Interfaith Calendar

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This resource includes dates, descriptions and information about some of the many religious holy days celebrated by faculty, staff, and students at The College at Brockport. Also included with many are recommended accommodations to assist with planning classroom activities and other academic and co-curricular events.

The following calendar is being used with permission by St. Cloud State University.

Lammas/Lughnasadh (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid)

Date(s): August 1 (annual)
Description:
A celebration of the beginning of the harvest. One of the eight major annual sabbats or festivals.
General Practices: Making and consuming dishes with the first fruits of the harvest.


Eid al-Adha (Muslim)

Date(s): August 21-22, 2018 (August 11-12, 2019)
Description: Eid al-Adha is a major festival that celebrates the willingness to make sacrifices in the name of one's faith. This holiday celebrates the prophet Ibrahim's total faith in God, and Muslims view this holiday as an important annual reminder. Ibrahim was ordered to sacrifice his son in God's name. When Ibrahim was prepared to kill his son, God stepped in and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead. Begins at sundown. Due to the differing interpretations of the lunar calendar, Muslims may differ as to when then they celebrate Eid al-Adha.
General Practices: Prayers and gift giving.
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events and activities on the first day.


Raksha Bandhan (Hindu)

Date(s): August 25, 2018 (August 15, 2019)
Description: An ancient Hindu festival that celebrates the love and duty between brothers and their sisters.
General Practices: The festival is marked by the several rituals, which vary regionally.


Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)

Date(s): September 9-11, 2018 (September 30- October 1, 2019)
Description: Start of the Jewish New Year. Begins at sundown (first day) and ends at nightfall (last day). The Jewish calendar celebrates the New Year in the seventh month (Tishrei) as a day of rest and celebration ten days before Yom Kippur.
General Practices: Prayer in synagogue and festive meals
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on this date. If planning an event, provide food accommodation as requested (kosher restrictions apply).
Events: Services will be held on campus for students, faculty, staff, and their friends on Sunday, September 9, 2018 at 7 pm and Monday, September 10, 2018 at 10 am. All services will be held in room 119 in the Seymour College Union.


Yom Kippur (Jewish)

Date(s): September 18-19, 2018 (October 8-9, 2019)
Description: Yom Kippur is often considered the holiest day of the year for Jews, and the day is dedicated to atonement and abstinence. Begins at sundown (first day) and ends at nightfall (last day).
General Practices: During Yom Kippur, Jews fast from before sundown until after sunset, and light a Yahrzeit memorial candle at sundown on the night of Yom Kippur.
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events or activities on this date and after a day of fasting.
Events: Services will be held on campus for students, faculty, staff, and their friends on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 7 pm and Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 10 am. All services will be held in room 119 in the Seymour College Union.


Mabon/Alban Elfed/Autumnal Equinox (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid)

Date(s): September 23, 2018 (September 23, 2019)
Description: Also referred to as Harvest Home, the Feast of the Ingathering and Meán Fómhair. Mabon is the second celebration of the harvest, a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth. One of the eight major annual sabbats or festivals.
General Practices: At Mabon, day and night are in equal balance. It is a time to offer gratitude for the blessings of the harvest and also to begin to prepare for turning inward. Making dishes with apples, squash and pumpkins as part of ritual celebration is customary.


Sukkot (Jewish)

Date(s): September 23-24, 2018 (October 14-15, 2019)
Description: A week-long celebration which begins with the building of Sukkah for sleep and meals; Sukkot is named for the huts Moses and the Israelites lived in as they wandered the desert before reaching the promised land.
General Practices: Sukkot, beginning at sundown, families in the United States commonly decorate the Sukkah with produce and artwork.
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events or activities on the first two days.


Shemini Atzeret (Jewish)

Date(s): September 30- October 1, 2018 (October 20-21, 2019)
Description: A fall festival, which includes a memorial service for the dead and features prayers for rain in Israel.
General Practices: Beginning at sundown, Jews light a Yahrzeit memorial candle at sundown on Shemini Atzereth (the 8th night of Sukkot).
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events or activities on the first two days.


