Religious Holidays

To view the  Religious Holidays Calendar, click here.

August 2013 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
**Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu)
The birth of Lord Krishna and his rescue from death by the demon Kasna are celebrated on this day.  Born in a prison, Lord Krishna was carried by his father to another village and exchanged with the daughter of a cow herder for his safety

 

September 2013

Thursday, September 5-Friday, September 6, 2013
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)
Begins previous sundown at 6:00pm. Observed for two days. Literally, "Head of the Year" marks the first and second day of the jewish New Year and the anniversary of the creation of the world.

Monday, September 9, 2013
**Ganesh-Chaturthi (Hindu)
This day commemorates the god Ganesh, one of Hindu’s major deities.  Ganesh is known as the ‘Remover of All Obstacles’, and is called upon at the start of all new undertakings.

Saturday, September 14, 2013
Yom Kippur (Jewish)
The Day of Antoment is the holiest and most solemn of all days in the Jewish year.

Thursday-Wednesday, September 19-25, 2013
*Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) (Jewish)
Sukkot celebrates both the harvest, as well as the 40 years that the children of Israel wandered in the desert.  Sukkot is one of the three major holidays, together known as the Shloshet ha-Regalim (three pilgrim festivals), and represents historically when the Jewish traveled to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Thursday, September 26, 2013
*Shemini Atzeret (Jewish)

Friday, September 27, 2013
*Simchat Torah (Jewish)
This joyful holiday, “rejoicing the Torah” marks the beginning of the year-long reading of the Torah.  The Torah, which is also known as the Five Books of Moses, means "teaching," "instruction," or "law" in Hebrew.

Sunday, September 29, 2013
St. Michael and All Angels (Christian)
This feast, also known as Michaelmas, is associated with the beginning of autumn and the shortening of days because it falls near the equinox.  St Michael is one of the principal angelic warriors and was seen as a protector against the dark of night.

October 2013

Saturday, October 5-Sunday, October 13, 2013
**Navaratri (Hindu)
This translates as ‘nine nights’, starting on the new moon and ending on Dussehra.  This celebration is dedicated to the goddess of Durga who had nine incarnations and has the power to destroy demons.

Sunday, October 13, 2013
**VIJAYA DASAMI (Last day of Navaratri)
This festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the Hindu month, Ashwina, and is the last of the 10-day annual festival of Navaratri. The festivities celebrate the victory of the forces of Good over Evil. It is also considered a day to begin new things in life.

Tuesday, October 15-Friday, October 18, 2013
**Eid-al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) (Islam)
Including the Hajj, this three-day festival celebrates Abraham’s test of obedience to Allah (God) when he was asked to sacrifice his son Ismael.  At the last minute, Allah replaced Ismael with a lamb.

November 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013
All Saints Day (Christian)
This day honors known and unknown saints.

Sunday, Novemberber 3, 2013
**DEEPAWALI (Diwali) (Hindu, Sikh, Jain)
This is the start of the Hindu New Year.  It symbolizes the victory of good over evil.  It is also known as the “Festival of Lights”, where lamps are lit to symbolize hope for humanity.

Monday, November 4, 2013
**Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year) (Islam)
This observance takes place on the first day of Muharram, the month that Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE (the Hijra). This holiday is also known as Muharram.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
*BIRTH OF BAHA’U’LLAH (Bahá’í)
Born as Mirza Husayn’ Ali, into one of the leading noble families of Persia in 1817.  His Arabic title means ‘The Glory of God’.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
**Ashura (Tenth of Muharram) (Islam)
Ashura in Arabic means “ten”, signifying the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram.

Thursday, November 28-Thursday, December 5, 2013
*Hanukkah (Fest of Lights) (Jewish)
In approximately 164 B.C, the Maccabees, a small group of Jews fighting for religious freedom, won victory over the Syrians.  Upon returning to the Temple, they found only one jar of oil to light the eternal light. In spite of the shortage of oil, the eternal light stayed lit for eight days. A special eight-branched candelabrum known as a menorah is lit over this period to celebrate the eight day miracle.

