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Major Religious Holy Days 2018-2019 Academic Year

5778-5779 A.M. (Jewish), 5120-5121 H.C. (Hindu), 4716-4717 C.C. (Confucian, Taoist), 2560-2561 B.E. (Buddhist), 1439-1440 A.H. (Islamic), 1397-1398 S.H. (Persian/Solar Islamic)

Please note: this list includes only the holy days of those traditions listed below. Religious holy days from traditions not listed here may require accommodation. Listed holy days requiring accommodation are marked with a check mark (✔). Dates marked with an asterisk (*) begin their observances at sundown of the preceding day. Jewish holy days end one hour after sunset of the concluding day. Islamic and Buddhist holy days may vary depending on the sighting of the moon.

Some Major Religious Holy Days 2018-2019
Month Date Holy Day Religion Accommodation?
August 18 Nowruz Zoroastrianism ✔ Yes
*21 Eid al-Adha Islam ✔ Yes
September 3 Sri Krishna Jayanti Hinduism ✔ Yes
*10–11 Rosh Hashanah Judaism ✔ Yes
*11 Al Hijra (New Year) Islam No
*19 Yom Kippur Judaism ✔ Yes
*20 Ashura Islam No
*23–24 1st & 2nd Days of Sukkot Judaism ✔ Yes
October *1 Shmini Atzeret Judaism ✔ Yes
*2 Simchat Torah Judaism ✔ Yes
20 Inst. of Sri Guru Granth
Sahib Ji
Sikhism ✔ Yes
November 1 Feast of All Saints Christianity ✔ Yes (Catholic)
2 Feast of All Souls Christianity No
7 Diwali Hinduism ✔ Yes
7 Bandi Chhor Divas Sikhism ✔ Yes
9 Birth of the Bab Bahá’í ✔ Yes
10 Birth of the Bahá’u’lláh Bahá’í ✔ Yes
20 Mawlid an-Nabi Islam No
23 Birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji Sikhism ✔ Yes
24 Martyrdom of Guru Tegh
Bahadur Ji
Sikhism ✔ Yes
December *3–10 Hanukkah Judaism No
8 Feast of the Immaculate
Christianity ✔ Yes (Catholic)
25 Christmas Christianity ✔ Yes
26 Death of Prophet
Zoroastrianism ✔ Yes
January 6 Epiphany Christianity No
6 Armenian Christmas Christianity ✔ Yes (Armenian)
7 Christmas Christianity ✔ Yes (E. Orthodox)
13 Maghi Sikhism No
*20 Tu B'shvat Judaism No
21 Mahayana New Year Buddhism ✔ Yes
February 5 Chinese New Year Buddism ✔ Yes
8 Nirvana Day Buddhism ✔ Yes
March 6 Ash Wednesday Christianity ✔ Yes (for services)
21 Nawruz Zoroastrianism
✔ Yes
*21 Purim Judaism No
21 Holla Moholla Sikhism No
April 14 Vaisakhi Sikhism ✔ Yes
14 Palm Sunday Christianity (W) ✔ Yes
18 Holy Thursday Christianity (W) No
19 Good Friday Christianity (W) ✔ Yes (for services)
19–21 Therevada New Year Buddhism ✔ Yes
*20–21 First Two Days of Passover Judaism ✔ Yes
21 First Day of Ridvan Bahá’í ✔ Yes
21 Easter Christianity (W) ✔ Yes
21 Palm Sunday Christianity (E) ✔ Yes
26 Holy Friday Christianity (E) ✔ Yes
*27–28 Last Two Days of Passover Judaism ✔ Yes
28 Pascha (Orthodox Easter) Christianity (E) ✔ Yes
29 Ninth Day of Ridvan Bahá’í ✔ Yes
May 2 Twelfth Day of Ridvan Bahá’í ✔ Yes
*6 Beginning of Ramadan Islam No
18 Visakha Puja Buddhism No
23 Declaration of the Bab Bahá’í ✔ Yes
29 Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh Bahá’í ✔ Yes
June 1 Laylat al-Kadr Islam No
*4–6 Eid al-Fitr Islam ✔ Yes
9 Pentecost Christianity (W) No
*9–10 Shavuot Judaism ✔ Yes
July 9 Martyrdom of the Bab Bahá’í ✔ Yes
13–15 Obon (Ulambana) Buddhism ✔ Yes
16 Asalha Puja Buddhism No

Holy Days marked as requiring accommodation are very important holy days when students/employees may be absent from school or work.

Please note:

  • 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. 
  • Some Orthodox churches follow the Gregorian Calendar (W) and others the Julian Calendar (E).

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.

It is the responsibility of the student to manage the work or study time lost as the result of religious holidays or observances that do not fall within class time or scheduled examination periods.

If you need to make a request for a religious accommodation, you can do so through our online form.

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

Rev. Mark Schaefer, University Chaplain
202-885-3336 -

Mr. 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. Joey Heath, United Methodist Chaplain
202-885-3304 -

Imam 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 -

Rev. Blane Young, Chi Alpha Chaplain

Our communities will celebrate over 60 religious holidays during the year