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Selected Religious Holidays and Celebrations

A selection of holidays that may be observed by members of our community during the academic year when classes are in session, based on our records of the religious traditions represented in our student body. More

2017
September 1–5
(sundown Friday to sundown Tuesday) Beginning date can vary by a day
Eid al-Adha Muslim The Festival of the Sacrifice remembers Abraham’s devotion in offering his son as a sacrifice.
September 20–22
(sundown Wednesday to sundown Friday)
Rosh Hashanah Jewish This marks the beginning of the Jewish year and the beginning of the High Holy Days or the Days of Awe. September 29–30 (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) Yom Kippur Jewish The Day of Atonement, the end of the 10 Days of Awe, is devoted to prayer, repentance, and fasting. The Sabbath of Sabbaths in the Jewish calendar, it is the most widely observed Jewish holiday of the year.
October 19 Diwali / Deepavali Hindu, Sikh, Jain The festival of lights, celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.
2018
February 14 Ash Wednesday Christian (Protestant and Roman Catholic) The beginning of Lent, the 40-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer and repentance that precedes Easter.
February 16 Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year) Observed across communities throughout East Asian cultural regions (excluding Japan) Celebrated as the most important holiday of the year in the East Asian lunar calendar (also known as the Chinese lunar calendar).
March 25–April 1 Holy Week/Easter Christian (Protestant and Roman Catholic; Christian Orthodox communities observe Holy Week / Easter April 1-8) Holy Week marks the Last Supper, Passion, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Observances:
  • Palm Sunday, March 25
  • Holy Thursday, March 29
  • Good Friday, March 30
  • Easter, April 1
March 30–April 1
(sundown Friday to sundown Sunday)
1st Days of Passover Jewish Passover commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.

Begins an 8-day holiday in which dietary restrictions apply (March 30–April 7).
April 6–7 Final days of Passover Jewish Some Jews abstain from work during these final days of the holiday

About the Holiday Calendar

Knowledge of the holidays of the world’s religions is part of the "art of living cooperatively in a diverse community" that we aspire for all students to have at Vassar. We hope the calendar will increase the Vassar community’s familiarity with religious traditions and facilitate thoughtful planning of our schedules and activities.

The calendar, compiled by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, attempts to list some of the holidays that may be observed by members of our community during the academic year, based on our records of the religious traditions represented in our student body. It is not an exhaustive list either of religious traditions or of the holidays observed in those traditions. And, while every effort has been made to provide clear and accurate information, some inaccuracies may remain. You may also want to check the many other websites on religious holidays, including the site maintained by PBS's “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly.”

For additional information about these holidays, to offer suggestions about the calendar listings, or to ask questions about any activities and programs you are planning that may conflict with religious holidays, please contact Sam Speers, Director, RSL Office, or 845-437-5550.