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Kay Spiritual Life Center

Major Religious Holy Days for 2016-2017 Academic Year

Dates Holy Day
Faith Tradition/Religion Notes
June 6
Ramadan begins (29-30 days of fasting)
Islam Date may be different, depending on the sighting of the moon 
July 5
Eid al Fitr (End of Ramadan)
Islam Date may be different, depending on the sighting of the moon 
Aug 25
Shri Krishna Janamashtami   Hinduism/Vedism  
Sep 11
Eid al-Adha
Islam Date may be different, depending on the sighting of the moon 
Oct 2
Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year)
Islam Date may be different, depending on the sighting of the moon 
Oct 3-4
Rosh HaShanah
Judaism Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at one hour after sunset of the last day
Oct 11
Ashura Islam Date may be different, depending on the sighting of the moon 
Oct 12
Yom Kippur
Judaism Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at one hour after sunset of the last day
Oct 24
Sh'mini Atzeret
Judaism Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at one hour after sunset of the last day 
Oct 25
Simchat Torah
Judaism Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at one hour after sunset of the last day
Oct 30
Diwali (Deepawali)
Hinduism/Vedism Date may be different, depending on the sighting of the moon
Nov 1
Birth of the Bab
Baha'i Faith
Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at sunset
Nov 1
Feast of All Saints (All Saints Day)
Roman Catholicism & Protestant Christianity
Attendance at services and avoidance of servile work is obligatory for Catholics
Nov 2
Feast of All Souls
Roman Catholicism
Nov 2
Birth of Baha'u'llah
Baha'i Faith
Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at sunset
 
Dec 8
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
Roman Catholicism
Attendance at services and avoidance of servile work is obligatory
Dec 11
Mawlid al-Nabi (Prophet's Birthday)
Islam Date may be different, depending on the sighting of the moon
Dec 25
Feast of the Nativity (Christmas)
Roman Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, & some Orthodox Christianity
For those churches following the Gregorian Calendar
Jan 7
Christmas Some Orthodox Christianity
Observed by those churches following the Julian Calendar
Feb 11
Tu Bish'vat
Judaism Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at one hour after sunset of the last day
Mar 1
Ash Wednesday
Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christianity
Mar 12
Purim Judaism Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at one hour after sunset of the last day
Mar 21
Nawruz (Persian New Year)
Baha'i Faith
Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at sunset
Apr 9
Palm Sunday
Catholic, Protestant, & Orthodox Christianity
Apr 11-18
Passover (First and last 2 days of 8 days observance)
Judaism Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at one hour after sunset of the last day
Apr 14 Good Friday
Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christianity
Apr 15
Holy Saturday Vigil
Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christianity Begins at sundown
Apr 16
Easter Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christianity 
Apr 21
First Day of Ridvan
Baha'i Faith
Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at sunset
Apr 29
Ninth Day of Ridvan
Baha'i Faith
Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at sunset
May 2
Twelfth Day of Ridvan
Baha'i Faith
Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at sunset
May 10
Vesak Day
Buddhism Date may be different, depending on sighting of the moon
May 27
Ramadan begins (29-30 days of fasting)
Islam Date may be different, depending on the sighting of the moon
May 31-Jun 1
Shavuot Judaism Observance begins at sundown of preceding day and ends at one hour after sunset of the last day



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:

According to university policy, students may receive excused absences from class or exam attendance for observance of religious holidays. Students should not be penalized for excused absences and are required to make-up all work missed as a result of these absences. Students must also inform their professors of their religious obligations in a timely manner.  On 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 missed work. Students have been instructed to notify faculty in advance if they intend to miss class for a religious commitment.

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

Mark Schaefer, Interim University Chaplain
202-885-3336 - schaef@american.edu

Jason Benkendorf, Hillel Executive Director
202-885-3322 - jasonb@american.edu

Ms. Donna Denize, Baha'i Chaplain
202-537-6478 - donna.denize@cathedral.org

Pandit Vishnu Ramphal, Hindu/Vedic Chaplain
202-885-1912 - visra@american.edu

Rev. Joey Heath, United Methodist Chaplain
202-885-3304 - joeyh@american.edu

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Muslim Chaplain
301-946-9437 - ahmad@minaret.org

Fr. Carlos Quijano, O.P., Catholic Chaplain
202-885-3294 - priest@american.edu

Bhante Uparatana, Buddhist Chaplain
301-946-9437 - kuparatana@gmail.com

Blane Young, Chi Alpha Chaplain
202-885-3476 blane@american.edu