Religious & Spiritual Life

2019 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

1/7 Christmas. Orthodox Christian. Celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ
1/14 Makara Sankranti. A celebration marking the advent of the Sun’s northerly migration and forthcoming Spring

February

March

3/4 Maha Shivaratri.  An evening celebration of the wedding of Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati
3/6 
Ash Wednesday. Christian. The beginning of Lent, a 40-day period preceding Easter
3/21* 
Purim. Jewish. Celebration of the story of Esther
3/2 – 3/20* 
Nineteen Day Fast. Bahá’í Faith. Bahá’ís between the ages of 15 and 70 fast without food or drink from sunrise to sunset
3/20-3/21 
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
3/21 
Nowruz (New Year). Zoroastrian and Bahá’í Faith

April

4/3* Lailat al Miraj. Muslim. Commemoration of Prophet Muhammad’s ascension to Heaven
4/13 Rama Navami. Celebration of the birth of Sri Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who helped restore the balance of good over evil
4/14 
Palm/Passion Sunday. Christian. Celebration of joyful entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem
4/14 
Vaisakhi. Sikh. Marks the formation of the Khalsa (religious community of Sikhs) by Guru Gobind Singh
4/18 Holy Thursday. Christian. Commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus with Disciples
4/19 
Good/Holy Friday. Christian. Commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus
4/19 
Hanuman Jayanti. Celebrates the birthday of Hanuman, foremost devotee of Sri Rama and Sita
4/20-27* 
Pesach (Passover). Jewish. Festival of liberation of Israelites from Slavery in Egypt. Work is prohibited on the first and last two days
4/21 
Easter. Christian. Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus
4/21 - 5/2* 
Ridvan. Bahá’í Faith. Commemoration of the 12 days when its Founder, Baha’u’llah, declared his mission
4/28 Pascha. Orthodox Christian. Celebration of Resurrection of Jesus

May

5/1* Beltane. Wiccan/Pagan. Festival of Light honoring Life and Fertility
5/6-6/4* Ramadan. Muslim. Holy month of fasting.

June

6/1* 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.
6/5-6/7* Eid al Fitr. Muslim. Day that marks the end of Ramadan.
6/9-6/10* Shavuot. Jewish. Jewish celebration of Moses' descent from Mt Sinai with the ten commandments.

6/23 All Saints. Orthodox 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.

July

7/9* 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.
7/13-7/15 Obon (Ulambana). Buddhist/Shinto. Japanese Buddhist festival to honor deceased ancestors. Involves lighting of bonfires, traditional meals, paper lanterns, folk dances.
7/16 Asalha Puja Day. Buddhist. Buddhist holiday to
celebrate the very first teachings from Buddha.

August

8/10* 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
8/10* Waqf al Arafa. Muslim. Islamic observance day during Hajj when pilgrims pray for forgiveness and mercy.
8/12-8/15* Eid al Adha. Muslim. Islamic Ritual of Sacrifice. The day after Arafat, the most important day in Hajj ritural.  A three-day festival recalling Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to Allah.
8/15 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.
8/23 Krishna Janmashtami. Hindu. Hindu celebration of the birthday of Krishna. Nightlong prayers are held in the Temples. A two day observance.

September

9/1* Hijra. Muslim. The Islamic New Year.
9/30-10/1* Rosh Hashanah. Jewish. The Jewish New Year festival.

October

10/4 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.
10/4 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.
10/8 Dasara. Hindu. Hindu celebration of victory and valor. Lord Rama is remembered as winning a victory over evil.
10/9 Yom Kippur. Jewish. Jewish Day of Atonement. This holiest day of the Jewish year is observed with strict fasting and ceremonial repentance.
10/14-10/20 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.
01/27 Diwali. Hindu.  Hindu festival of lights, symbolizing  the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance."
10/31 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.
10/31 Reformation Day. Protestant Christian. Protestant Christian anniversary of their tradition and its emphasis on the place of the Bible and religious freedom.

November

11/1 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.
11/1* 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.
11/2 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. 
11/10 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.

December

12/1-12/24 Advent. Christian. Christian time of preparation for observing the birth of Jesus Christ.
12/8 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.
12/8 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.
12/12 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.
12/21 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.
12/24 Christmas Eve. Christian. Christian celebration of the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem for for the birth of Jesus.
12/25 Christmas. Christian.
Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
12/25 Feast of the Nativity. Orthodox Christian. Celebration of Christ's birth.