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

Pagan/Wiccan Pentacle

This day celebrates the Celtic New Year. The dying God returns to the womb of the Goddess in preparation for rebirth at Yule. The souls of those who have...

Christian Cross

A day to honour Christian saints throughout the ages.

Hindu Om

A very popular festival known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali (Deepavali/Deepawali/Tihar in Nepal) is dedicated to the Goddesses Kali in Bengal and Lakshmi...

Mahavira Nirvana

On this day (falling on Diwali), Mahavira (6th century BCE), the 24th Tirthankara, attained nirvana and release from the cycle of rebirth (moksha).

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.

Mount Holyoke Sign for Generic Use

The anniversary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í faith.

Birth date of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

Founder of the Sikh faith and first of the Ten Gurus, Guru Nanak Dev Ji was born in 1469 CE. He was an accomplished poet; 974 of his hymns are contained in...

Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji

This day commemorates the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji (1621-1675), the ninth of the Ten Sikh Gurus. He is remembered not only for his defence of the...

Bahá’í star

This day celebrates the anniversary of the appointment of 'Abdul-Bahá, the son of Bahá'u'lláh, as the Centre of the Covenant.

Bahá’í star

The Ascension of 'Abdul-Bahá, son of Bahá'u'lláh, commemorates His passing. Bahá'í's observe the Holy Day of the Ascension of 'Abdul-Bahá at 1:00 am, about...

Christian Cross

The Christmas Fast is the 40 day period before Christmas, ending on Christmas Eve. The New Calendar locates Christmas on December 25, the Old Calendar on...

Star of David

Observance begins at sundown. The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following...

Star of David

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over...

Star of David

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over...

Star of David

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over...

Star of David

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over...

Star of David

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over...

Star of David

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over...

Star of David

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over...

Star of David

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over...

Buddhist Dharma Wheel

Anniversary of the historical Buddha's awakening. (Mahayana) Japan, North America

Christian Cross

A Roman Catholic feast day that celebrates the belief that Mary, mother of Jesus, was born without sin.

Christian Cross

Commemorates the day on which Guadalupana (the Virgin of Guadalupe) appeared to San Juan Diego and her image appeared on his tilma (apron). The miraculous...

Pagan/Wiccan Pentacle

This day, which marks the New Year in the Anglo-Saxon and northern traditions of Wicca, is the celebration of the birth of the God as the Winter-born King,...

Christian Cross

Christmas celebrates the anniversary of the birth of Jesus. Christmas is given more importance in Western Christianity than in Eastern. College offices are...

Zarathushti symbol

The anniversary of the death of Zarathustra (Zoroaster), the founder of the Zoroastrian faith. His dates are uncertain: the ancient Greeks dated him at ca....

Zarathushti symbol

This period (December 31 - January 4) celebrates the creation of animals. It is also the time for equitable sharing of food.

Zarathushti symbol

Begins December 31 and runs to January 4. Ghambar Maidyarem celebrates the creation of animals and is a time for an equitable sharing of food.

Birthdate of Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666 - 1708)

The tenth and final Sikh Guru, he created the Khalsa, the Fellowship of the Pure, and declared the Scriptures, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, to be the Sikh's...

Christian Cross

Known as the Feast of Theophany (appearance of God) in Orthodox churches, the Feast of Epiphany (appearance or manifestation) comes 12 days after Christmas...

Christian Cross

Known as the Feast of Theophany (appearance of God) in Orthodox churches, the Feast of Epiphany (appearance or manifestation) comes 12 days after Christmas...

Christian Cross

Christmas according to the Julian calendar.

Christian Cross

The New Year by the Julian calendar is observed on this day.

Star of David

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...

Star of David

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...

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

An international Christian ecumenical observance kept annually between January 18 - 25. It is actually an octave, that is, an observance lasting eight days....

Christian Cross

Those Orthodox churches which follow the Old (Julian) Calendar, according to which Christmas falls on January 7, celebrate the Feast of Theophany on January...

Pagan/Wiccan Pentacle

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...

Hindu Om

A North Indian celebration, Vasanta Panchami is associated with Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning and with Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth.

Buddhist Dharma Wheel

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

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

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...

Bahá’í star

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

Christian Cross

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

Buddhist Dharma Wheel

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

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...

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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...

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

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) 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...

Zarathushti symbol

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

Christian Cross

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

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

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....

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Zarathushti symbol

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

Christian Cross

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

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.

Christian Cross

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

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...

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

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...

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

Christian Cross

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

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....

Christian Cross

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

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....

Christian Cross

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

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....

Christian Cross

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

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....

Christian Cross

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

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....

Christian Cross

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

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....

Christian Cross

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

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....