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 2021–22 Academic Year.

Holidays in 2021

Holiday Dates Faith
Eid al–Adha July 20–23* Islam (dates dependent on the sighting of the new moon crescent)
Krishna Janmashtami August 3 Hinduism
First of Muharram August 10 Islam
Ashura August 18* Islam
Ganesh Chaturthi September 10 Hinduism
Rosh Hashanah (New Year) September 7–8* Judaism
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) September 16* Judaism
Sukkot September 21–27* Judaism
Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah September 28* Judaism
Navratri October 17–14 Hinduism
Day of the Dead October 31 Mexico/Catholicism
All Saints Day November 1 Christianity
Diwali November 4 Hinduism
Advent November 28–December 24 Christianity
Hanukkah November 29–December 6* Judaism
Feast of the Immaculate Conception December 8 Christianity
Rohatsu (Japan) December 8 Buddhism
Our Lady of Guadalupe December 12 Christianity
Christmas December 25 Christianity
Kwanzaa December 26–January 1 African–American
Feast of the Holy Family December 26 Christianity

Holidays in 2022

Holiday Dates Faith
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary January 1 Christianity
Christmas January 7 Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Asian Lunar New Year February 1 Confucianism/Taoism/Buddhism
Maha Shivaratri March 1 Hinduism
Ash Wednesday March 2 Christianity
Orthodox Great Lent begins March 7 Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Purim March 17* Judaism
Ramadan begins (30 days) April 3* Islam (dates dependent on the sighting of the new moon crescent)
Vesak April 8 Buddhism
Palm Sunday April 10 Christianity
Passover April 16–22* Judaism
Holi March 18 Hinduism
Maundy Thursday April 14 Christianity
Good Friday April 15 Christianity
Easter April 17 Christianity
Pascha April 24 Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Eid al Fitr May 2–3* Islam (dates dependent on the sighting of the new moon crescent)
Pentecost June 2 Christianity
Shavuot June 5–6* Judaism
Ashura August 8 Islam

*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.