Kay Spiritual Life Center

Major Religious Holy Days for 2015-2016 Academic Year


Holy Day
Faith Tradition/Religion

June 17
Ramadan begins (30 days of Fasting)*

July 17
Eid Al Fitir (End of Ramadan)*

Sep. 5
Shri Krishna Janamashtami

Sept. 14-15
Rosh Hashanah**

Sep. 23
Yom Kippur**

Sep. 23-24

Eid Al- Adha*

Oct. 22
Dusserah (Dushahara)

Oct. 14
Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year)

Sep 28-29

Sukkot (First 2 days of 7 days observance)**


Oct. 5

Sh'mini Atzeret**


Oct. 6

Simchat Torah**


Oct. 19

Birth of the Bab***

Baha'i Faith

Nov. 10
Diwali (Deepawali)*

Nov. 1
Feast of All Saints (All Saints Day)+
Roman Catholicism & Protestant Christianity

Nov. 2
Feast of All Souls++
Roman Catholicism

Oct. 23

Nov. 12
Birth of Baha'u'llah***
Baha'i Faith

Dec. 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception+
Roman Catholicism

Dec. 7-14
Hanukah Judaism

Dec. 25
Feast of the Nativity (Christmas) Roman Catholicism, Protestant & Orthodox Christianity^

Jan. 7
Orthodox Christianity^^

Jan. 25
Tu Bishvat

Feb. 10
Ash Wednesday++ Roman Catholicism & Protestant Christianity

Mar. 24

Mar. 20
Naw Ruz, Baha'i New Year*** Baha'i Faith

March 29
Palm Sunday
Roman Catholicism & Protestant Christianity

April 2
Holy Thursday++
Roman Catholicism & Protestant Christianity

April 23-30
Pesach (First and last two days of 8 day observance)** Judaism

April 4
Holy Saturday Vigil++ (Begins in sundown) Roman Catholicism, Protestant, & Orthodox Christianity

April 5
Easter++ Roman Catholicism, Protestant Christianity

May 1
Orthodox Easter Orthodox Christianity

May 5
Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah)

April 20
First Day of Ridvan***
Baha'i Faith

April 28 Ninth Day of Ridvan Baha'i Faith

May 1
Twelfth Day of Ridvan
Baha'i Faith

June 12-13

Holy Days in bold type face are considered very important holy days when students/employees may be absent from school or work. 

* Observance of Buddhist, Hindu/Vedic and Islamic holy days is dependent on the sighting of the moon. Please note that the dates printed herein may not be the exact dates but the closest approximates. Buddhists observe the new moon and full moon as holy days.
*** Observance of Baha’i holy days begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at sunset of the holy days.
+ Roman Catholic obligatory feasts require attendance at services and avoidance of servile work.
++ Roman Catholic traditional feasts are those days on which it is assumed that the faithful will attend services and may exclude servile work and include various requirements of prayer and fasting.
^ Orthodox churches that follow the Gregorian Calendar.
^^ Orthodox churches that follow the Julian Calendar.

Religious Observances Policy

The above are guidelines for your rights and responsibilities regarding religious observances. The university administration, in reaffirming American University’s historic commitment to diversity, makes it clear that religious observance is to be honored. The following paragraph is included in a letter recently sent by the provost to all faculty:

The calendar lists the major religious holy days for the 2015-2016 academic year. Included on the calendar are notes that explain some of the religious commitments associated with some of the holy days. Please share this list with your colleagues and refer to it when preparing your syllabi. The holy days listed in bold are those that most likely will have a number of students requesting accommodation. Especially on those holy days, please try to avoid scheduling exams or other important events. If you must schedule important class events on these days, please provide proper notification in your syllabi and give students reasonable opportunities to make-up the missed work. Students have been instructed to notify faculty in advance if they are intending to miss class for a religious commitment.

We have included in this letter the list of some major holy days for 2015-2016. Please note that professors and classroom instructors are obligated to be flexible to accommodate religious observance. However, students must inform their professors of their religious obligations in a timely manner.

If you have any questions about the policy or about religious observance, please contact any of the chaplains listed below. Thank you.

Joe Eldridge, University Chaplain
202-885-3336 -

Jason Benkendorf, Hillel Executive Director
202-885-3322 -

Ms. Donna Denize, Baha'i Chaplain
202-537-6478 -

Pandit Vishnu Ramphal, Hindu/Vedic Chaplain
202-885-1912 -

Rev. Mark Schaefer, United Methodist Chaplain
202-885-3304 -

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Muslim Chaplain
301-946-9437 -

Fr. Carlos Quijano, O.P., Catholic Chaplain
202-885-3294 -

Bhante Uparatana, Buddhist Chaplain
301-946-9437 -