 
December 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013
Advent (First Sunday) (Christian)
The Christian Church year begins with advent (meaning coming or arrival), which is also a time when Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Sunday, December 8, 2013
Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) (Buddhism)
This day commemorates the date of Siddhartha Gautama’s realization and presentation of the Four Noble Truths.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Christmas Day (Christian)
On this day, Christians honor the birth of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago.  This is the most widely observed Christian festival of the year.  People celebrate it by exchanging gifts, decorating homes and communities with lights and ornaments, and attending parties and meals.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Eastern Orthodox Christmas (Eastern Orthodox)
Members of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth on this day
 

Thursday, December 26, 2013 - Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Kwanzaa (African/Interfaith)
Wanting to encourage African-Americans to celebrate and honor their rich heritage, Professor Maulana Karenga founded Kwanzaa in 1966. The holiday, which means ‘first fruit’ in Swahili, is made up of seven principles: unity, self-determination, working together, sharing, purpose, creativity, and faith.  Seven basic symbols and two supplemental ones: mazao (crops), mkeka (mat), kinara (candle holder), muhindi (corn), mishumaa Saba (seven candles), kikombe cha umoja (unity cup), zawadi (gifts), bendera (flag), nguzo saba poster (poster of the seven principles) communicate these values. Candles are lit on each consecutive night in a seven-branched candelabrum; each lighting represents the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Black, red and green symbolize Kwanzaa.  Black represents the people, red signifies their struggle, and green stands for the future and the hope that emanates from the struggle.

January 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014
Epiphany (Christian)
For Christians, this holiday commemorates the revelation of God to mankind in human form as Jesus.   This day may also be called the Twelfth Day, as it is the twelfth day after Christmas.

Monday, January  13, 2014
**Mawlid un-Nabi (Islam)
This is the celebration of the birthday of the Muslim prophet, Muhammad.  Various mosques and Muslim organizations will celebrate at various times and places throughout the month by holding Processions, decorating houses and mosques, charity and food is distributed, stories about the life of Muhammad are narrated, and poems are recited by children.

February 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014
*Purim (Jewish)
This holiday celebrates the Jews’ deliverance from Haman's plot to annihilate all the Jews of the Persian Empire  Public recitation of the Book of Esther, giving mutual gifts of food and drink, giving charity to the poor, and a celebratory meal (Esther 9:22) are characteristics of this holiday. The festival of Purim is known as the festival of hidden miracles. Based on the Biblical Book of Esther, Purim celebrates the profound reversal of fortune when the Jewish community of Persia was rescued by the heroic intervention of Esther and Mordecai. It is a holiday that is known for its pageantry, frivolity and generosity to friends and the needy.

March 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Ash Wednesday (Christian)
This is the first day of Lent, marking the 46th day before Easter.  In the Catholic Church, the priest puts black ashes in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of the observers who keeps them on the whole day and washes them off after sundown. The symbolism of throwing ash over one's head signifies repentance before God.

 

April 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014
Palm Sunday (Christian)
This observance occurs on the Sunday before Easter.  It commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his crucifixion as reported by all four Canonical Gospels: Mark , Matthew , Luke and John. Early Christians used the palm branch to symbolize the victory of the faithful over enemies of the soul.

Sunday, April 13, 2014
Palm Sunday (Orthodox Christian)
This observance occurs on the Sunday before Easter.  It commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his crucifixion as reported by all four Canonical Gospels: Mark , Matthew , Luke and John. Early Christians used the palm branch to symbolize the victory of the faithful over enemies of the soul.

Tuesday, April 15-Wednesday, April 16, 2014
*PESACH (Passover) (Jewish)
Passover commemorates the flight of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. As described in the Book of Exodus, Passover marks the "birth" of the Children of Israel who become the Jewish nation, as the Jews' ancestors were freed from being slaves of the Pharaoh.  The holiday is celebrated by the reciting of the Haggadah, which recounts the story of liberation at a seder meal that takes place on the first and last two days of the eight day holiday.

