Religious Holidays

All human communities set aside time to celebrate the people and events that have shaped their respective identities.  Religious communities also designate important times and seasons.  These holidays—or Holy Days—can be weekly events such as the Jewish Sabbath, or annual events like Easter, or seasonal events such as Ramadan.

These Holy Days and Festivals include special rituals or personal obligations such as fasting or almsgiving.

The following is a partial list of the most important Holy Days and Festivals celebrated by religious communities on our campus from January through June. An *asterisk indicates that it begins at sundown the day before this date and ends at sundown on this date.  The holidays in bold print mean they are the most important for the tradition.

January 2019

1/1 — The Solemnity of Mary. Christian.

1/6 — Epiphany. Christian. This date 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.

1/6 — Nativity of Christ. Orthodox Christian.

1/21 — Mahayana New Year. Buddhist.

1/20 — *Tu BiShvat. Jewish.

February 2019

2/2 — Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple. Orthodox Christian.

2/5 — Chinese New Year. Buddhist. Confucian. Taoist. Begins a fifteen Day Festival for Chinese people of all religions. Family reunions with thanksgiving and remembrance of departed relatives take place. Traditionally a religious ceremony honors Heaven and Earth.

2/8 — *Nirvana Day. Hindu. Buddhist. A regional observance of the death of the Buddha.

2/9 — Vasant Panchami. Hindu. Celebration dedicated to Saraswati, goddess of Learning.

March 2019

3/4 — Maha Shivaratri. Hindu. Festival in honor of Lord Shiva and his marriage to Goddess Parvati

3/5 — Shrove Tuesday. Christian.

3/6 — Ash Wednesday. Christian. Protestant. Roman Catholic. Lent begins.

3/11 — Great Lent begins. Orthodox Christian.

3/17 — Sunday of Orthodoxy. Orthodox Christian.

3/21 — *Purim. Jewish. Celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish minority in Persia from genocide. [2/21-2/22]

3/21 — Magha Puja Day. Buddhist. Celebration of the presentation of teaching by Lord Buddha to an assembly of holy men.

3/21 — Holi. Hindu. Festival of Colors.

3/25 — Annunciation. Orthodox Christian.

April 2019

4/3 — *Laylat al-Mi’raj. Islam. Commemorates Muhammad’s night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and ascension to heaven.

4/6 — Ramayana. Hindu.

4/14 — Palm Sunday. Christian. Eastern Orthodox. Protestant. Roman Catholic. A commemoration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as crowds lined his path with palm fronds.

4/14 — Rama Navami. Hindu.

4/18 — Maundy Thursday. Christian. Protestant. Roman Catholic. Thursday before Easter, commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with the Apostles.

4/19 — Therevadin New Year. Buddhist.

4/19 — Good Friday. Christian. Protestant. Roman Catholic. Christian remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus and related events.

4/19 — Hanuman Jayanti. Hindu.

4/20 — Saturday of Lazarus. Orthodox Christian.

4/20 — *Pesach. Jewish. Jewish 8 day pilgrimage festival celebrating the Exodus from slavery to freedom. Also known as Passover. [4/19-4/27]

4/21 — *Laylat al-Bara’ah. Islam. Night of Forgiveness (also known as Shab-e baraat). A night of prayer to God for forgiveness for oneself and for the dead. Preparation for Ramadan through intense prayer begins on this date.

4/21 — Easter. Christian. The most holy of Christian Sacred days. The day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his death by crucifixion.

4/21 — Palm Sunday. Orthodox Christian.

4/26 — Great and Holy Friday. Orthodox Christian.

4/28 — Divine Mercy Sunday. Christian.

4/28 — Orthodox Easter/Pascha. Orthodox Christian.

May 2019

5/2 — *Yom HaShoa. Jewish. Jewish Holocaust Day. Remembering the six million Jews killed by the Nazis in 1933-45. [5/1-5/2]

5/6-6/4 — *Ramadan. Islam. 9th month on Islamic calendar, devoted fasting from first light to sunset. In this month, the Prophet Muhammad’s reception of the divine revelation, the Qur`an, is commemorated. It is the holiest period of the Islamic Year. The start date is set either by following Saudi practice or by moon sighting.

5/8 — Visakha Puja Day/Buddha Day. Buddhist. Marking of the birth, enlightenment and death (attainment of Nirvana) of Lord Buddha.

5/23 — Lag B’Omer. Jewish. Observation of the counting of the day - the link - between Pesach and Shavuot.

5/30 — Ascension Thursday. Christian.

June 2019

6/5 — *Eid al-Fitr. Islam. Marks the end of Ramadan. It is a festival of thanksgiving to God. [6/4-6/5]

6/6 — Ascension. Orthodox Christian.

6/9 — Pentescost/Whit Sunday. Christian. Christian observation of the day when the God the Holy Spirit came to the disciples in the forms of tongues of fire and rushing wind. It is a traditional day for baptism and confirmation of new Christians.

6/9 — *Shavuot. Jewish. Celebration of Moses` descent from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments. [6/8-6/10]

6/16 — Trinity Sunday. Christian.

6/16 — Pentecost. Orthodox Christian.

6/23 — Corpus Christi. Christian.