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Selected Religious Holidays and Celebrations

2019

August 4 - 5

 (sundown Sunday - sundown Monday)

Nag Panchami

Hindu

Worship of snake-deities.

August 9 - 14

(sundown Friday -  sundown Wednesday)

Hajj

Muslim

An obligatory, once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca carried out by all Muslims who have the financial means to go.

August 10 - 11 (sundown Saturday - sundown Sunday)

Eid al-Adha 

Muslim

One of the two main Islamic festivals (the other is Eid al-Fitr), this festival commemorates Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son.

August 14 (Wednesday)

Raksha Bandhan

Holi

The tying of thread, talisman, or amulet on the wrist as a form of ritual protection. The protection is primarily offered by sisters to brothers, but also by priests to patrons, and sometimes by individuals to real or potential benefactors.

August 23 (Friday)

Krishna Janmashthami

Hindu

Annual Hindu festival that demarcates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of god Vishnu.

September 9 - 10 (sundown Monday -  sundown Tuesday)

Ashura Shi'a

Muslim

A day of great mourning, marking the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, Prophet Muhammad's grandson.

September 23 (Monday)

Fall Equinox

Pagan

A celebration of the transition from life to death, the harvest, and the bounty of the earth.

September 29 (Sunday)

Navratri

Hindu

A festival dedicated to the Hindu God Shakti.

September 29 - October 1 (sundown Sunday - sundown Tuesday)

Rosh Hashanah 

Jewish

This marks the beginning of the Jewish year and the beginning of the High Holy Days or the Days of Awe. Observance includes refraining from work.

October 1 (Thursday)

Reformation Day

Protestant Christian

The Protestant Christian anniversary of their tradition and its emphasis on the place of the Bible and religious freedom.

October 8 (Tuesday)

Vijayadashami

Hindu

Hindu celebration of victory and valor.  Lord Rama is remembered as winning a victory over evil.

October 8 - 9 (sundown Tuesday - sundown Wednesday)

Yom Kippur 

Jewish

The Day of Atonement, at 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. Observance includes refraining from work.

October 13 - 20 (sundown Sunday - sundown Sunday)

Sukkot

Jewish

The Feast of the Tabernacles commemorates the dwelling of the Israelites in the wilderness. Jews build sukkot (booths) and spend time in them over the week. Observance includes refraining from work on the first two days.

October 20 - 21 (sundown Sunday - sundown Monday)

Shemini Atzeret

Jewish

The eighth day of Sukkot, this holiday coincides with the beginning of the rainy season in Israel, and incorporates prayers for rain and a good harvest. Observance includes refraining from work.

October 21 - 22 (sundown Monday - sundown Tuesday)

Simchat Torah

Jewish

A celebration of the Torah, this festival marks the end of the annual cycle of Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle. Observance includes refraining from work.

October 27 -

(Sunday)

Diwali (Deepavali) 

Hindu, Jain, Sikh

The festival of lights, celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

October 31 (Thursday)

Samhain

Pagan

On this night, nearly halfway between the Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice, Pagans honor a liminal time when the boundary between the physical and the spiritual world is thinnest, and access to the knowledge of the dead is possible.

November 1 (Friday)

All Saint’s Day

Catholic

A holy day of obligation (which means Catholics are obliged to go to church) that celebrates the Christian saints.

November 2 (Saturday)

All Soul’s Day

Catholic

A day commemorating the faithful departed.

November 2 (Saturday)

Día de los Muertos

Mesoamerican

native and Christian

A festive Mexican holiday when families remember their dead and the continuity of life.

November 2 (Saturday)

Chhath

Hindu

Native to the Madhesh and Mithila regions, Chhath is the worship of the Sun and his wife Usha, thanking them for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes.

November 15 – December 24 (Friday - Tuesday)

Nativity Fast 

Orthodox Christian

The Nativity Fast begins forty days before the Nativity Feast (Jesus' birth) and is a time to prepare, through fasting and prayer, for the upcoming feast.

November 28 (Thursday)

Thanksgiving

Interfaith USA

Day celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year.

December 1 - 24 (Sunday - Tuesday)

Advent

Christian

The season in which Christians prepare and expectantly wait for the birth of Jesus. In the Western Church, Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas Day.

December 8 (Sunday)

Immaculate Conception

Catholic

A feast in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary (holy day of obligation).

December 8  (Sunday)

Bodhi Day

Buddhist

In the Northern or Mahayana tradition, this day celebrates the Buddha's attainment of Enlightenment.

December 22 (Sunday)

Winter Solstice

Neo–Pagan/ Wiccan

The shortest day of the year, Winter Solstice symbolizes the natural cycle of life and death, and the return of light into the world.

December 22 - 30 (Sunday - Monday)

Hanukkah 

The Festival of Lights marks the victory of the Maccabees and rededication of the Temple. It is a celebration of religious freedom and an affirmation of God's saving power.

December 25 (Wednesday)

Christmas

Christian

The celebration of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

December 26 - January 1 (Thursday - Wednesday)

Kwanzaa

African–American

An African American and Pan-African holiday celebrating family, community and culture, Kwanzaa is a secular observance with some religious participation. Seven life virtues are presented. The dates are always December 26 - January 1.

2020

January 1 (Wednesday)

Feast of Mary, Mother of God

Catholic

A holy day of obligation during which Mary, the mother of Jesus, is celebrated.