Thursday, April 17, 2014
Maundy Thursday (Christian)
This is also called Holy Thursday or Great Thursday.  It is the holy day on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates Jesus Christ’s last supper with the Apostles (12 men chosen from a group of students or disciples that followed Jesus’ teaching). The last supper was a Passover seder (see below).  Simon, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James (James The Younger), Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Matthias are the 12 apostles.
 

Friday, April 18, 2014
Good Friday (1:00 – 3:00 p.m.) (Christian)
This observance takes place on the Friday before Easter, which always falls on a Sunday. It commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Calvary. In the Bible, this is around the time that Christ is said to have died, and is honored in those countries where Good Friday is a public holiday.

Friday, April 18, 2014
Holy Friday (Orthodox Christian)
This observance takes place on the Friday before Easter, which always falls on a Sunday. It commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Calvary.

Sunday, April 20, 2014
Easter Sunday (Orthodox Christian)
For members of the Orthodox Christian Church, Easter Sunday is celebrated on this date and commemorates the resurrection of Jesus, which Christians believe occurred on the third day of his death by crucifixion some time in the period AD 27 to 33.  It is considered the most important religious feast of the Christian liturgical year, observed at some point between late March and late April each year or early April to early May in Orthodox Christianity.

Sunday, April 20, 2014
Easter (Christian)
This holiday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which Christians believe occurred on the third day of his death by crucifixion some time in the period AD 27 to 33.  It is considered the most important religious feast of the Christian liturgical year, observed at some point between late March and late April each year or early April to early May in Orthodox Christianity.

 

Monday-Tuesday, April 21-22, 2014
*PESACH (Passover last two days) (Jewish)
During the last two days of Passover, as during the first two days, observers participate in a Passover seder.

 
May 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
* ** Lailat al Miraj -Muhammad's Ascension (Islam)

June 2014

Wednesday-Thursday, June 4-5, 2014
*Shavout-The Feast of Weeks (Jewish)
Shavuot is one of the three major Jewish Biblical pilgrimage festivals, on which Jews used to travel to the Temple in Jerusalem to bring their first fruits. The festival takes place exactly 50 days after the festival of Passover. Shavuot is also sometimes referred to as the Feast of Weeks. Greek speaking Jews gave the festival the name Pentecost, since it occurs fifty days after Passover.

Sunday, June 8, 2014
Pentacost (Christian)
The word “pentecost” means “fiftieth day.”  In most Christian traditions, Pentecost Sunday is celebrated on the 50th day after Easter Sunday (counting Easter Sunday since it is the first day of the week).  Those 50 days span seven Sundays after Easter, so Pentecost is the seventh Sunday after Easter (7 weeks times 7 days = 49 days, plus Pentecost Sunday).  It emphasizes the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to enable the people of God to witness Jesus the Christ.

Sunday, June 15, 2014
All Saints Day (Orthodox Christian)
The Christian holiday of All Saint's Day honors and recognizes all of the saints of the christian church, many of which were martyrs. The church sets this day aside to celebrate over 10,000 recognized saints. Historically, All Saints Day was known as Hallomas.

Saturday, June 28, 2014
* ** First day of Ramadan (30 days) (Islam)

 


Dates with an asterisk (*) indicate holy days beginning at sundown the day before this date.

Dates with two asterisks (**) indicate that regional customs or moon sightings may cause a variation of this date.

Dates in UPPER CASE and RED indicate that abstinence from all secular activity is required.  These dates fall under the abstinence policy adopted by the University Senate and the Board of Trustees. While the other religious holidays listed may not necessarily require abstinence from all secular activity, one should be sensitive to certain other observations that may involve fasting, a dietary change, or special celebrations that may occur during the day or in the evening. 

Other information:  Jewish and Islamic days begin at sundown of the day preceding the date shown and end at sundown on Saturday to observe Shabbat (Sabbath).  Other religious traditions include similar practices.  For example Seventh-day Adventists observe the Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

 The Interfaith Calendar, www.interfaithcalendar.org was used to identify the holidays and their dates.
 

 

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