Simchat Torah (Jewish)

Date(s): October 1-2, 2018 (October 21-22, 2019)
Description: Simchat Torah marks the completion of the annual cycle of the reading of the Torah in the synagogue and the beginning of the new cycle.
General Practices: Practitioners dance in synagogues as all the Torah scrolls are carried around in seven circuits.
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events or activities on the first two days.


Navaratri (Hindu)

Date(s): October 9, 2018 (September 29, 2019)
Description: A Hindu festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. During this time, Hindus worship Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati.
General Practices: Durga is the mother goddess, and so Hindus try to visit their mothers and other relatives during this time. Some Hindus will pray and fast, and there are often feasts and dances.


Samhain (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid)

Date(s): October 31- November 1, 2018 (annual)
Description: One of the four "greater Sabbats" and considered by some to be the Wiccan New Year. A time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, welcome those born during the past year into the community, and reflecting on past relationships, events and other significant changes in life.
General Practices: Paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died.


Diwali (Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain)

Date(s): November 7, 2018 (October 27, 2019)
Description: Diwali—the Hindu "festival of lights"—is an extremely popular holiday for multiple religions throughout Southern Asia. Diwali extends over five days and celebrates the victory of good over evil. Fireworks, oil lamps and sweets are common. The lamps are lit to help the goddess Lakshmi find her way into people's homes.
General Practices: Lighting oil lamps and candles, setting off fireworks, and prayer.
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, and activities on this date. Hindu employees will likely request a vacation day on this date.


Birth of Bahá'u'lláh (Baha'i)

Date(s): November 9-10, 2018 (October 29-30, 2019)
Description: This holiday celebrates the birthday of Bahá'u'lláh, one of the Baha'I faith's most important figures. For Bahá'ís, the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh is a Holy Day celebrating the rebirth of the world through the love of God, just as Christmas is for Christians.
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events or activities on this date. (Baha'i employees will likely request to have this day off.)


Hanukkah/Chanukah (Jewish)

Date(s): December 2-10, 2018 (December 23-30, 2019)
Description: Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights, and lasts for eight days. Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish struggle for religious freedom. The celebration commemorates, which begins at sundown the first day, a miracle in which a sacred temple flame burned for eight days on only one day's worth of oil.
General Practices: On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, Jewish families light an additional candle of the menorah candelabrum until all eight candles are lit. Jews celebrate with food and song, as well as exchanging gifts for eight days.
Recommended Accommodations: Academics and work permitted, not a work holiday.


Yule/Midwinter/Alban Arthan/Winter Solstice (Pagan, Wiccan, and Druid)

Date(s): December 20, 2018- January 1, 2019 (annual)
Description: In most traditions, Yule is celebrated as the rebirth of the Great God, who is viewed as the newborn solstice sun. Some pagans consider Yule to be the beginning of the new year. One of the eight major annual sabbats or festivals. 
General Practices: Burning the yule log is an act of faith and renewal that, indeed, the light, and the warmth will return.


Christmas (Christian/Roman Catholic, Protestant)

Date(s): December 24-25, 2018 (annual)
Description: Christmas is an annual celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah whose message and self-sacrifice began the Christian religion.
General Practices: Many celebrate this holiday by giving gifts, attending church services, decorating Christmas trees and visiting family.
Date details: Begins at sundown on Dec. 24 annually and continues with all day celebration on Dec. 25.
Recommended Accommodations: This is a national holiday in the United States, so special accommodations are likely not required.


Gantan-sai (Shinto)

Date(s): January 1, 2019 (annual)
Description: Gantan-sai is the annual New Year festival of the Shinto religion.
General Practices: Practitioners pray for inner renewal, prosperity and health, as well as visiting shrines and visiting friends and family.
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events and activities on this date (work holiday).


