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Spiritual Life

Religious Holidays

Below is a listing of some of the major religious holidays and holy days for the 2019-2020 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

2019-2020 School Year

August 2019
11 (Sun.) Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice at the end of Hajj)- Islamic*
31 (Sat.) Al-Hijra/Muharram (New Year)- Islamic*

September 2019
30 (Mon.) Rosh Hashanah- Jewish* (first day)

October 2019
01 (Tues.) Rosh Hashanah- Jewish* (second day)
09 (Wed.) Yom Kippur- Jewish*  
14 (Mon.) Sukkot- Jewish* (first of seven days)
27 (Sun.) Diwali (Festival of Lights)- Hindu
30 (Wed.) Baha'u'llah's Birthday (Commemorates Founder's Birthday)- Bahá'í 

November 2019
10 (Sun.) Mawlid al-Nabi (Muhammad’s birthday)- Islamic*

December 2019
08 (Sun.) Bodhi Day (Buddha's Enlightenment, Rohatsu)- Buddhist
23 (Mon.) Hanukkah- Jewish* (first day of eight days) 
25 (Wed.) Christmas- Christian 

February 2020
08 (Sat.) Nirvana Day (Commemorates the death of Buddha)- Buddhist
26 (Wed.) Ash Wednesday- Christian

March 2020
09 (Mon.) Holi (Spring festival)- Hindu
10 (Tues.) Purim- Jewish*
20 (Thurs.) Naw-Ruz (Baha’i New Year)- Bahá'i

April 2020
05 (Sun.) Palm Sunday- Christian (Western)
09 (Thurs.) Passover (Pesach: first of eight days)- Jewish*
10 (Fri.) Good Friday- Christian (Western)
12 (Sun.) Easter- Christian (Western)
12 (Sun.) Palm Sunday- Christian (Orthodox)
17 (Fri.) Holy Friday- Christian (Orthodox)
19 (Sun.) Easter- Christian (Orthodox)
20 (Mon.) Ridvan (Declaration of Baha'u'llah; 12 days; begins at sunset 4/19)- Bahá'i
24 (Fri.) Ramadan (first day)- Islamic*

May 2020
07 (Thurs.) Vesak (Buddha Day, celebrates the birth of Buddha)- Buddhist
24 (Sun.) Eid al-Fitr (end of Ramadan)- Islamic* 
31 (Sun.) Pentecost- Christian

* 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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