Religious Observances

Mount Holyoke College has provided this list In support of our religiously diverse student population. Note that this list is not exhaustive. The Upcoming Observances tab shows the next 100 observances. The other tabs show observances for the three months as they are labeled.


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.

Litha

Thu, Jun 20, 2024

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. His sacrifice, resulting in his total...

Asalha Puja (Dhamma Day)

Fri, Jun 21, 2024

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 by donating offerings to temples and...

Pentecost (E)

Sun, Jun 23, 2024

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 Pascha (Easter).

Ghambar Maidyoshem begins

Sat, Jun 29, 2024

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

Ghambar Maidyoshem ends

Wed, Jul 3, 2024

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

First of Muḥarram (New Year's Day)

Sun, Jul 7, 2024

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

Āshūrā’

Tue, Jul 16, 2024

‘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 of Allāh’s merciful acts: Noah's safe...

Lammas

Thu, Aug 1, 2024

(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, the sun God whose strength is visibly...

Transfiguration (W, E - New Calendar)

Tue, Aug 6, 2024

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

Eve of Tisha B'Av

Mon, Aug 12, 2024

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 in Jerusalem in ancient times.

Tisha B'Av

Tue, Aug 13, 2024

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.

Raksha Bandhan

Mon, Aug 19, 2024

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 against evil.

Transfiguration (E - Old / Julian Calendar)

Mon, Aug 19, 2024

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

Sri Krishna Jayanti

Mon, Aug 26, 2024

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

Paryushana-parva begins

Sat, Aug 31, 2024

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 fasting, worship of the Jina, and...

Dashalakshani-parva begins

Sun, Sep 8, 2024

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

Paryushana-parva ends

Sun, Sep 8, 2024

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 ideals through fasting, worship of the Jina,...

Ghambar Paitishem begins

Thu, Sep 12, 2024

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

Ghambar Paitishem ends

Mon, Sep 16, 2024

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

Dashalakshani-parva ends

Wed, Sep 18, 2024

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

Mabon

Sun, Sep 22, 2024

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 symbolizes the Goddess' power to transform...

Eve of Rosh Hashanah

Wed, Oct 2, 2024

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 known as the Ten Days of Repentance) that...

Navaratri begins

Thu, Oct 3, 2024

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

Rosh Hashanah

Thu, Oct 3, 2024

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 Repentance) that conclude on Yom Kippur. It...

Navaratri

Fri, Oct 4, 2024

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

Rosh Hashanah

Fri, Oct 4, 2024

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 Repentance) that conclude on Yom Kippur. It...

Navaratri

Sat, Oct 5, 2024

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

Navaratri

Sun, Oct 6, 2024

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

World Communion Sunday

Sun, Oct 6, 2024

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

Navaratri

Mon, Oct 7, 2024

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

Navaratri

Tue, Oct 8, 2024

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

Navaratri

Wed, Oct 9, 2024

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

Navaratri

Thu, Oct 10, 2024

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

Eve of Yom Kippur

Fri, Oct 11, 2024

(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 Jewish year. It is characterized by...

Navaratri

Fri, Oct 11, 2024

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

Ghambar Ayathrem begins

Sat, Oct 12, 2024

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.

Navaratri ends

Sat, Oct 12, 2024

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

Yom Kippur

Sat, Oct 12, 2024

(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 repentance, fasting, and forgiveness.

Dassehra

Sun, Oct 13, 2024

(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 celebration of Navaratri (nine nights) and...

Eve of Sukkot

Wed, Oct 16, 2024

(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 (sukkot) used by Israelites during desert...

Ghambar Ayathrem ends

Wed, Oct 16, 2024

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.

First Day of Sukkot

Thu, Oct 17, 2024

(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 during desert wanderings and conscructed in...

Second Day of Sukkot

Fri, Oct 18, 2024

(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 during desert wanderings and conscructed in...

Instalation of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji

Sun, Oct 20, 2024

This day celebrates the passing on of the Guruship to the Holy Scriptures (the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Last Day of Sukkot

Wed, Oct 23, 2024

(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 during desert wanderings and conscructed in...

Eve of Simcḥat Torah

Thu, Oct 24, 2024

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 along with Shemini Atzeret.

Shmini Atzeret

Thu, Oct 24, 2024

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 the land of Israel.

Simcḥat Torah

Fri, Oct 25, 2024

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.

Samhain

Thu, Oct 31, 2024

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 died during the turning of the past year's...

Diwali/Deepavali or Deepawali or Tihar (Hindu, Jain, Sikh, and Buddhist celebration)

Fri, Nov 1, 2024

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 (the Goddess of Wealth) in the rest of...

Mahavira Nirvana

Fri, Nov 1, 2024

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

Birth of Bahá'u'lláh

Sun, Nov 3, 2024

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

Birthdate of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

Fri, Nov 15, 2024

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 the Sikh Scriptures, the Sri Guru Granth...

Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji

Sun, Nov 24, 2024

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 Sikh Faith, but also for willingly giving...

Day of the Covenant

Mon, Nov 25, 2024

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

Ascension of 'Abdul-Bahá

Wed, Nov 27, 2024

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 the time of His ascension.

Advent begins (Christmas Fast: E - New Calendar)

Sun, Dec 1, 2024

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 January 7. (Eastern Churches)

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Thu, Dec 12, 2024

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 roses Juan Diego found and carried to the...

Yule

Sat, Dec 21, 2024

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, symbolized by the rebirth of the...

Christmas Day

Wed, Dec 25, 2024

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

Eve of Ḥanukkah

Wed, Dec 25, 2024

Observance begins at sundown. The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over occupying forces...

Death Anniversary of Zarathustra

Thu, Dec 26, 2024

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. 6000 BCE. Modern scholarship suggests he...

First Day of Ḥanukkah

Thu, Dec 26, 2024

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over occupying forces in 165 B.C.E., which...

Ḥanukkah

Fri, Dec 27, 2024

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over occupying forces in 165 B.C.E., which...

Ḥanukkah

Sat, Dec 28, 2024

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over occupying forces in 165 B.C.E., which...

Ḥanukkah

Sun, Dec 29, 2024

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over occupying forces in 165 B.C.E., which...

Ḥanukkah

Mon, Dec 30, 2024

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over occupying forces in 165 B.C.E., which...

Ḥanukkah

Tue, Dec 31, 2024

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over occupying forces in 165 B.C.E., which...

Ḥanukkah

Wed, Jan 1, 2025

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over occupying forces in 165 B.C.E., which...

Last Day of Ḥanukkah

Thu, Jan 2, 2025

The Feast of Lights (Feast of Dedication) is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the Temple following the Jews' victory over occupying forces in 165 B.C.E., which...