Epiphany/Twelfth Night/Three Kings Day (Christian/Roman Catholic, Protestant)

Date(s): January 6, 2019 (annual)
Description: This date is also known as Befana Day; commemorates the revelation of God through Jesus Christ and marks the time the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem and presented gifts to the baby Jesus.
General Practices: Prayer, festive meals, offerings, gifts.


Christmas (Russian Orthodox Christian)

Date(s): January 7, 2019 (January 7, 2020)
Description: Christmas is an annual celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah whose message and self-sacrifice began the Christian religion.
General Practices: Many celebrate this holiday by attending church services, holding celebratory meals and visiting family.
Date details: Russian Orthodox Christmas is determined by the Julian calendar which regulates ceremonial cycle of the Russian Orthodox Christian churches.
Recommended Accommodations: Because this holiday typically falls during winter break, academic accommodations may not be required. However many Russian Orthodox employees will probably request this day off.


Imbolc/Candlemas (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid)

Date(s): February 1-2, 2019 (annual)
Description: Also referred to as the Feast of Pan, Feast of Torches, Feast of Waxing Lights and Oimele, Celebrates the coming of spring and recovery of the Earth Goddess after giving birth to the Sun God at Yule. For many traditions, a time for initiations, re-dedication and pledges for the coming year. One of the four "greater Sabbats." 
General Practices: Activities might include making candles, reading poetry and telling stories.


Setsubum-sai (Shinto)

Date(s): February 3, 2019 (annual)
Description: Setsubum-sai marks the beginning of spring, and is known as the "bean-throwing festival. The faithful scatter roasted beans to bring good luck to the new season.


Chinese New Year (Confucian, Taoist, Buddhist)

Date(s): February 5, 2019 (January 25, 2020)
Description: This is the most important of traditional Chinese holidays.
General Practices: Families gather together to spend the evening preparing boiled dumplings and festive meals and giving of money to children in red envelopes.
Date details: Corresponds to the New Moon in Aquarius, which can fall from late January to mid-February.
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, and activities on this date. Many Chinese employees will probably request this day off.


Ash Wednesday (Christian/Roman Catholic, Protestant)

Date(s): March 6, 2019 (February 26, 2020)
Description: This is the first day of Lent, the period of forty days before Easter in which many Christians sacrifice ordinary pleasures to reflect on Christ's sacrifice.
General Practices: On this day, there are special church services, and the faithful wear a cross of ashes marked on foreheads. Most Christians abstain from meat on this day.


Ostara/Alban Eilir/Spring Equinox (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid)

Date(s): March 20, 2019 (annual)
Description: Also known as Eostre. Regarded as a time of fertility and conception. In some Wiccan traditions, it is marked as the time when the Goddess conceives the God's child, which will be born at the winter solstice. One of eight major annual sabbats or festivals.
General Practices: Lighting fires to commemorate the return of light in the spring and to honor the God and Goddess. Coloring eggs as a way of honoring fertility is also practiced.


Naw Ruz (Baha'i)

Date(s): March 20-21, 2019 (annual)
Description: This is the Baha'i New Year, a traditional celebration in Iran adopted as a holy day associated with Baha'i. It is a celebration of spring and new life.
General Practices: Festive music dancing, prayers, meetings and meals.


Purim (Jewish)

Date(s): March 20-21, 2019 (March 9-10, 2020)
Description: Purim commemorates the time when the Jews were living in Persia and were saved by the courage of a young Jewish woman called Esther.
General Practices: Many Jews hold carnival-like celebrations on Purim, dressing in costumes, and read the Book of Esther. Triangular, fruit-filled pastries are eaten in opposition to the villain Haman, who wore a three-cornered hat.
Recommended Accommodations: Purim is not subject to the restrictions on work that affect some other holidays; however, some sources indicate that Jews should not go about their ordinary business at Purim out of respect for the festival.


