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Major Religious Holy Days 2019-2020 Academic Year

This is a partial list of some major holy days of those traditions listed below. Holy days noted in bold are widely considered to be major holy days within the religious tradition, and are most likely to be times when an adherent would engage in religious observations. Therefore, a religious accommodation such as absence from class and/or rescheduling of an exam may be requested. Accommodations must be requested in a timely manner. Religious holy days from traditions not listed here may also require accommodation. On dates marked with an asterisk (*), observances begin at sundown of the preceding day. Jewish holy days end one hour after sunset of the concluding day. Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist holy days may vary depending on the sighting of the moon.

Some Major Religious Holy Days
Month Date Holy Day Religion
August *11 Eid al-Adha Islam
  24 Sri Krishna Jayanti Hinduism
  27 -Sep 3 Paryushana Jainism
  31 Al-Hijra (New Year) Islam
September *9 Ashura Islam
  *29 - Oct 8 Navratri Hinduism
  *30 - Oct 1 Rosh Hashana Judaism
October *9 Yom Kippur Judaism
  *14-15 First and Second Days of Sukkot Judaism
  20 Installation Sri Guru Granth Shib Ji Sikhism
  *21 Shmini Atzeret Judaism
  *22 Simchat Torah Judaism
  24-29 Diwali Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism
  27 Bandi Chhor Divas Sikhism
  29 Birth of the Bab Bahá’í
  30 Birth of Bahá’u’lláh Bahá’í
November 1 Feast of All Saints Christianity
  2 Feast of All Souls Christianity
  9 Mawlid al-Nabi Islam
  12 Birthdate of Gur Nanak Dev Ji Sikhism
  24 Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Sikhism
  25 Day of the Covenant Bahá’í
  28 Ascension of Abdu'l-Baha Bahá’í
December 8 Feast of the Immaculate Conception Christianity
  25 Christmas Christianity
  *23-30 Chanukah Judaism
  26 Death of Prophet Zarathustra Zoroastrianism
January 5 Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Sikhism
  6 Epiphany Christianity
  6 Armenian Christmas Eastern Christianity
  7 Christmas Eastern Christianity
  10 Mahayana New Year Buddhism
  14 Maghi/Lohri Sikhism
  15 Makar Sankranti/Pongal Hinduism
  25 Chinese New Year Buddhism
February *10 Tu B'Shvat Judaism
  15 Nirvana Day Buddhism, Jainism
  21 Maha Shivaratri Hinduism
  26 Ash Wednesday Christianity
March 9-10 Holi Hinduism
  *10 Purim Judaism
  10-12 Holla Moholla Sikhism
  20 Nawruz Bahá’í, Zoroastrianism
April 5 Palm Sunday Christianity
  6 Mahavir Jayanti Jainism
  7-9 Thereavada New Year Buddhism
  9 Holy Thursday Christianity
  *9-10 First Two Days of Passover Judaism
  10 Good Friday Christianity
  12 Easter Christiantiy
  12 Palm Sunday Eastern Christianity
  13 Vaisakhi Sikhism
  *15-16 Last Two Days of Passover Judaism
  17 Holy Friday Eastern Christianity
  19 Pascha (Easter) Eastern Christianity
  20 First Day of Ridvan Bahá’í
  *24 Ramadan Begins Islam
  26-29 Ayyám-i-Há Bahá’í
  27 Ninth Day of Ridvan Bahá’í
May 1 Twelfth Day of Ridvan Bahá’í
  7 Visakha Puja Buddhist
  23 Declaration of the Bab Bahá’í
  *24 Eid al-Fitr Islam
  28 Ascension of Baha'u'llah Bahá’í
  *29-30 Shavout Judaism
  31 Pentecost Christianity
July 4 Asalha Puja Buddhism
  9 Martydom of the Bab Bahá’í
  13-15 Obon (Ulambana) Buddhism

Please note:

  • Observance of Buddhist, Hindu/Vedic and Islamic holy days is dependent on the sighting of the moon. Please note that the dates provided may not be the exact dates but the closest approximates. 
  • 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. This may exclude servile work and include various requirements of prayer and fasting.

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:

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

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

Rev. Joey Heath-Mason, United Methodist Chaplain
202-885-3304 -

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

Fr. Ivan Pertine, Catholic Chaplain
202-885-32940 -

Kavita Pallod Sekhsaria, Hindu/Vedic Chaplain
202-885-3320 -

Bhante Uparatana, Buddhist Chaplain
301-946-9437 -

Rev. Blane Young, Chi Alpha Chaplain

Our communities will celebrate over 60 religious holidays during the year