Religious Observances

Mount Holyoke College has provided this list In support of our religiously diverse student population. Note that this list is not exhaustive.


We are indebted to the Multifaith Action Society and Kerry Maloney, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life at Harvard Divinity School for their collective efforts to provide an invaluable resource to us.

Imbolc

Thu, Feb 2, 2023

Also called Imbolg, Candlemas, Brigantia, The Feast of the Waxing Light, and Oimelc. Imbolc celebrates the increasing strength of the God, given as the first and greatest gift of the Goddess. Many...

Eve of Tu B'Shevat

Sun, Feb 5, 2023

Observance begins at sundown. One of four New Year's days, Tu B'Shevat (the 15th day of the month of Shevat) is the New Year's Day for Trees, and traditionally the first of the year for tithing...

Tu B'Shevat

Mon, Feb 6, 2023

One of four New Year's days, Tu B'Shevat (the 15th day of the month of Shevat) is the New Year's Day for Trees, and traditionally the first of the year for tithing fruit of trees. Nowadays, it is a...

Nehan-e (Nirvana Day)

Wed, Feb 15, 2023

Memorial of the historical Buddha passing away. (Mahayana) Japan, North America

Mahashivaratri

Sat, Feb 18, 2023

Dedicated to Shiva, one of the major deities to whom Hindus direct their devotion. The night before the feast, Hindus recite texts, sing, and tell stories in honour of this God whose dynamic cosmic...

Losar - Tibetan New Year

Tue, Feb 21, 2023

Losar is celebrated for 15 days, with the main celebrations on the first three days.

Shrove Tuesday (W)

Tue, Feb 21, 2023

Shrove Tuesday occurs the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in the Roman Catholic Church. ÒShroveÒ is the past tense of the word Òshrive,Ò which means to hear a confession, assign...

Ash Wednesday (W)

Wed, Feb 22, 2023

The beginning of Lent, the forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Wed, Feb 22, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Thu, Feb 23, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Fri, Feb 24, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Sat, Feb 25, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Sun, Feb 26, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Great Fast begins (E)

Mon, Feb 27, 2023

First day of The Great Fast (or the Great Lent), the 40 day period prior to the beginning of Holy Week, ending with Lazarus Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday (Eastern Churches).

Lent

Mon, Feb 27, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Tue, Feb 28, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Wed, Mar 1, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Thu, Mar 2, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Fri, Mar 3, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

World Day of Prayer

Fri, Mar 3, 2023

A world-wide annual day of prayer hosted by women from Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic traditions. Celebrated annually in over 170 countries on the first Friday in March. Every year,...

Lent

Sat, Mar 4, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Sun, Mar 5, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Eve of Purim

Mon, Mar 6, 2023

(Feast of Lots) Observance begins at sundown. Celebrates the rescue of the Jews of ancient Persia from a plot to destroy them as related in the Book of Esther, which is read at this time. Purim is...

Lent

Mon, Mar 6, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Holi

Tue, Mar 7, 2023

A religious spring festival celebrated by people throwing colourful powder and coloured water at each other. Holi is dedicated to Krishna or Kama.

Lent

Tue, Mar 7, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Purim

Tue, Mar 7, 2023

(Feast of Lots) Celebrates the rescue of the Jews of ancient Persia from a plot to destroy them as related in the Book of Esther, which is read at this time. Purim is a joyous holiday, celebrated...

Lent

Wed, Mar 8, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Thu, Mar 9, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Fri, Mar 10, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Sat, Mar 11, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Sun, Mar 12, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Mon, Mar 13, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Tue, Mar 14, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Wed, Mar 15, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ghambar Hamaspath-maedem begins

Thu, Mar 16, 2023

Occurs on the intercalary days (March 16 - 20) and celebrates the creation of human beings and commemorates passed souls.

Lent

Thu, Mar 16, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Fri, Mar 17, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Sat, Mar 18, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Sun, Mar 19, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ghambar Hamaspath-maedem ends

Mon, Mar 20, 2023

Occurs on the intercalary days (March 16 - 20) and celebrates the creation of human beings and commemorates passed souls.

Lent

Mon, Mar 20, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ostara

Mon, Mar 20, 2023

Celebrates the return of the Goddess-as-Maiden, the courting of the Goddess by the God, and the reawakening of the seeds within the earth.

