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Religious Holidays

The provided calendar includes most major religious holidays, but it is not comprehensive. Please note that different cultures and traditions use different calendars and start the day at different times. Observance of Jewish and Muslim holidays begins at sundown. Also, the dates and lengths of certain holidays and festivals can vary in different regions and communities. Many Muslim holidays begin with an actual sighting of the new moon, and the provided dates are therefore approximations.  

Please note that reasonable accommodation for religious holidays varies, depending on the length and nature of the observance and the academic requirements of the course. A reasonable accommodation is not necessarily a fully excused absence, especially for holidays that occur over several days or weeks. Students are encouraged to anticipate their religious/spiritual needs early in the semester, and at least two weeks before the observance.

Visit Religious Observance Accommodations for information on how to request accommodation.

Please contact the Office of Spirituality and Meaning-Making if you have any questions or notice an issue with the calendar.

Annual Religious Holidays

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2023-2024 Religious Holidays

August 2023

  • 8/1 — Lughnasadh. Pagan/Earth-centered Spirituality. Festival that celebrates the beginning of the harvest season.
  • 8/6 — Transfiguration. Christian - Catholic, Orthodox. Celebrates an event described in the New Testament, when Jesus is transfigured and becomes radiant in glory.
  • 8/15 — Assumption of Mary/Dormition of the Theotokos. Christian - Catholic, Orthodox. Commemorates the belief that when Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, died, her body was "assumed" into heaven to be reunited with her soul.
  • 8/27-28 — Ashura. Islam. In Shia Islam: Commemorates the martyrdom of Husain, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. In Sunni Islam: A time to remember two of Allah’s merciful acts: Noah’s safe landing after the Flood and the Israelites’ liberation from Egypt under Moses. Observed beginning at sunset 8/27.

September 2023

  • 9/1 — First Parkash. Sikh. Commemorates the installation of the Adi Granth (the first edition of the Sikh scriptures) at Harmandir Sahib by the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, in 1604 C.E. Observed on the fifteenth day of the sixth month of the Punjabi calendar.
  • 9/6-7 — Krishna Janmashtami. Hindu. This festival celebrates the birth of Krishna.
  • 9/11 — Paryushan-parva. Jain. The holiest period of the year for the Shvetambara sect. It includes fasting, worship, and reading the life story of Lord Mahavira from the Kalpasutra. It is celebrated over eight days ending on Samvatsari.
  • 9/14 — Nativity of the Theotokos. Christian - Orthodox. Celebrates the birth date of Mary, mother of Jesus.
  • 9/15-17 — Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year. Jewish. The first of the High Holy days or Days of Awe. It is a time of prayer, reflection, and services. Begins at sundown 9/15 and ends at sundown 9/17.
  • 9/19 — Samvatsari. Jain. The Day of Forgiveness, the last day of Paryushan-parva. It is observed by fasting, introspection, confession, and penance.
  • 9/23 — Mabon (Autumn Equinox). Pagan/Earth-centered Spirituality. Celebration of the second harvest, when day and night are equal, marking a balance between light and dark.
  • 9/24-25 — Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement. Jewish. The most solemn and holy day of the year, observed with fasting and prayer. Begins at sundown 9/24.
  • 9/26-27 — Mawlid al-Nabi. Sunni Islam. Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), c. 570 C.E. Begins at sundown 9/26.
  • 9/29-10/6 — Sukkot. Jewish. Commemorates the period in which the children of Israel wandered in the desert. People live and eat in temporary dwellings during the festival. Begins at sundown 9/29 and ends at sundown 10/6.

October 2023

  • 10/6-7 — Shemini Atzeret. Jewish. Eighth and last day of Sukkot. Begins at sundown 10/6.
  • 10/7-8 — Simchat Torah. Jewish. Joyous festival in which the reading of the Torah is completed and its first book begun again. Symbolized by singing, dancing, and marching around the Synagogue with Torah scrolls. Begins at sundown 10/7.
  • 10/16 — Birth of the Bab. Baha’i. Anniversary of the birth of one of the twin prophet founders of the Baha’i faith.
  • 10/17 — Birth of the Baha’u’llah. Baha’i. Celebrates the birth of the Baha’i Messenger of God. The day includes prayers, a feast, and music.
  • 10/20 — Installation of Scriptures of Guru Granth Sahib. Sikh. Commemorates the installation of the Sikh scriptures by Guru Gobind Singh; these scriptures were installed as the perpetual guru. 
  • 10/22-30 — Navaratri. Hindu. Festival of the divine mother which honors Durga, wife of Shiva, seeking her blessings. Also observed as a celebration recalling the days of Lord Krishna.
  • 10/31-11/1 — Samhain. Pagan/Earth-centered Spirituality. Samhain marks the beginning of the Pagan year; a time to search for wisdom and guidance and to honor the dead. Begins at sundown 10/31.