Magha Puja Day (Buddhist)

Date(s): March 21, 2019 (March 9, 2020)
Description: Magha Puja Day commemorates an important event in the life of the Buddha, in which the four disciples traveled to join the Buddha.


Holi (Hindu)

Date(s): March 21, 2019 (March 10, 2019)
Description: Also known as the "Festival of Colors," this holiday can be traced to Hindu scriptures commemorating good over evil. This date is also a celebration of the colorful spring and a farewell to the dull winter.
General Practices: Hindus often sprinkle colored water and powder on others and celebrate with bonfires and lights, signifying victory of good over evil.
Date Details: Celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar moon in late February or early March.


Palm Sunday (Christian/Roman Catholic, Protestant, Russian Orthodox Christianity)

Date(s): April 14, 2019 (April 5, 2020)
Description: A commemoration of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem as crowds lined his path with palm fronds.
General Practices: Prayer, distribution of palm leaves commemorating Jesus' entry into Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion.


Vaisakhi (Sikh)

Date(s): April 14, 2019 (April 13, 2020)
Description: Vaisakhi is the Sikh new year festival and commemorates 1699, the year Sikhism was born. Vaisakhi is also a long-established harvest festival.
General Practices: There are often parades, dancing and singing throughout the day. These celebrations involve music, singing and chanting of scriptures and hymns.


Maundy Thursday (Christian/Roman Catholic, Protestant)

Date(s): April 18, 2019 (April 9, 2020)
Description: Thursday before Easter, commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus with the Apostles.
General Practices: Prayer, Communion (Eucharist), meals, and foot-washing ceremonies among some Christian denominations.
Date Details: Always falls on the Thursday before Easter Sunday.


Good Friday (Christian/Roman Catholic, Protestant)

Date(s): April 19, 2019 (April 10, 2020)
Description: Friday before Easter, commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ; among some sects of Christianity and in many countries marks a day of fasting.
General Practices: Prayer, fasting and noon or afternoon services in some Christian denominations.
Date Details: Always falls on the Friday before Easter Sunday.


Pesach/Passover (Jewish)

Date(s): April 20-27, 2019 (April 9-16, 2020)
Description: Pesach is a week-long observance commemorating the freedom and exodus of the Israelites (Jewish slaves) from Egypt during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramses II (one of three pilgrimage festivals).
General Practices: Family gatherings, ritualized meals called Seders, reading of the Haggadah, lighting of Yahrzeit memorial candle at sundown on the last night of Passover.
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events and activities on the first two and last two days of the holiday.


Easter (Christian/Roman Catholic,  Protestant)

Date(s): April 21, 2019 (April 12, 2020)
Description: Annual commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
General Practices: Celebratory meals, family gatherings, distribution of colored eggs, baskets and chocolate bunnies. It is a celebration of renewal.
Date Details: Easter Sunday is determined by the Gregorian calendar (Gregorian calendar regulates ceremonial cycle of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches).


Holy Friday/Good Friday (Russian Orthodox Christian)

Date(s): April 26, 2019 (April 17, 2020)
Description: Friday before Easter, commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ; among some sects of Christianity and in many countries marks a day of fasting.
General Practices: Prayer, fasting, confession and church services as well as the wrapping or dying of eggs in preparation for Easter Sunday.
Date Details: Orthodox Good Friday is determined by the Julian calendar which regulates ceremonial cycle of the Russian Orthodox Christian churches.
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events and activities on the date.


Pascha/Easter (Russian Orthodox Christian)

Date(s): April 28, 2019 (April 19, 2020)
Description: Annual commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ
General Practices: Celebratory meals, family gatherings, distribution of colored eggs and baskets of breads, meats, eggs, cheeses and other foods. It is a celebration of renewal.
Date Details: Easter Sunday is determined by the Julian calendar which regulates ceremonial cycle of the Russian Orthodox Christian churches.


