Religious Holidays

On this page:

What is a religious holiday?

What, exactly, is a religious holiday? How are they defined? When you look at your own religious tradition, you may think the answer is straightforward, but when you start to dig into the question more deeply—and begin to look at traditions other than your own—things become much more complex very quickly.

The fact is, even within the same religion, religious holidays are both defined and experienced quite differently by individuals, especially when those individuals come from distinct family backgrounds—to say nothing of distinct cultural contexts. How much more so, then, when we look at different religions, do we find even greater variance: Western societies heavily influenced by monotheistic Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions think about religious holidays much differently than Eastern societies heavily influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, for example.

Why we recognize a variety of religious holidays

Yet this multivalent understanding and experience of religion is not reason to avoid the category of “religious holiday” altogether. For most religions, specific “holy” days are a key aspect of religious practice, belief, and belonging, and an important means by which individuals and their communities reinforce their identities and their relationships—with each other, with family and friends across time and space (including the deceased), and with the Divine.

Therefore, for many adherents of a religious tradition, the freedom and support to observe these holidays are of central importance to one’s self-understanding; and particularly for college students, this becomes a means of reinforcing one’s relational identity even when far from home, family, and culture.

Learn more about religious holidays

To this end, we have established this calendar of important religious holidays from a wide variety of traditions. It is not meant to be comprehensive—for that, please see Interfaith Calendar, which includes both current dates and definitions of a vast number of different religious celebrations. Instead, here, we have sought to reflect our own particular student population, and the specific needs of our community.

We encourage you to peruse this list and learn more! The Pluralism Project is another excellent website in this regard. Here, you will find not only information about various religious traditions, but also locations of places of worship all across the United States.

We hope you appreciate and enjoy these resources; if you have any questions, or would like to talk further, please contact our office.

Calendar of religious holidays

Current year: These dates are for the 2023–24 Academic Year.

Holidays in 2023

Holiday Dates Faith
Eid al–Adha June 28-29* Islam (dates dependent on the sighting of the new moon crescent)
First of MuharramJuly 19Islam
Ashura July 27* Islam
Krishna Janmashtami Septemer 6 Hinduism
Rosh Hashanah (New Year) September 15–17* Judaism
Ganesh Chaturthi September 19 Hinduism
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) September 24-25* Judaism
Sukkot September 29-October 6* Judaism
Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah October 6-8* Judaism
Navratri October 15–October 24 Hinduism
All Saints Day November 1 Christianity
Day of the Dead November 1-2 Mexico/Catholicism
Diwali November 12 Hinduism
Advent December 3–December 24 Christianity
Feast of the Immaculate Conception December 8 Christianity
Bodhi Day/Rohatsu (Japan) December 8 Buddhism
Our Lady of Guadalupe December 12 Christianity
Hanukkah December 7-15* Judaism
Christmas December 25 Christianity
Kwanzaa December 26–January 1 African–American
Feast of the Holy Family December 31 Christianity

Holidays in 2024

Holiday Dates Faith
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary January 1 Christianity
Christmas January 7 Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Lunar New Year February 10 Confucianism/Taoism/Buddhism
Maha Shivaratri March 8 Hinduism
Ash Wednesday February 14 Christianity
Ramadan begins (30 days) March 10* Islam (dates dependent on the sighting of the new moon crescent)
Orthodox Great Lent begins March 18 Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Purim March 23-24* Judaism
Palm Sunday March 24 Christianity
Holi March 25 Hinduism
Maundy Thursday March 28 Christianity
Good Friday March 29 Christianity
Easter March 31 Christianity
Eid al Fitr April 9-10* Islam (dates dependent on the sighting of the new moon crescent)
Passover April 22–30* Judaism
Pascha May 5 Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Pentecost May 19 Christianity
Vesak May 23 Buddhism
Shavuot June 11-13* Judaism
Eid al-Adha June 16-17* Islam (dates dependent on the sighting of the new moon crescent)

*Some holy days start at sundown of the evening before the listed start date and end at sundown or nightfall of the concluding date listed.