November 2023

  • 11/1 — All Saints Day. Christian - Catholic, Protestant. Celebrates all believers, known and unknown, alive and dead.
  • 11/1-2 — Dia De Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Christian - Catholic (Mexico). A celebratory holiday to remember the dead and to reunite the living and the dead.
  • 11/12 — Bandi Chhor Divas. Sikh. Commemorates the return of Guru Hargobind Ji, the sixth Guru, to the holy city of Amritsar after negotiating the release of himself and 52 princes held for political reasons. This festival falls on the same day as Diwali.
  • 11/12 — Diwali. Hindu, also Jain, Sikh. Festival of Lights celebrating the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Diwali is often celebrated over multiple days.
  • 11/21 — Presentation of the Theotokos. Christian - Orthodox. Feast that commemorates when, as a young child, the Virgin Mary entered the Temple in Jerusalem.
  • 11/24 — Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji. Sikh (1621-1675 C.E.). The ninth of the Ten Gurus, he is remembered for his defense of the Sikh faith and for giving up his life for religious liberty of all faiths.
  • 11/27 — Parkash Guru Nanak. Sikh. A Punjabi festival commemorating Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s birthday, the first of the Ten Gurus, in 1469 C.E. 
  • 11/27-28 — Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. Baha’i. Marks the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in 1921. Begins at sundown 11/27.

December 2023

  • 12/7-15 — Chanukah/Hanukkah. Jewish. Commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C.E. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Chanukah is celebrated for eight days to mark the eight days the oil burned. Begins at sundown 12/7 and ends at sundown 12/15.
  • 12/8 — Rohatsu (Bodhi Day/Awakening). Buddhist. Celebration of the enlightenment of the Buddha. A candle is lit every evening for thirty days, symbolic of enlightenment.
  • 12/8 — Immaculate Conception of Mary. Christian - Catholic. Celebrates the conception of the Virgin Mary without any stain of original sin. 
  • 12/21-22 — Yule (Winter Solstice). Pagan/Earth-centered Spirituality. Yule is the time of greatest darkness and the longest night of the year. This time is celebrated as the “return of the Sun God” where He is reborn of the Goddess. Begins at sundown 12/21.
  • 12/25 — Christmas. Christian - Western. Celebration of the nativity of Jesus Christ. Both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. Christmas is preceded by 40 days of spiritual preparation called Advent.
  • 12/26 — Death of Prophet Zarathustra. Zoroastrian. Commemorates the founder of the Zoroastrian faith who lived somewhere between 6000-2000 B.C.E.
  • 12/26-1/1 — Kwanzaa. African American. Weeklong celebration honoring African heritage in African-American culture, values, and traditions. Kwanzaa in Swahili means “first fruits of the harvest.”

January 2024

  • 1/1 — The Solemnity of Mary. Christian - Catholic. Liturgical feast of Mary.
  • 1/6 — Epiphany (Western) / Theophany (Orthodox). Christian. Commemorates the revelation of God through Jesus Christ and marks the time the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem and presented gifts to baby Jesus.
  • 1/8 — Feast of the Nativity. Christian - Orthodox. Celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • 1/17 — Guru Gobind Singh birthday. Sikh. Celebrates the tenth and last human Sikh Guru.
  • 1/24-25 — Tu B’Shevat. Jewish. “The New Year of Trees” is traditionally the first of the year for tithing fruit of trees. Nowadays, it is a day for environmental awareness and action such as tree planting. Begins at sundown 1/24.
  • 1/25 — Mahayana New Year (Vesak). Buddhist. Commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and passing of the Buddha.