Yom HaSho'ah (Jewish)

Date(s): April 30- May 1, 2019 (April 20-21, 2020)
Description: Holocaust Remembrance Day; a day to remember the lives and names of Jewish victims and activists of the Holocaust.
General Practices: Ceremonies or events to remember Holocaust victims who died during World War II; activities may include lighting memorial candles and reciting the Kaddish, which is a prayer for the departed.


Beltane (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid)

Date(s): May 1, 2019 (annual)
Description: The fire festival that celebrates the coming of summer and the fertility of the coming year. One of the eight major annual sabbats or festivals.
General Practices: Jumping the balefire and dancing the MayPole.


Ramadan (Muslim)

Date(s): May 6- June 3, 2019 (April 24- May 23, 2020)
Description: Ramadan is an occasion to focus on faith through fasting and prayer, and is one of the most important Muslim holidays. Ramadan is notable because the Qur'an was first revealed during this month, and Muslims see the Qur'an as the ultimate form of guidance for mankind.
General Practices: Fasting is required during the entire month of Ramadan. Muslims refrain from food and beverages during the daylight hours, and smoking and sexual relations are forbidden. Worshipers break the fasting each night with prayer, reading of the Qu'ran, and a meal called the iftar.
Date Details: Dates are determined by the lunar calendar. Lunar calendars can vary based on region and practice. The observed date marks the beginning of a 30 day observation.
Recommended Accommodations: If possible, avoid scheduling major academic deadlines during this time. Be sensitive to the fact that students and employees celebrating Ramadan will be fasting during the day (continuously for 30 days) and will likely have less stamina as a result.


Buddha Day/ Visakha Puja (Buddhist)

Date(s): May 18, 2019 (May 7, 2020)
Description: This holiday is traditionally known as Buddha's birthday. It is the major Buddhist festival, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha.
General Practices: Buddhists often decorate their homes and visit their local temples. Observers are encouraged to refrain from slaughtering and to avoid eating meat on this date.


Ascension of the Baha'ullah (Baha'i)

Date(s): May 29, 2019 (annual)
Description: Commemorates the death of the founder of the Baha'i faith; Baha'llah died on May 29, 1892.
General Practices: Devotional programs and reading from the scriptures.


Eid al-Fitr (Muslim)

Date(s): June 4-5, 2019 (May 23-24, 2020)
Description: Eid al-Fitr means "break the fast", and is the last day of Ramadan, marking the end of a month of fasting.
General Practices: Muslims often pray, exchange gifts, give money to children, feast and celebrate with friends and family.
Date Details: Dates are determined by the lunar calendar. Lunar calendars can vary based on region and practice. Eid al Fitr is a three day celebration and begins at sundown.
Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on this date. Employees will likely ask to take a vacation day on this day, and that request should be granted if at all possible.


Shavuot (Jewish)

Date(s): June 9-10, 2019 (May 29-30, 2020)
Description: Commemorates receipt of the Torah on Mount Sinai (two of three pilgrimage festivals)
General Practices: Evening of devotional programs and studying the Torah, lighting of Yahrzeit memorial candle at sundown on the second night of Shavuot.


Litha/Midsomer/Alban Hefin/Summer Solstice (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid)

Date(s): June 21, 2019 (annual)
Description: A celebration of the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer. Celebration of the Goddess manifesting as Mother Earth and the God as the Sun King. For some Pagans the Summer Solstice marks the marriage of the God and Goddess and see their union as the force that creates the harvest's fruits.
General Practices: Lighting to bonfires and watching the sun rise.


Tisha B'Av (Jewish)

Date(s): August 10-11, 2019 (July 29-30, 2020)
Description: Commemorates a series of Jewish tragedies including the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem.
General Practices: Fasting and mourning.
Date Details: Begins at sundown on first day, fast deferred because of the Sabbath.
Recommended Accommodations: Plan limited activities after a fast.

Last Updated 9/7/18

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