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Major Religious Holy Days 2020-2021 Academic Year

The diverse community of American University celebrates several different religious and cultural holidays. Please be mindful of the following dates during the 2020-21 academic year that may require accommodation and are observed by a meaningful proportion of the AU community.  This list is not exhaustive of all holidays or observances, nor active religious communities on campus.  


Month Date Holy Day Religion


August 20 Hijra (New Year) Islam
September 19-20 Rosh Hashana Judaism
  28 Yom Kippur Judaism
October 3-4 First and Second Days of Sukkot Judaism
  10-11 Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah Judaism
  18 Birth of Bab Baháʼí
  19 Birth of Baha’u’llah Baháʼí
  25 Vijaya Dashmi/Dussehra Hinduism
November 14 Diwali Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism
December 25 Christmas Christianity
January 7 Julian Christmas Orthodox Christianity
March 20 Naw Ruz Baháʼí
  28-29 First Two Days of Passover Judaism
  29 Holi Hinduism
April  2 Good Friday Christianity
  3 Holy Saturday Christianity
  3-4 Last Two Days of Passover Judaism
  4 Easter Christianity
  12 New Year/Yugadi Hinduism
  13 Ramadan Begins Islam
  20 1st day of Ridvan Baháʼí
  28 9th day of Ridvan Baháʼí
May 1 12th day of Ridvan Baháʼí
  2 Pesach/Easter Orthodox Christianity
  13-15 Eid-al-Fitr Islam
  17-18 Shavuot Judaism
  23 Declaration of Bab Baháʼí
  28 Ascension of Baha’u’llah Baháʼí

Please note:  For Jewish and Islamic holidays, one should consider the observance beginning at sundown on the day before the holiday; sundown will be at a multitude of times in a virtual teaching environment.  Jewish holy days end one hour after sunset of the concluding day. Islamic and Hindu holy days may also vary depending on the sighting of the moon

Accommodations for Religious Observances

For some of the traditions represented on campus, the cessation of regular activities and/or work is a component of the holiday; this would impact a student’s participation in class and completion of assignments on those dates. It should be noted that preference to observe a religious or cultural holiday at a specific place or time, if not a component of the observance, does not qualify for an accommodation.  

The student is responsible for notifying their professor of conflicts with course materials and a religious or cultural observance in a timely manner. The expectation is that an arrangement can be made between the professor and the student. The student is responsible for managing the lost study and work time as a result of an observance. Students should not be penalized for excused absences and are required to make-up materials missed from an accommodation.   

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 the Office of the University Chaplain at

Our communities will celebrate over 60 religious holidays during the year