January 6 (Monday)

Holy Epiphany/Día de los Reyes/Feast of the Theophany

Christian

A celebration of the epiphany (or manifestation) of Jesus' divine nature. Eastern or Orthodox Christian churches commemorate the baptism of Jesus; Western churches commemorate the coming of the Magi or "Wise Men".

January 7 (Tuesday)

Orthodox Christmas

Orthodox Christian

Celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ.

January 10 (Friday)

Mahayana New Year

Buddhist

Begins on the first full moon of January.

January 25 (Saturday)

Chinese/

Vietnamese/

Korean New Year

Buddhist/

Daoist/

Confucian

(secular in origin; observed across religious and secular communities throughout East Asia 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). The holiday is observed primarily in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Vietnam and Korea, and also many Southeast Asian countries with significant population from the above regions. The Year of the Rat begins.

January 29 (Wednesday)

Vasant Panchami 

Hindu

A spring festival that is treated as the start of spring.  This also marks the start of preparation for Honika bonfire and Holi, which occurs forty days later.

February 10 (Monday)

Tu B’shevat

Jewish

The traditional Jewish New Year for trees, this holiday has become a modern celebration of earth and the environment.

February 15 (Saturday)

Nirvana Day

Buddhist

This day is the celebration of the day with Buddha is said to have achieved Parinirvana upon the death of his physical body.

February 21 (Friday)

Maha Shivaratri

Hindu

A Hindu festival in honor of Lord Shiva and his marriage to Goddess Parvati.

February 26 (Wednesday)

Ash Wednesday

Christian

The beginning of Lent, the 40–day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer and repentance that precedes Easter.

March 2 (Monday)

Clean Monday

Orthodox Christian

Eastern Orthodox churches begin the season of Lent, marked by fasting, prayer, and charity.

March 10 (Tuesday)

Purim

Jewish

This joyous celebration of the story of Esther commemorates the victory of the Jews over a tyrannical enemy.

March 10 (Tuesday)

Holi

Hindu

A widely-celebrated festival during which participants throw colored water or powder at one another to celebrate episodes in the life of Krishna.

March 17 (Tuesday)

St. Patrick’s Day

Christian

Christian celebration of Patrick who brought Christianity to Ireland in early days of the faith

March 20 (Friday)

Spring Equinox

Neo–Pagan/Wiccan

A day that marks the rebirth of the year, and celebrates the change of seasons and the rebirth of the spirit after death.

March 25 (Wednesday)

Ramayana

Hindu

March 25 (Wednesday)

New Year

Hindu

The new year is celebrated at various times of the year, usually during spring harvest time, based on the solar or lunar calendars.

April 2 (Thursday)

Ramanavami 

Hindu

The first day of a nine-day festival in honor of Rama. The Ramayana, an Indian Epic, is performed.

April 5 - 12 (Sunday - Sunday)

April 5 - Palm Sunday

April 9 (evening) - 

  Holy Thursday

April 10 - Good Friday

April 12 - Easter

Holy Week/Easter

Christian

The most important Christian holidays, marking the Last Supper, Passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday, with a day of holy observance on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

April 6 (Monday)

Mahavir Jayant

Jain

Jain festival honoring Lord Mahavira on the founder's birthday.

April 8 - 16 (sundown Wednesday - sundown Thursday)

*Seder Nights:

 April 8 and 9

Passover 

Jewish

Passover commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. "Seders," ritual feasts at which the story of the Exodus is recounted, are conducted on the first and second nights*, followed by six more days of observance during which dietary restrictions apply.

April 12 - 20 (Sunday - Monday)

April 12 - Palm Sunday

April 16 (evening) - 

  Holy Thursday

April 17 - Great Friday

April 19 - Pascha

April 20 - Easter Monday

Orthodox Holy Week/Pascha (Easter)

Orthodox Christian

Eastern Orthodox churches observe Holy Week, including Holy Thursday and Great Friday and Easter or Pascha. On Holy Friday, adults abstain from food and drink as their health allows.

April 13 (Monday)

Songkran/Thingyan/ Pi Mai Lao

Buddhist

These days mark the New Year for many countries in Southeast Asia. Cleansing rituals, which represent a cleansing of the soul and a washing away of the old year, are performed.

April 20 - 21 (sundown Monday to sundown Tuesday)

Yom HaShoah

Jewish

Holocaust Memorial Day.

April 23 – May 23 (sundown Thursday –sundown Saturday)

Ramadan

Muslim

The (lunar) month of fasting. Adult Muslims abstain from eating from dawn until sunset.

April 28 - 29 (sundown Tuesday to sundown Wednesday)

Yom Ha’atzmaut

Jewish

Marks the signing of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

May 23 – May 24

(sundown Saturday – sundown Sunday)

Eid al Fitr

Muslim

This three-day celebration marks the end of the month-long

Ramadan fasting and is

known as the “Festival of the Breaking of the Fast".  

May 28 - 30  (sundown Thursday – sundown Saturday)

Shavuot

Jewish

A harvest festival celebrating the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Observance includes refraining from work.

May 31 (Sunday)

Pentecost

Christian

Pentecost celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit and the founding events of the Christian church.

June 7 (Sunday)

Orthodox Pentecost

Orthodox Christian

Pentecost celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit and the founding events of the Christian church.

June 21 (Sunday)

Summer Solstice

Pagan

Midsummer, or the day of "solstinium" ("standing still of the sun") is associated with symbols of fertility, rebirth, the harvest and the bounty of nature.

June 29 (Monday)

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul 

Christian

A liturgical feast in honor of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul.