like any physical illness.

More information

Mental Health America.Net 

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Month Observances

National Pet Month  (US)

National Pet Month is basically a month to recognize the benefits that pets bring to our lives.  It is observed in April in the UK and in May in the US.  It also promotes pet adoption, and animal health.

National Pet Month.Org (UK)

Flores de Mayo

Flores de Mayo is a month long celebration in the Philippines.  It has its roots in Catholic devotions to Mary including daily offering of flowers.  On the last day of the month a pageant is held called the Santacruzan which honors events in Catholic history.  In particular, it celebrates the finding of the true cross by St. Helena.  Young women search for a hidden cross after attending a mass and the one who finds it is designated as Reyna Elena (St. Helena).

Flores de Mayo (Wiki)

Flores de Mayo & Santacruzan – Catholics & Cultures

Single Day/Week Observances

Cinco de Mayo (May 5)

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican-American holiday.  In Mexico, it is a day of observance on a a military victory over French Occupation.  It is usually observed with military parades.  In the United States however it has become a day to celebrate Mexican-AMerican culture.  There is debate on the ethical points of Cinco de Mayo in the United States, however, due to the fact that it was originally a Mexican holiday and the US celebration has nothing to do with the original Mexican.  Also it has a tendency to promote stereotypes and racial issues.

International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Day (May 12)

Chronic Fatigue affects many people, though many go undiagnosed.  Sometimes it is a side effect of another illness, but it can be an issue on its own.  It is often hard to diagnose as there is no blood or lab test that can detect it.  Awareness and research can bring more answers to the cause of Chronic Fatigue

CDC- Chronic Fatigue Awareness Day

Mother’s Day  (May 14 in US)

There are several countries that celebrate Mother’s Day, and its on several different days of the month.  However, since I live in the US I choose to note the date that the US is celebrating.  I’ll be posting a separate post about this one when the day arrives.

Endangered Species  Day (May 19)

Endangered Species day is a day to recognize the efforts that are out there to protect the wildlife on our planet.  Many species have been lost in the last few decades alone, and there are many organizations out there trying to prevent more species from going from endangered to extinct.

US National Fish and Wildlife Service

Ramadan (May 26-June 25)

Ramadan is a religious observance by Muslims, and this year will start May 26/27.   I am by far no expert on Islamic traditions, so I do recommend googling Ramadan and finding out more on your own.  Ramadan is a religious rite that occurs for a month.  It involves daily fasting and focusing on the Quran, their holy book.

Ramadan (wiki)

BBC Religions: Ramadan

January is the Month of…

I wondered what many things January was the month of.  There are all kinds of unoffical (and some official) holidays during the year that we don’t recognize on the average calender.

According to National Day Calender,  January is the month of:

National Bath Safety Month
National Black Diamond Month
National Blood Donor Month
National Braille Literacy Month
National Hobby Month
National Hot Tea Month
National Mentoring Month
National Oatmeal Month
National Slow Cooking Month
National Soup Month
National Sunday Supper Month

Interesting amount of things that share the same month.  Now some of these are just fun things to celebrate, like National Soup Month, or Oatmeal Month.  But some of these things are things we should take a closer look at.

National Blood Donor Month 

National Blood Donor Month is a way of celebrating people who take the time to donate their blood to the blood banks.  Giving Blood is a good way to help out your community in time of trouble.  Blood is a perishable item, so banks are often in need of pretty much any blood type.  Not only could you be helping someone else, but in the tragic event something happens to you and you need blood, the more people who donate mean more likely a chance that your blood type will be on stock and be able to be given immediately.

For more information see the Red Cross’ page on NBDM

National Braille Literacy Month

Braille is a language of raised dots that allow someone to feel their way through writing.  I knew quite a few of my classmates in college were taking a course on reading and writing in braille.  Braille is named after Louis Braille, a blind man who developed the system.  He was born in January, so there is a good reason for this month to be about Braille.

For more information, see the Carroll Center for the Blind’s page on NBLM

National Mentoring Month

I actually was part of a mentoring program during my senior year at college.  It didn’t turn out well for me, mostly because I have social anxiety issues and my mentee wasn’t in need of all that mentoring.

However, I found that I would have enjoyed having someone to help me out when I first got there.  Learning how to navigate campus, learning where to go to get information I needed for signing up for classes, or IT help etc.

National Mentoring Month covers more then just helping a freshmen being able to find the food court.  Check out the National Mentoring Month webpage for more information about mentoring.