Awareness Days, Months, and Colours

While you may find yourself flooded with messages about various periods of awareness, these do represent good opportunities to bring attention to an issue. Although times and colours may vary by region, here are some notable dates, months, and colours of awareness with a Canadian focus. If we are missing any, please get in touch with our Editor Spencer van Vloten.

Also see these tips on how you can most effectively raise awareness and turn it into action!

 

Dates of awareness

  • 2nd Monday in February International Epilepsy Day

  • 2nd Sunday in February Autism Sunday

  • Last day in February Rare Disease Day

  • March 20th World Head Injury Day

  • March 21st World Down Syndrome Day

  • March 26th International Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness

  • April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day

  • April 11th World Parkinson's Day

  • 3rd Thursday of May Global Accessibility Awareness Day

  • May 12th International Fibromyalgia Day 

  • May 14th Apraxia Awareness Day

  • May 26th-June 1st Canadian AccessAbility Week 

  • May 30th World Multiple Sclerosis Day 

  • June 13th World Albinism Day

  • June 21st World ALS Day

  • September 5th Spinal Cord Injury Day

  • September 7th World Duchenne Awareness Day

  • September 8th World Cystic Fibrosis Day

  • September 9th International Cerebral Palsy Day

  • September 9th International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day

  • September 19th Aortic Disease Awareness Day

  • September 21st World Alzheimer's Day

  • September 23rd International Day of Sign Languages

  • September 25th International Ataxia Awareness Day

  • Last week of September International Week of the Deaf

  • October National Disability Employment Month

  • October 6th World Cerebral Palsy Day

  • 2nd Thursday of October World Sight Day

  • October 12th World Mental Health Day

  • October 12th World Arthritis Day

  • October 25th World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day

  • November Indigenous Disability Awareness Month

  • November 1st-7th Canadian Down Syndrome Week

  • December 3rd International Day of Disabled Persons

Colours and months of awareness

ALS

Colours Purple

Months June and August

June is ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Awareness Month, while ALS Canada's August campaign, “Every August Until a Cure” sees massive increases in awareness and fundraising as Canadians across the country participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The official colour for ALS Canada is purple.

Alzheimer's

Colour Purple and Blue

Months January and September

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, with September 21st being World Alzheimer’s Day. In Canada, we also recognize January as Alzheimer Awareness Month, which focuses particularly on caregivers and countering stigma against people living with dementia. As for colour, in Canada, blue is the primary colour of the Alzheimer Society, but purple had been widely adopted in Alzheimer movements

Anxiety

Colour Teal

Months May and October

There may not be a month specifically recognizing anxiety, but in Canada there is a Mental Health Week early in May, and Mental Illness Awareness Week early in October. In the US, the entire month of May is dedicated to mental health, and one of the weeks is focused on depression and anxiety. For colours, Teal has been designated to represent anxiety disorders. 

Apraxia

Colour Blue (especially light blue)

Month May

May is usually Apraxia Awareness Month, with May 14 being the day most cities and areas issue their proclamations recognizing Apraxia Awareness Day. Generally, the color is blue of any sort, usually a light blue.

Arthritis 

Colour Blue

Months May and September

In Canada, Arthritis Awareness Month is September, while it has been during May in the United States.

Autism

Colours Blue, Gold, and Rainbow

Month April

April is Autism awareness month. There are a few different colours used to represent autism. Advocacy groups with different perspectives have chosen different colours. Here is a blog post about the different colours and symbols used to represent autism. Blue is the traditional autism awareness colour, but many autistic advocates now prefer gold or rainbow. 

 Cerebral Palsy  

Colour Green

Month October

October is the month of recognition and awareness for cerebral palsy, with Oct. 6th being World CP Day. The colour of awareness is green.

Down Syndrome

Colours Yellow and Blue

Months March, October, November

March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day. This day was picked to resemble the 21st chromosome dividing into 3 parts causing Down syndrome, instead of the two that most individuals have. Nov 1 to the 7th is National Down Syndrome Awareness Week. It is aimed at celebrating the great efforts of Canadians in our incredible community. The USA celebrates in October.

Down syndrome colors are yellow and blue. Yellow is the colour of sunshine, hope, and happiness, while blue represents both the sky and the sea, and is associated with open spaces, freedom,intuition, and trust.

Epilepsy

Colour Purple

Month March

The colour that is associated with epilepsy awareness is purple, as reflected in International Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness, which is held on March 26th of every year. The BC Epilepsy Society also celebrate their "March is Purple Month!" campaign each March. 

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Month September

International FASD Day is September 9, and September is being promoted as FASD month. Although there is no broadly agreed upon colour of awareness, a white looped and knotted cord (pictured below) has been used as a symbol. The FASD cord symbolizes a loving community that works together to help eliminate FASD.

Hydrocephalus 

Colours Blue and Green

Month September

Blue is the most commonly used as an awareness colour globally, but Canada's Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association uses green to recognize both conditions, with September being the month of awareness for Hydrocephalus. You can learn more about it on the Hydrocephalus Association's Hydrocephalus Awareness Month page.

Muscular Dystrophy

Colour Green and Red

Month September

Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Month is September in Canada, and the color most frequently associated with muscular dystrophy are green and red (a colour commonly used by Muscular Dystrophy Canada).

Parkinson's

Colours Blue and Purple

Month April

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month, and Parkinson Society BC uses blue and purple for promotion during April--two colours which have been used together by other organizations as well.

Prader-Willi Syndrome

Colour Orange

Month May

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a genetic condition that results in developmental delay. If you are interested in doing a fundraiser, recognition piece, or any other act of awareness for PWS, I recommend getting in touch with the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research Canada to see if they can lend their support.

Spina Bifida

Colours Green, Teal, and Yellow

Month June and October

June has been used as Spina Bifida Awareness Month in Canada, with green being the colour of awareness. In the US, October is awareness month and yellow is commonly used as a colour of awareness, while teal is the color that the Spina Bifida Association uses throughout the year.

Advocacy and Awareness Main Page​​