Guidance for Religious Observance for Students

At the heart of Gettysburg College’s mission to provide students with a diverse and inclusive learning environment is its commitment to honoring the worth and dignity of all people. This mission extends to the celebration of and respect for our community’s rich religious diversity. Our faculty, staff, and students represent a multitude of religions and faith-based traditions – each with their own set of beliefs, practices, and observances. Gettysburg College understands that religion and faith often play a deeply personal and distinctive role in the lives of members of our community.

In accordance with our mission, the College makes a reasonable effort to support students seeking an accommodation for religious observance. Students who anticipate needing an accommodation for religious observance are encouraged to talk with their faculty, coaches, and supervisors about minimizing conflict with classes and assignments, as well as work or athletic requirements.

Students may request an accommodation for any religious observance.

Consistent with the Policy on Class Attendance published in the Gettysburg College Faculty Handbook, class absences will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and students are responsible for making up any work missed as the result of an accommodation. As soon as reasonably possible, in order to provide sufficient time to discuss, each student has the responsibility to communicate with their course instructors about religious observances that are likely to conflict directly with academic coursework or assignments. Students are also responsible for fulfilling athletic and work commitments and should communicate with athletic coaches and work supervisors to discuss anticipated absences for religious observance.

If a student will be seeking accommodation due to religious observance, students should be prepared to discuss the following with their faculty, coaches, and supervisors:

  • Nature of religious observance
  • Date(s) and times
  • Specific accommodation needed to support observance
  • Timeframe to complete missed work
  • Any special considerations

Students who need support or would like to discuss how to communicate with faculty, coaches, or supervisors may contact Michael Bright, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life and College Chaplain at (717) 337-6280 or Apart from helping students address absences due to religious observances, discussion between students, faculty, and staff will help foster passionate curiosity about the many different religious traditions represented in our community and will create opportunities for enriching interfaith dialogue and exploration.

The College wishes to draw attention to the following observances which are time sensitive in nature. Please review the Religious and Spiritual Life calendar for additional information:

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.

Students and student organizations are not permitted to sponsor campus wide or mandatory events on the dates/ times noted above, with the exception of educational events where the meaning and significance of religious observances are shared with the broader campus community.