February 2024

  • 2/1-2 — Imbolc. Pagan/Earth-centered Spirituality. The second of four great fire festivals, Imbolc recognizes a time of awakening, promise, and hope for the spring. Begins at sundown 2/1.
  • 2/6-7 — Laylat al-Mi’raj. Islam. Observance of Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascension to heaven. Begins at sundown 2/6.
  • 2/10 — Lunar New Year. Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian. Begins a fifteen day festival for many East and Southeast Asian cultures and religions.
  • 2/14 — Ash Wednesday. Christian – Western. Marks the first day of the season of Lent, 40 days of preparation for Easter. Many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, moderation, and spiritual discipline, and wear a cross symbol in ashes on their foreheads. 
  • 2/14 — Saint Valentine’s Day. Christian. Valentine’s Day is an often secular celebration of love.
  • 2/14 — Vasant Panchami. Hindu. Celebration dedicated to Saraswati, goddess of learning.
  • 2/15 — Nirvana Day. Buddhist. A regional observation of the death of the Buddha.
  • 2/24 — Maghi. Sikh. Commemorates the battle in which 40 Sikhs (the Immortal Ones) laid down their lives for the Guru (Guru Gobind Singh).
  • 2/24 — Magha Puja (Sangha) Day. Buddhist. Celebration of the presentation of teaching by Lord Buddha to an assembly of holy men.
  • 2/24-25 — Laylat al Bara’ah. Islam. “Night of Forgiveness” when Allah writes the destiny of men and women for the coming year. Many Muslims stay awake the entire night in prayer and worship. Begins at sundown 2/24.

March 2024

  • 3/8 — Maha Shivaratri. Hindu. Festival in honor of Lord Shiva and his marriage to Goddess Parvati.
  • 3/10-4/9 — Ramadan. Islam. The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, devoted to fasting from first light to sunset. Many Muslims also perform additional daily prayers during this month. This is the holiest period of the Islamic Year, when the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) reception of the divine revelation, the Qur’an, is commemorated. Begins at sundown 3/10 or when the new moon is sighted.
  • 3/18 — Clean Monday. Christian - Orthodox. The first day of Great Lent for Eastern Christianity. Begins a 40-day period of preparation and repentance before Holy Week and Pascha (Easter). 
  • 3/19 — Ostara (Spring Equinox). Pagan/Earth-centered Spirituality. Celebration of new life; a time of renewal and rebirth. The equinox is when day and night are equal, marking a balance between light and dark.
  • 3/19-20 — Naw Ruz (New Year). Baha’i. Marks the arrival of spring as a victory over darkness. For the Baha’i, the New Year celebrates the love relationship between the Creator and the creation. Begins at sundown 3/19.
  • 3/23-24 — Purim. Jewish. Celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish minority in Persia from genocide. It is customary to hear the reading of the Book of Esther; eat, drink, and be joyful; and give gifts of food and drink and gifts to charity. Begins at sundown 3/23.
  • 3/24 — Palm Sunday. Christian - Western. A commemoration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as crowds lined his path with palm leaves.
  • 3/24-25 — Holi. Hindu. This springtime festival of colors is generally celebrated by people throwing colorful powder and colored water on each other. Begins at sundown 3/24.
  • 3/25 — Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Christian - Orthodox. Celebrates when the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary and told her that she would conceive the son of God and name him Jesus. 
  • 3/25-27 — Hola Mohalla. Sikh. Commemorates the valor and bravery of the Sikhs. This three-day festival consists of mock battles, music, and poetry reading.
  • 3/28 — Maundy Thursday. Christian - Western. Commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the gospels.
  • 3/29 — Good Friday or Holy Friday. Christian - Western. Christian remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus. Many Christians spend this day in fasting, prayer, repentance, and meditation on the agony and suffering (passion) of Jesus on the cross.
  • 3/31 — Easter. Christian – Western. The central feast in the Christian liturgical year, which commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

