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Religious & Spiritual Life

2020 Religious Observances Calendar

The following calendar is taken from the InterFaith Calendar. Jewish holy days and the weekly Sabbath begin at sunset on the day preceding the given date, as does Ramadan.

January 7th, 2020: Christmas (Eastern Orthodox) (Julian Calendar) - Orthodox Christian. Celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ

January 15th, 2020: Makara Sankrati- A celebration marking the advent of the Sun’s northerly migration and forthcoming Spring


February 21st, 2020: Maha Shivaratri- An evening celebration of the wedding of Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati

February 26th, 2020: Ash Wednesday - Christian. The beginning of Lent, a 40-day period preceding Easter

March 1st-March 19th: Nineteen Day Fast- Bahá’í Faith. Bahá’ís between the ages of 15 and 70 fast without food or drink from sunrise to sunset

March 10th, 2020: Holi- Hindu. Festival of colors. A two-day festival, Holi celebrates the advent of spring and the enduring message that good will always be victorious over evil

March 10th, 2020: Purim- Jewish. Celebration of the story of Esther

March 20th, 2020: Nowruz (New Year)- Zoroastrian and Bahá’í Faith

March 22nd, 2020: Lailat al Miraj- Muslim. Commemoration of Prophet Muhammad’s ascension to Heaven

April 2nd, 2020: Rama Navami- Celebration of the birth of Sri Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who helped restore the balance of good over evil

April 5th, 2020: Palm/Passion Sunday- Christian. Celebration of joyful entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem

April 8th, 2020: Buddha’s Birthday - Hanuman Jayanti- Celebrates the birthday of Hanuman, foremost devotee of Sri Rama and Sita

April 9th-15th, 2020: Pesach (Passover)- Jewish. Festival of liberation of Israelites from Slavery in Egypt. Work is prohibited on the first and last two days

April 9th, 2020: Maundy/Holy Thursday- Christian. Commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus with Disciples

April 10th, 2020: Good Friday- Christian. Commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus

April 12th, 2020: Easter- Christian. Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus

April 13th, 2020: Vaisakhi- Sikh. Marks the formation of the Khalsa (religious community of Sikhs) by Guru Gobind Singh

April 17th, 2020: Good Friday (Eastern Orthodox)– Eastern Orthodox. Solemn day of mourning for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ

April 19th, 2020: Pascha (Orthidox Christian)- Orthodox Christian. Celebration of Resurrection of Jesus

April 20th, 2020-May 1st, 2020: Ridvan- Bahá’í Faith. Commemoration of the 12 days when its Founder, Baha’u’llah, declared his mission

April 24th-May 23rd, 2020: Ramadan- Muslim. Holy month of fasting.

May 1st, 2020: Beltane- Wiccan/Pagan. Festival of Light honoring Life and Fertility

May 19th, 2020: Laylat al Kadr- Muslim. This is considered the holiest night of the year for Muslims, and is traditionally celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan. It is known as the “Night of Power,” and commemorates the night that the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

May 24th, 2020: Eid al-Fitr- Muslim. Day that marks the end of Ramadan.

May 29th-30th, 2020: Shavuot- Jewish. Jewish celebration of Moses' descent from Mt Sinai with the ten commandments.


July 5th, 2020: Asalha Puja Day (Dharma Day)- Buddhist. Buddhist holiday to celebrate the very first teachings from Buddha.

July 9th, 2020: Martyrdom of the Bab- Baha'i. Ali Mohammed was executed in 1850 by Persian political and religious powers. Observed by abstaining from commerce and work.

July 13th-15th: Obon (Ullambana)- Buddhist/Shinto. Japanese Buddhist festival to honor deceased ancestors. Involves lighting of bonfires, traditional meals, paper lanterns, folk dances.

July 30th, 2020: Tish'a B'av - Jewish. A Jewish day of fasting in remembrance of the destruction of the Temple in 586 b.c.e. and 70 c.e

July 30th, 2020: Waqf al Arafa - Muslim. Islamic observance day during Hajj when pilgrims pray for forgiveness and mercy.

