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Spiritual Life

Religious Holidays

Below is a listing of some of the major religious holidays and holy days for the 2020-2021 school year. Religious holidays for the Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim traditions are included. See also the “Guidelines for Religious Holiday Observance and Student Absences.”

Major Religious Holidays/Holy Days

2020-2021 School Year

July 2020
31 (Fri.) Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice at the end of Hajj)- Islamic*

August 2020

20 (Thurs.) Al-Hijra/Muharram (New Year)- Islamic*

September 2020
19 (Sat.) Rosh Hashanah- Jewish* (first day)
20 (Sun.) Rosh Hashanah- Jewish* (second day)
28 (Mon.) Yom Kippur- Jewish*

October 2020
03 (Sat.) Sukkot- Jewish* (first of seven days)
19 (Mon.) Baha'u'llah's Birthday (Commemorates Founder's Birthday)- Bahá'í 
29 (Thurs.) Mawlid al-Nabi (Muhammad’s birthday)- Islamic*

November 2020
14 (Sat.) Diwali (Festival of Lights)- Hindu

December 2020
08 (Tues.) Bodhi Day (Buddha's Enlightenment, Rohatsu)- Buddhist
11 (Fri.) Hanukkah- Jewish* (first day of eight days) 
25 (Fri.) Christmas- Christian 

February 2021
15 (Mon.) Nirvana Day (Commemorates the death of Buddha)- Buddhist
17 (Wed.) Ash Wednesday- Christian
26 (Fri.) Purim- Jewish*

March 2021
20 (Sat.) Naw-Ruz (Baha’i New Year)- Bahá'i
28 (Sun.) Palm Sunday- Christian (Western)
28 (Sun.) Passover (Pesach: first of eight days)- Jewish*
29 (Mon.) Holi (Spring festival)- Hindu

April 2021
02 (Fri.) Good Friday- Christian (Western)
04 (Sun.) Easter- Christian (Western)
13 (Tues.) Ramadan (first day)- Islamic*
16 (Fri.) Ridvan (Declaration of Baha'u'llah; 12 days; begins at sunset 4/15)- Bahá'i
25 (Sun.) Palm Sunday- Christian (Orthodox)
30 (Fri.) Holy Friday- Christian (Orthodox)

May 2021
02 (Sun.) Easter- Christian (Orthodox)
13 (Thurs.) Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)- Islamic* 
23 (Sun.) Pentecost- Christian
26 (Wed.) Vesak (Buddha Day, celebrates the birth of Buddha)- Buddhist
 

* Jewish and Islamic holidays traditionally begin at
 sunset on the previous evening

 


Explanatory Notes 

  • Al-Hijra/Muharram: Islamic new year
  • Ash Wednesday: Begins Christian observance of Lent; name derives from use of ashes to signify penitence.
  • Baha’u’llah’s Birthday: Commemorates the birth of the founder of the Bahá’í faith in 1817.
  • Bodhi Day: Buddhist celebration of the Enlightenment of Buddha, ca. 596 B.C.E.
  • Christmas: Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
  • Diwali: Festival of Lights; one of four seasonal celebrations in India.
  • Easter: The day Christians celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
  • Eid al-Adha: Islamic festival of sacrifice; commemorates Abraham’s faith, and is also a memorial to the dead.
  • Eid al-Fitr: Islamic festival of the breaking of the fast of Ramadan.
  • Good Friday (Holy Friday): The day Christians commemorate Jesus’ crucifixion.
  • Hanukkah: Jewish festival of lights; eight day commemoration of the rededication of the Second Temple in 165 B.C.E. A candle is lighted on each evening.
  • Holi: Spring festival; a Hindu carnival occasion featuring bright colors, pilgrimages, and bonfires.
  • Mawlid al-Nabi: the prophet Muhammad’s birthday
  • Nirvana Day: Commemorates the death of Buddha.
  • Palm Sunday: Begins Christian Holy Week; palms recall the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Orthodox Christian observances are the same as those observed in the West, but are based on the Julian (Eastern) calendar rather that the Gregorian (Western) calendar.
  • Passover (Pesach): Eight day celebration marking the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt; Seder ceremonies retell the story of the “Exodus.”
  • Pentecost: 50 days after Easter, when Christians celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus. Sometimes referred to as the “birthday of the Church.”
  • Purim: Feast of Lots. Celebrates deliverance of Jews in ancient Persia from a plot to destroy them. The scroll of Esther is read.
  • Ramadan: The ninth month in the Islamic calendar; 30 days of strict fasting from sunup to sundown in honor of the first revelations to the Prophet Muhammad.
  • Ridvan: Commemorates the declaration of Baha’u’llah to his followers in 1863. Work is suspended for the Bahá’í faithful on the 1st, 9th, and 12th days.
  • Rosh Hashanah: Jewish New Year beginning 10 days of penitence concluded on Yom Kippur.
  • Sukkot: Jewish festival of booths (or tabernacles) and the fall harvest; takes its name from the booths used by Israelites during desert wanderings. First two days and last two days have special observances.
  • Yom Kippur: Jewish day of atonement; most solemn Jewish holy day, devoted to prayer, fasting and repentance.

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