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.

Upcoming Observances

Christian Cross

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

Star of David

(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....

Bahá’í star

The 12th Day of Riḍván concludes this important Bahá'í festival.

Mount Holyoke Sign for Generic Use

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...

Hindu Om

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...

Christian Cross

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...

Zarathushti symbol

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

Zarathushti symbol

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

Pagan/Wiccan Pentacle

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.

Zarathushti symbol

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...

Zarathushti symbol

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...

Star of David

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

Star of David

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

Hindu Om

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

Celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. (Western Calendar)

Christian Cross

Celebrates the institution of the Lord's Supper by Jesus.

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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....

Star of David

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

Christian Cross

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

Star of David

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

Christian Cross

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

Star of David

(Holocaust Remembrance Day) Observance begins at sundown. Memorializes the six milliion Jews who died as victims of the Nazis during World War II and...

Star of David

(Holocaust Remembrance Day) Memorializes the six milliion Jews who died as victims of the Nazis during World War II and emphasizes respect for human dignity....

Islamic Mosaic

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....

Mount Holyoke Sign for Generic Use

Observed over two days, the Saka calendar's New Year's Day is a religious and cultural celebration for Sinhalese, Indians, Burmese, Kampucheans, Laotians and...

Islamic Mosaic

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....

Vaisakhi

Vaisakhi is important for Sikhs because on this day in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Guru, removed the clerical system from Sikhism. Thus he...

Hindu Om

The first day of the solar year, Vaisakhi celebrates the harvest. It is especially important in North India. Vaisakhi, as a Hindu festival, is celebrated in...

Bahá’í star

The Festival of Riḍván, termed by Bahá’u’lláh the “Most Great Festival” and the “King of Festivals”, commemorates the 12 days that Bahá’u’lláh spent in the...

Hindu Om

Celebrates the birthday of Rama, the seventh incarnation of the God Vishnu. During the previous eight days, Hindus read the Ramayana, a Hindu epic, which...

Christian Cross

(Eastern Calendar) Commemorates the raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus (John 11:1-45). It is a day of both death and life, marking the final great...

Mahavira Jayanti

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

Christian Cross

(Eastern Calendar) Celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

Christian Cross

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

Bahá’í star

The 9th Day of Riḍván is when Bahá’u’lláh’s family joined Him at the garden of Riḍván in Baghdad.

Christian Cross

Celebrates the institution of the Lord's Supper by Jesus.

Zarathushti symbol

Ghambar Maidyozarem (April 30 - May 4) celebrates the creation of sky and the harvesting of the winter crop.

Christian Cross

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

Pagan/Wiccan Pentacle

Also called Beltain, May Eve [April 30] and May Day, Beltane celebrates the conjoining of the infinite potential of the Goddess with the life-sparking energy...

Christian Cross

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....

Christian Cross

(Orthodox Easter) Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. It initiates the fifty-day period culminating in Pentecost.

Islamic Mosaic

Also known as the, Night of Power, Laylat al-Qadr commemorates the first revelation of the Qur'an (Islamic scriptures) to Prophet Muhammad in 610 CE....

Christian Cross

The anniversary of Jesus's ascension into heaven and enthronement as universal sovereign. It comes forty days after Easter.

Islamic Mosaic

Literally the Festival of Breaking the Fast, Eid Al Fitr is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations (the other occurs after the Hajj, or...

Sikh New Year's Day

Beginning of the year 552 of the Nanakshahi era.

Star of David

(Feast of Weeks) Shavuot marks the conclusion of the seven weeks following Passover. It is a celebration of the harvest of first fruits and commemorates the...

Star of David

(Feast of Weeks) Shavuot marks the conclusion of the seven weeks following Passover. It is a celebration of the harvest of first fruits and commemorates the...

Bahá’í star

The birth anniversary of The Báb (Herald of the new age for Bahá'ís). His shrine is at the Bahá'í World Centre, Haifa, Israel.

Christian Cross

Also known as Whitsunday in some Western churches, Pentecost is the commemoration of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus following his...

Buddhist Dharma Wheel

The most important day of the year for Buddhists. Coming on the full moon, it commemorates the birth, awakening, and passing away (paranibbana) of the...

Bahá’í star

Marks the anniversary of the death of the founder of the Bahá'í faith.

Star of David

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

Christian Cross

A celebration of the Christian understanding of God in Three Persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). It comes one week after Pentecost. (Western Churches)

Christian Cross

The anniversary of Jesus's ascension into heaven and enthronement as universal sovereign. It comes forty days after Pascha.

Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji

Guru Arjan Dev Ji (1563-1606) was the first Sikh Martyr and the fifth Guru. He built the Harimandir Sahib (Home of the Divine) in which Sikhs could meet to...

Christian Cross

Pentecost is the commemoration of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus following his ascension (Acts 2:1-11). It comes fifty days after...

Pagan/Wiccan Pentacle

Also called Midsummer's Eve, Litha celebrates the consummation of the sacred marriage in which the energy of the God is poured out in the service of life....

Christian Cross

A day to honor Christian saints throughout the ages. (Eastern Churches)

Zarathushti symbol

Ghambar Maidyoshem (June 29 - July 4) celebrates the creation of water, the sowing of the summer crop and the harvesting of grain.

Zarathushti symbol

Ghambar Maidyoshem (June 29 - July 4) celebrates the creation of water, the sowing of the summer crop and the harvesting of grain.

Bahá’í star

The Martyrdom of The Báb memorializes His death.

Star of David

Tisha B'Av, the Ninth day of the month of Av, is a major fast day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in ancient times.