Lent

Tue, Mar 21, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Naw-Rúz

Tue, Mar 21, 2023

Bahá’í New Year. Bahá’ís feast and celebrate during the evening. The first month of the Bahá’í year is Bahá’ (Splendour).

Now Ruz

Tue, Mar 21, 2023

Now Ruz (New Day) is New Year's day for 1389 AY or 3758 AZ in the Fasli (seasonal) calendar. It celebrates the renewal of the world and the creation of fire (symbolic of Asha or righteousness)....

Lent

Wed, Mar 22, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Lent

Thu, Mar 23, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān begins

Thu, Mar 23, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Lent

Fri, Mar 24, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Fri, Mar 24, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Lent

Sat, Mar 25, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Sat, Mar 25, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Birth Anniversary of Zarathustra

Sun, Mar 26, 2023

The birth anniversary of the Prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster), who was born at the beginning of the first millennium BCE. It is one of the most important Zoroastrian festivals.

Lent

Sun, Mar 26, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Sun, Mar 26, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Lent

Mon, Mar 27, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Mon, Mar 27, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Lent

Tue, Mar 28, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Tue, Mar 28, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Lent

Wed, Mar 29, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Wed, Mar 29, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Lent

Thu, Mar 30, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Thu, Mar 30, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Lent

Fri, Mar 31, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Fri, Mar 31, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Lent

Sat, Apr 1, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Sat, Apr 1, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Holy Week begins (W)

Sun, Apr 2, 2023

Holy Week begins in the Western Churches on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter.

Lent

Sun, Apr 2, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Sun, Apr 2, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Lent

Mon, Apr 3, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Mon, Apr 3, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Lent

Tue, Apr 4, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Mahavira Jayanti

Tue, Apr 4, 2023

Celebrates the birthday of Lord Mahavira (Great Hero), the 24th Tirthankara (and the last of this time cycle).

Ramaḍān

Tue, Apr 4, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Eve of Passover (Pesach)

Wed, Apr 5, 2023

Observance begins at sundown. Commemorates the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is celebrated for eight days with special prayers and symbolic foods at home, starting with...

Lent

Wed, Apr 5, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Wed, Apr 5, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

First Day of Passover (Pesach)

Thu, Apr 6, 2023

Commemorates the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is celebrated for eight days with special prayers and symbolic foods at home, starting with the Seder, a ritual meal that...

Lent

Thu, Apr 6, 2023

The forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance and self-denial that precedes Easter. (Western Churches).

Ramaḍān

Thu, Apr 6, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Holy (Good) Friday (W)

Fri, Apr 7, 2023

Commemorates the Passion of Jesus Christ, i.e., his submission to death by crucifixion. Accommodation Possible for special worship may be required for this observance/holy day. See:...

Ramaḍān

Fri, Apr 7, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Second Day of Passover (Pesach)

Fri, Apr 7, 2023

Commemorates the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is celebrated for eight days with special prayers and symbolic foods at home, starting with the Seder, a ritual meal that...

Holy Saturday (W)

Sat, Apr 8, 2023

The final day of Lent, of Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum Ñ Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It is a day of vigil in preparation for Easter. The day culminates with the Easter Vigil...

Ramaḍān

Sat, Apr 8, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Easter (W)

Sun, Apr 9, 2023

Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. It initiates the fifty-day period culminating in Pentecost.

Ramaḍān

Sun, Apr 9, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Easter Monday (E)

Mon, Apr 10, 2023

In many Eastern Orthodox Churches, Easter Monday is a day for religious reflection.

Holy Week begins (E)

Mon, Apr 10, 2023

Holy Week begins in the Eastern Churches the day after Palm Sunday and ends on Holy Friday.

Ramaḍān

Mon, Apr 10, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Ramaḍān

Tue, Apr 11, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Ramaḍān

Wed, Apr 12, 2023

Ramaḍān is the month of fasting (ending with Eid Al Fitr) during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and...

Seventh Day of Passover (Pesach)

Wed, Apr 12, 2023

Commemorates the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is celebrated for eight days with special prayers and symbolic foods at home, starting with the Seder, a ritual meal that...

Eighth Day of Passover (Pesach)

Thu, Apr 13, 2023

Commemorates the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is celebrated for eight days with special prayers and symbolic foods at home, starting with the Seder, a ritual meal that...