July 31st-August 3rd, 2020: Eid al Adha- Muslim. Islamic Ritual of Sacrifice. The day after Arafat, the most important day in Hajj ritual.  A three-day festival recalling Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to Allah.

 

August 11th, 2020: Krishna Janmashtami- Hindu. Hindu celebration of the birthday of Krishna. Nightlong prayers are held in the Temples. A two day observance.

August 15th, 2020: Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary- Catholic Christian. Roman Catholic Christian observance commemorating the belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthly life.

August 20th, 2020: Hijra- Muslim. The Islamic New Year.

August 29th, 2020: Ashura– Muslim. Marks the tenth day of Muharram; day of atonement and mourning; marks the day that Moses and the Israelites were saved from Pharaoh by God creating a path in the seas.


September 19th-20th, 2020: Rosh Hashanah, first two days- Jewish. The Jewish New Year festival.

September 28th, 2020: Yom Kippur- Jewish. Jewish Day of Atonement. This holiest day of the Jewish year is observed with strict fasting and ceremonial repentance.

October 3rd, 2020: Sukkot- Jewish. Jewish Feast of Tabernacles which celebrates the harvest and the protection of the people of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness dwelling in tents. 

October 4th: St. Francis Day-  Catholic Christian. Christian recognition of service to people and appreciation of the natural world, as practiced by St Francis and the Franciscan Monastic Order which he founded.

October 4th: Blessing of the Animals - Christian. Christian observance of showing respect for the domestic animals that mean much to people. Observed on various dates - especially related to St. Francis.

October 25th, 2020: Dasara- Hindu. Hindu celebration of victory and valor. Lord Rama is remembered as winning a victory over evil.

October 29th, 2020: Mawlid an Nabi- Islam. Islamic commemoration of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, in about 570 c.e. Not universally observed. The prophet's teachings are read and religious meetings are held. Shia and Sunni on separate days.

October 31st, 2020: All Hallows Eve- Christian. Christian celebration of mystery combining prayers and merriment involving children and families. It is a prelude to All Saint's Day.

October 31st, 2020: Reformation Day- Protestant Christian. Protestant Christian anniversary of their tradition and its emphasis on the place of the Bible and religious freedom.

November 1st, 2020: All Saints Day- Christian. Christian day for honoring saints, known and unknown.  In general, saints are persons with reputation for unusual lives of holiness and devotion to God or who were martyred for their faith.

November 1st, 2020: Samhain-Beltane- Wiccan/Pagan. Samhain (Southern Hemisphere): Wicca celebration of endings and beginnings and of remembering the dead. Revering of elders is also observed. Beltane (Northern Hemisphere): Wicca celebration of the conjoining of the goddess with the energy of the god in the sacred marriage which is the basis of all creation.

November 2nd, 2020: All Souls Day- Catholic Christian. Christian day of prayers of remembrance and intercession for the dead. Prayers of the faithful are seen as helping to cleanse the souls for the beatific vision of God in heaven. 

November 14th, 2020: Diwali- Hindu.  Hindu festival of lights, symbolizing the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance."

November 29th-December 24th, 2020: Advent- Christian. Christian time of preparation for observing the birth of Jesus Christ.

December 8th, 2020: Buddha’s Enlightenment Day (Bodhi Day)- Buddhist. Buddhist celebration of the time when Prince Gautama took his place under the Bodhi tree, vowing to remain there until he attained supreme enlightenment.

December 8th, 2020: Immaculate Conception of Mary- Catholic Christian. Catholic Christian day of celebrating the belief that Mary, mother of Jesus, was preserved from original sin all of her life.

December 12th, 2020: Feast day - Our Lady of Guadalupe - Catholic Christian. Catholic Christian honoring of a legendary appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531 c.e.

December 21st, 2020: Yule-Litha- Wiccan/Pagan. Yule (Northern Hemisphere): Norse pagan celebration of the winter-born king, symbolized by the rebirth of the sun. Litha (Southern Hemisphere): Wicca celebration of the sacred marriage in which energy of the gods is poured into the service of life.

December 24th, 2020: Christmas Eve- Christian. Christian celebration of the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

December 25th, 2020: Christmas- Christian. Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.