International Widows' Day

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2024 Date23 June 2024
2025 Date23 June 2025

International Widows' Day

International Widows' Day in

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International Widows' Day History

International Widows' Day is observed annually worldwide with the purpose of raising awareness about the plight of widows, and to create a platform to discuss the challenges that widows face in their lives. The day is aimed at highlighting the discrimination, violence, and poverty that widows experience around the world. International Widows' Day provides an opportunity to governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals to examine the issues faced by widows and to take concrete steps towards improving their conditions.

The International Widows' Day has been celebrated since 2010 and was initiated by the Loomba Foundation in honor of Raj Loomba's mother who became a widowed mother of seven children at the young age of 37. In India, widowhood is considered to be a great misfortune, and many widows suffer from social exclusion, poverty, and ostracization. Many widows in India do not have access to basic human rights, including education and healthcare. International Widows' Day is an important Observance in India because it highlights and addresses the problems that Indian widows face. The day aims to increase awareness of their issues, promote their welfare and recognize their struggles.

International Widows' Day is observed in India by holding seminars, workshops, and other awareness campaigns that are aimed at promoting the rights and welfare of widows. Many non-governmental organizations and women's rights groups in India increase their advocacy efforts during this day to raise awareness and promote action on the issues widows face. In India, International Widows' Day is celebrated annually on June 23 and is an important day for promoting the well-being and rights of widows.

Facts about International Widows' Day

  • In some countries, widows are forced to take part in rituals, such as drinking the water used to wash the body of their dead husband or have sex with an in-law or stranger.
  • Women are more likely to be widowed than men for two reasons:
    1) Women live longer than men;
    2) Women tend to marry older men.
  • According to a study by the Loomba Foundation, approximately 90% of India's widows live in poverty.
  • In the past, the practice of Sati was prevalent in certain communities in India, where widows would immolate themselves on their husband's funeral pyre. The British colonial government banned Sati in 1829.

Top things to do in India for International Widows' Day

  • Donate or volunteer for Widows and Orphans International. All funds that are donated are used to help support widows in need. There are lots of volunteer opportunities in countries such as Kenya that allow volunteers to help widows and orphans get their lives back on track.
  • Use the hashtags #InternationalWidowsDay, #IWD and #WidowsDay on social media to help spread awareness of the holiday.
  • Watch an Indian film about widowhood. Here are some suggestions:
    1. White Rainbow (2005) - An English language film that tells the story of four women who decide to break free from the societal constraints placed on widows in India.
    2. Sati: A Short Film by Deepa Mehta (2011) - A documentary about the controversial widow-burning practice of Sati and its impact on Indian society.
    3. The Invisible (2010) - A short film directed by Brian Quist about the lives of widows in Vrindavan and the challenges they face.
  • Read a book to learn more about the experience of widowhood in India. Here are some suggestions:
    1. Widows of Vrindavan: A Study of Contemporary India by K. R. Nayar
    2. Understanding the cultural meanings of widowhood and widow exploitation in Rajasthan by J Bradshaw and A M Reingold
    3. Widows and Destitute Women in Civil Society in India: A Case Study of Jharkhand by Rashmi Pramanik
    4. Visible Histories, Disappearing Women: Producing Muslim Womanhood in Late Colonial Bengal by Mahua Sarkar

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