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.

Buddhist Dharma Wheel

Tibetan year 2147. Losar is celebrated for 15 days, with the main celebrations on the first three days.

Christian Cross

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...

Christian Cross

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

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...

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...

Star of David

(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...

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.

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....

Sikh New Year's Day

Beginning of the year 552 of the Nanakshahi era.

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.

Bahá’í star

Naw-Rúz (New Year 177 BE of the Bahá’í Era). Bahá’ís feast and celebrate during the evening. The first month of the Bahá’í year is Bahá’ (Splendour).

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...

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

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)

Mahavira Jayanti

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

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,...

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...

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

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

(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...

Christian Cross

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

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.

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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 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....

Christian Cross

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

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...

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...

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....

Bahá’í star

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

Zarathushti symbol

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

Bahá’í star

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

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...

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...

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.

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.

Islamic Mosaic

Literally the Festival of Breaking the Fast, 'Īd al-Fiṭr is one of the two most important Islamic celebrations (the other occurs after the Hajj, or...

Christian Cross

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

Bahá’í star

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

Star of David

Observance begins at sundown. (Feast of Weeks) Shavuot marks the conclusion of the seven weeks following Passover. It is a celebration of the harvest of...

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...

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...

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...

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

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

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...

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....

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.

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...

Bahá’í star

The Martyrdom of The Báb memorializes His death.

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...

Islamic Mosaic

This day commemorates the last revelation to Prophet Muhammad at Mount Arafat shortly before his death. Muslims on _ajj (pilgrimage) attend a service on the...

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...

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,...

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,...

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...

Christian Cross

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

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...

Christian Cross

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

Islamic Mosaic

The First of Muḥarram (first month of the Islamic year 1442 AH) celebrates the Ḥijra (migration) of Muḥammad and his followers in 622 CE, from Mecca to...