April 2024

  • 4/7 — Divine Mercy Sunday. Christian - Catholic. Commemorates the event, eight days after his resurrection, when Jesus appeared to doubting Thomas and invited him to touch his wounds. 
  • 4/9-10 — Eid al-Fitr. Islam. Marks the end of Ramadan. It is a festival of thanksgiving to God; it involves wearing the finest clothing, saying prayers, and fostering understanding with other religions. Begins at sundown 4/9.
  • 4/13 — Vaisakhi. Sikh. The anniversary of the birth of the Khalsa. On this day in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh Ji removed the clerical system in Sikhism, reaffirming the direct connection between the Sikhs and the Divine.
  • 4/17 — Rama Navami. Hindu. Celebrates the birth of Lord Rama who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Observed on the ninth day of the first month of the Hindu calendar.
  • 4/21 — Mahavir Jayanti. Jain. Festival honoring Lord Mahavira on the founder’s birthday. Shrines are visited and teachings are reviewed and reflected upon.
  • 4/20-5/2 — Ridvan. Baha’i. Commemorates the declaration of the Baha’u’llah to his followers in 1863. Work is suspended for the first, ninth, and twelfth day. Begins at sundown 4/20 and ends at sundown 5/2.
  • 4/22-4/30 — Pesach (Passover). Jewish. An eight-day festival that commemorates the Exodus from slavery to freedom. Begins at sundown 4/22 and ends at sundown 4/30.
  • 4/23 — Hanuman Jayanti. Hindu. Celebrates Hanuman, one of the most popular Hindu gods, the ape that helped Lord Rama fight evil. Hanuman represents the inherent and rarely used power that lies within all.
  • 4/24-26 — Theravada New Year. Buddhism. Three-day celebration typically beginning with a temple visit. Observed for three days after the first full moon in April. 
  • 4/27 — Lazarus Saturday. Christian - Orthodox. Commemorates when Jesus resurrected Lazarus of Bethany. The end of Great Lent and beginning of Holy Week.

May 2024

  • 5/1 — Beltane. Pagan/Earth-centered Spirituality. Marks the beginning of summer; celebrates the fertility and abundance of the earth.
  • 5/5 — Pascha (Easter). Christian - Orthodox. Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • 5/5-6 — Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). Jewish. This day offers remembrance for people who died in the Shoah, the genocide against Jewish people during World War II. Begins at sundown 5/5.
  • 5/9 — Ascension Day. Christian - Western. Observed on the 40th day following Easter Sunday to celebrates Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
  • 5/19 — Pentecost Sunday. Christian - Western. Celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus' disciples and the birth of the church following his resurrection. Observed on the fiftieth day (the seventh Sunday) after Easter Sunday.
  • 5/22-23 — Declaration of the Bab. Baha’i. This day recognizes the declaration in 1844 by Ali Muhammed that he was the anticipated “Coming One” of all religions. Work is suspended on this day. Begins at sundown 5/22.
  • 5/26 — Trinity Sunday. Christian - Western. Celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. 
  • 5/23 — Visakha Puja Day/Wesak (Buddha Day). Buddhism. The most important Buddhist festival, which celebrates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death. The day includes preparation of sweets for the monks, sermons, and a candle-lighting ceremony.
  • 5/27-28 — Ascension of Baha’u’llah. Baha’i. A commemoration of the death of Baha’u’llah. Begins at sundown 5/27.
  • 5/30 — Corpus Christi. Christian - Catholic. Commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples before his crucifixion. Observed on the second Thursday after Pentecost.

June 2024

  • 6/11-13 — Shavuot. Jewish. Festival of Weeks; celebrates harvest of first fruits and commemorates the giving of the Torah and Commandments at Mount Sinai. Begins at sundown 6/11 and ends at sundown 6/13.
  • 6/13 — Ascension Day. Christian - Orthodox. Observed on the 40th day following Pascha (Easter) to celebrates Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
  • 6/16 — Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev. Sikh. Anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev in 1606 C.E., the fifth Guru who had built the Golden Temple of Amritsar.
  • 6/16-17 — Eid al-Adha. Islam. Also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, celebrates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son to God. It also commemorates the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Begins at sundown 6/16.
  • 6/20 — Summer Solstice. Pagan/Earth-centered Spirituality. Midsummer festival marking the shortest day of the year.
  • 6/24-25 — Eid Ghadeer. Shia Islam. The day Shi’ite Muslims commemorate Imam Ali being chosen by the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) to be his successor. Begins at sundown 6/24.

July 2024

  • 7/9 — Martyrdom of the Bab. Baha’i. Anniversary of the martyrdom of the Bab, the forerunner of Baha’u’llah, in 1850.
  • 7/7-8 — Al-Hijra (New Year). Islam. This is the first day of the month of Muharram which marks the time in 622 C.E. when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) moved from Mecca to Medina. Begins at sundown 7/7.
  • 7/24 — Pioneer Day. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Observance of the arrival of Brigham Young and early Mormon settlers in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • 7/21 — Asalha Puja Day (Dhamma Day). Buddhism. Commemorates the Buddha’s first discourse, given to the five monks at the Deer Park at Sarnath, near Varanasi. This day is observed by donating offerings to temples and listening to sermons.

August 2024

  • 8/12-13 — Tisha B’av. Jewish. A day of mourning and repentance in remembrance of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Begins at sundown 8/12.