Holy Days & Observances
Use this calendar as a resource for education and accommodation as you plan classroom, academic and co-curricular events.
When scheduling tests, deadlines, events or activities, it is vital that we reasonably accommodate all faculty, staff and students for observation of their religious holidays. It is against federal law to discriminate on the basis of religious or spiritual beliefs. At Carolina, ensuring that everyone feels welcome and has a sense of belonging is a priority.
Practice saying the customary greeting (pronunciations provided) to say to your colleagues, students and faculty – it will go a long way to making them feel welcomed and acknowledged!
For questions about this calendar, please contact the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion at email@example.com or 919-843-6086.
About the Holy Days Observances Calendar
- Some religious communities limit or avoid their use of technology during holy days, which also include the Sabbath (celebrated by Jews from Friday night through Saturday night). Such technology includes but is not limited to the use of virtual learning platforms.
- Bahá’í, Judaic and Islamic observances begin at sundown and end at sundown on the dates listed.
- “Kosher restrictions apply” refers to the dietary restrictions of Jewish Law that include avoidance of pork, shellfish and mixing dairy with meat.
- “Halal restrictions apply” refers to the dietary restrictions of Islamic Law. These include pork and alcohol.
- Although the dates listed are based on the Gregorian calendar, many cultures and religions are lunar or solar-based
- Not all holy days in every religious and spiritual tradition are included in this calendar and there may be some variances to dates due to regional differences.
Numerous spaces are available across campus for prayer, meditation and quiet reflection. Click here for details.
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2023 Holy Days & Observances
Shavuot (Jewish) commemorates the giving of the Torah from God to the nation of Israel on top of Mount Sinai. Common traditions include studying the Torah, devotional programs, the lighting of the Yahrzeit memorial candle and reciting Yizkor, the prayer for the dead.
Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib (Sikh) commemorates Guru Arjan Dev Sahib becoming the first martyr. Common traditions include praying, singing hymns, and attending Sikhism-based lectures.
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish) is literally the “head of the year”, or Jewish New Year, celebrated with remembrance and judgement and auguring in the 10 days of reflection and atonement leading up to Yom Kippur. Common traditions include large meals and prayer.
Yom Kippur (Jewish) is considered the holiest of days for Jews, dedication to reparation and abstinence. Common traditions include a day of fasting, praying and the lighting of a Yahrzeit memorial candle in memory of loved ones.
September 29-October 6
Sukkot/Succot (Jewish) is a week-long festival celebrating and giving thanks for the Fall harvest. Common traditions include decorating the Sukkah, an outdoor “room” with a view of the sky.
Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah (Jewish) features the prayer for rain and the Yizkor prayer for the dead wile Simchat Torah celebrates the Torah with marching, dancing and reading of the Torah.
Diwali/Deepavali (Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist) Known as the “Festival of Lights,” it is celebrated by various Southern Asian religions. Participants celebrate the triumph of good over evil (or lightness over darkness). Common traditions include the lighting of oil lamps, setting off fireworks and praying.
Christmas Day (Christian) honors the birth of Jesus Christ and his self-sacrifice. Common traditions include gift-giving, praying in church, decorating Christmas trees and visiting family.
2024 Holy Days & Observances
Vaikunta Ekadasi (Hindu) Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is believed that on this day, the gate to heaven opens. Common traditions include fasting, worshipping, meditating and singing.
Ash Wednesday (Christian) Signifying the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period leading up to Easter, during which many Christians give up some of their common pleasures. Common traditions include wearing a cross of ashes on one’s forehead and attending church service.
Maha Shivaratri (Hindu) Honoring Shiva, one of the Hindu deities. Common traditions include fasting, meditating, singing and all night worshipping.
March 11-April 9
Ramadan/Ramazan (Islam) Focusing on faith, this holy observance celebrates the Quran being revealed for the first time during this month on the night of Laylat al Qadr. Common traditions include fasting during daylight hours, eating the iftar meal each night after reading the Quran, refraining from any bad habits and attending night prayers at Mosques.
Ramakrishna (Hindu) Honoring the birth of Ramakrishna, a Hindu mystic and saint.
Norouz/Norooz/Naw-Ruz (Bahá’í) The Bahá’í New Year, honoring spring and the new life that comes with it. Common traditions include praying, dancing and eating large meals.
Purim (Jewish) Commemorating Esther saving the Jews that were living in Persia. Common traditions include reading the Book of Esther, dressing in costumes, holding carnivals and eating hamentaschen (triangular, filled pastries).
Good Friday (Christian) Commemorating the execution of Jesus, this holy day occurs the Friday before Easter. Common traditions include attending church service, praying and fasting.
Easter (Christian)Recognizing Jesus’ resurrection from death. Common traditions include gifting others with colorful eggs and candy (sometimes chocolate-shaped bunnies) and gathering with family for a large meal.
Laylat Al Qadr (Islam) Commemorating the Quran first being revealed to Muhammed, this holy day is traditionally celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan. Common traditions include praying late into the evening.
Eid Al-Fitr (Islam) Signifying the last day of Ramadan and the end of the fasting period. Common traditions include exchanging gifts, praying, and feasting with friends and family.
Baisakhi/Birthday of the Khalsa (Sikh) Celebrating the New Year and founding of Sikhism in 1699. Common traditions include dance, music, parades and the chanting of scripture.
Passover/Pesach (Jewish) Honoring the emancipation of the Jewish slaves from ancient Egypt and the delivering of the subsequent delivering of the 10 Commandments from God. Common traditions include the ritual seder meal, reading from the Haggadah, family gatherings and lighting of the ahrzeit memorial candle.
Pascha (Eastern Orthodox) Recognizes Jesus’ resurrection from death. Twelve weeks of preparation precede this holy day. Celebrated with a collection of services combined as one.
Yom HaShoah (Jewish) Held to remember the lives lost in the Holocaust and the many brave activists who fought against it. Common traditions include memorial ceremonies during which names of the dead are read aloud and the reciting of the Kaddish (prayer for the dead).