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Major Holy Days of Observance 2023-2024 Academic Year

The diverse community of American University celebrates many different religious and cultural holidays. In dedication to the AU mission of inclusive excellence, this calendar was developed by the Kay Spiritual Life Center as an informational tool to assist in planning academic, program, and event responsibilities. This list is not meant to be exhaustive of all holidays or observances, nor active religious communities on campus. The following dates may require accommodation and are observed by a meaningful proportion of the AU community. 

For Jewish and Islamic holidays, one should consider the observance beginning at sundown on the day before the holiday.  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.  

Many religious traditions also observe specific times of fasting. Given the impact that fasting may have on a student’s ability to demonstrate their full academic potential, students may request alternative scheduling for exams and assignment during these periods. Such arrangements should be sought at the earliest opportunity in conversation with the professor, and we anticipate that a meaningful arrangement can be made.

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 after first discussing with the professor.

If you have any questions about the policy or about religious observance, please contact the Office of the University Chaplain at

These are the obvservances that may require an accommodation:

Our communities will celebrate over 60

religious holidays during the year

Holy Days of Observance and Obligation
Month Date Holy Day Belief
August 27 Krishna Janmashtami Hinduism
September 16&17 Rosh Hashanah Judaism
September 19 Ganesh Chaturthi Hinduism
September 25 Yom Kippur Judaism
September 30 First Day of Sukkot Judaism
October 1 Second Day of Sukkot Judaism
October 7&8 Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah Judaism
October 15-23 Navarātrī/Durga Puja Hinduism
October 16 Birth of Bab Baháʼí
October 17 Birth of Baha’u’llah Baháʼí
October 24 Vijaya Dashami/Dussehra Hinduism
November 12 Diwali/Deepawali Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism
December 25 Christmas Christianity
January 7 Julian Christmas Orthodox Christianity
January 14 Pongal/Makara Saṅkrānti Hinduism
February 10 Lunar New Year Cultural, Confucian, Taoist, Buddhist
March 8 Mahāśivarātrī/Shiv Ratri Hinduism
March 10-31 Ramadan Islam
March 20 Naw Ruz Baháʼí
March 25 Holī Hinduism, Sikhism
March 29 Good Friday Christianity
March 30 Holy Saturday Christianity
March 31 Easter Christianity
April 1-9 Ramadan Islam
April 8 Vesak/Buddha Day/Buddha Jayanti/Wesak/Vaiśākha Pūrṇima Buddhism
April 9 Lunar New Year/Yugādi/Spring Navarātrī Hinduism
April 10 Eid-al-Fitr Islam
April 13 Solar New Year/Vaisakhī/Puthandu Hinduism, Sikhism
April 21 1st day of Ridvan Baháʼí
April 23&24 First Two Days of Passover Judaism
April 29 9th day of Ridvan Baháʼí
April 29&30 Last Two Days of Passover Judaism
May 2 12th day of Ridvan Baháʼí
May 3 Good Friday Orthodox Christianity
May 5 Pascha/Easter Orthodox Christianity
May 15/23 Vesak/Buddha Day/Buddha Jayanti/Wesak/Vaiśākha Pūrṇima Buddhism
May 23 Declaration of Bab Baháʼí
May 28 Ascension of Baha’u’llah Baháʼí
June 12&13 Shavuot Judaism
June 17 Eid al-Adha Islam