Islamic Mosaic

Also called the Festival of Sacrifice, this day is the concluding act of pilgrimage and is observed even when not on pilgrimage. As Abraham offered his son,...

Buddhist Dharma Wheel

Asalha Puja (Dhamma Day) commemorates the BuddhaÕs first discourse, given to the five monks at the Deer Park at Sarnath, near Varanasi. The day is observed...

Pagan/Wiccan Pentacle

(Also called Lughnasad) Lammas is the celebration of the grain harvest, the Harvest of First Fruits. Many traditions celebrate Lammas as the funeral of Lugh,...

Christian Cross

Transfiguration celebrates the appearance of Jesus in a transfigured state during his earthly life to three of his disciples.

Islamic Mosaic

‘Āshūrā’ in Arabic means "the 10th", and is commemorated on the 10th day of the Islamic month of Muharram. For Sunni Muslims Āshūrā is a time to remember two...

Christian Cross

Transfiguration celebrates the appearance of Jesus in a transfigured state during his earthly life to three of his disciples.

Hindu Om

Raksha Bandhan (tying on protection) is a festival in which married and unmarried girls and women tie amulets on the wrists of their brothers for protection...

Hindu Om

(Also called Janmashtami) celebrates the birthday of Krishna, the eighth of the 10 incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu. Krishna is considered the preserver...

Paryushana-parva begins

The holiest period of the year for the ascetic Shvetambara sect. This 8 day period, concluding on Samvatsari, is a time of dedication to Jain ideals through...

Star of David

Observance begins at sundown. The Jewish New Year and the anniversary of the creation of the world, Rosh Hashanah is the first of the Ten Days of Awe (also...

Star of David

The Jewish New Year and the anniversary of the creation of the world, Rosh Hashanah is the first of the Ten Days of Awe (also known as the Ten Days of...

Hindu Om

Celebrates the birthday of Ganesh, God of Success.

Dashalakshani-parva begins

The Digambara sect celebrates Dashalakshani-parva for ten days (until September 2) by fasting, worship, meditation, confession, and by dedicating each day to...

Paryushana-parva ends

The holiest period of the year for the ascetic Shvetambara sect. During this 8 day period, concluding on Samvatsari, it is a time of dedication to Jain...

Zarathushti symbol

Ghambar Paitishem (September 12 - 16) celebrates the creation of the earth and the harvesting of the summer crop.

Star of David

(Day of Atonement) Observance begins at sundown. The conclusion of the 10 Days of Awe, Yom Kippur is the holiest and most solemn of all days in the the...

Zarathushti symbol

Ghambar Paitishem celebrates the creation of the earth and the harvesting of the summer crop.

Star of David

(Day of Atonement) The conclusion of the 10 Days of Awe, Yom Kippur is the holiest and most solemn of all days in the the Jewish year. It is characterized by...

Star of David

Observance begins at sundown. Tisha B'Av, the Ninth day of the month of Av, is a major fast day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples...

Dashalakshani-parva ends

The Digambara sect celebrates Dashalakshani-parva for ten days (until September 2) by fasting, worship, meditation, confession, and by dedicating each day to...

Star of David

(Feast of Booths) Observance begins at sundown. An eight-day Jewish festival of booths (or tabernacles) and the fall harvest. The name refers to the booths...

Star of David

(Feast of Booths) An eight-day Jewish festival of booths (or tabernacles) and the fall harvest. The name refers to the booths (sukkot) used by Israelites...

Pagan/Wiccan Pentacle

Also known as Harvest Home, Mabon celebrates life's encapsulation as a seed to survive the cold, barren winter and the Harvest of the Vine, which as wine...

Star of David

(Feast of Booths) An eight-day Jewish festival of booths (or tabernacles) and the fall harvest. The name refers to the booths (sukkot) used by Israelites...

Star of David

Observance begins at sundown.

Star of David

(Feast of Booths) An eight-day Jewish festival of booths (or tabernacles) and the fall harvest. The name refers to the booths (sukkot) used by Israelites...

Star of David

Observance begins at sundown. Simcḥat Torah (Rejoicing of the Law) is the beginning of the synagogue's annual Torah reading cycle. Reform Jews celebrate it...

Star of David

Shmini Atzeret (the Eighth Day of Assembly) is a separate holiday concluding Sukkot and the entire fall holiday season. It marks the beginning of winter in...

Star of David

Simcḥat Torah (Rejoicing of the Law) is the beginning of the synagogue's annual Torah reading cycle. Reform Jews celebrate it along with Shemini Atzeret.

Mount Holyoke Sign for Generic Use

Celebrated in Christian congregations around the world, annually, on the first Sunday in October when they can experience Holy Communion as a global faith...

Hindu Om

Navaratri is a nine night festival that honors the Mother Goddess in all her manifestations, including Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. It is a festival...

Hindu Om

Navaratri is a nine night festival that honors the Mother Goddess in all her manifestations, including Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. It is a festival...

Zarathushti symbol

Observed from October 12 - 16, this day celebrates the creation of plants, the sowing of the winter crop, and the return of herds from pasture.

Hindu Om

Navaratri is a nine night festival that honors the Mother Goddess in all her manifestations, including Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. It is a festival...

Hindu Om

(Vijay Dasami) celebrates the victory of good over evil: of Lord Rama over the demon Ravan, and the Goddess Durga over a demon. It follows the nine-day...

Zarathushti symbol

Observed from October 12 - 16, this day celebrates the creation of plants, the sowing of the winter crop, and the return of herds from pasture.