Tapestry of Life (c) 2011 Metin Bereketli

Holy Days and Observances

See calendar

Advent 

A period of spiritual preparation when Christians make themselves ready for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas. Resources for Advent

  All Saints' Day

As a holy day of obligation, Roman Catholics honor all of the saints, both known and unknown.

All Souls' Day

A day Roman Catholics pay respect and remember the souls of friends and loved ones who have died and gone to heaven.

Ascension of Baha'u'llah

This commemorates the day when the founder and prophet of the Baha'i Faith died in 1892.

Ash Wednesday

The first day of Lent occurring forty-six days before Easter. Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of repentance. Lent is a Christian festival of preparation for Easter observed through reflection on the life and death of Jesus Christ. Resources for Lent and Easter.

Birth of Baha'u'llah (1817-1892)

Commemorates the birth of the co founder of the Bahá?í Faith.

Bandi Chhor Divas

A day on which the Sikhs celebrate the release of Guru Hargobind Sahib and 52 Kings from Gwalior Prison.

Birth of the Bab (1819-1850)

Commemorates the birth of the co founder of the Bahá?í Faith.

Birth of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib (1666-1708)

The tenth and last living prophet of the Sikhs, he passed the guruship onto the Sikh scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, and the Sikh community, Guru Panth.

Birth of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib (1469-1539)

Commemorates the birth of the founder of the Sikh faith.

Bodhi Day

Buddhist celebration of the Enlightenment of Buddha, ca. 596 B.C.E.

Consecrating the Guru Granth Sahib

The remembrance of Guru Granth Sahib as the final and perpetual Guru of Sikhs as ordained by Guru Gobind Singh in 1708. As holy scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, is regarded as the guiding light for the Sikh.

Diwali

A five day festival of lights representing the start of the Hindu New Year. Diwali celebrates the victory of the Good over the Evil and Light over Darkness.

Christmas

Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Resources for Christmas

Christmas (Orthodox)

Christian faiths based on the Julian calendar, such as Eastern Orthodox, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Declaration of the Bab

This marks the inception of the Baha'i Faith in 1844. The Bab declared that he was a messenger of God and was sent to prepare the way for the one of all religions who would come to establish universal peace.

Easter

The central Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Resources for Easter

Eastern/Pascha

Christian faiths based on the Julian calendar such as Eastern Orthodox honor the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Feast of the Annunciation

A Catholic celebration of the announcement made by the angel Gabriel to Mary that she would become the mother of Jesus, Son of God.

Feast of the Ascension of the Lord

The fortieth day after Easter Sunday. As a holy day of obligation, Catholics commemorate the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven and celebrate on the following Sunday.

Feast of the Assumption of Mary

A Catholic celebration of Mary's life, death and assumption of her body into heaven.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

As a holy day of obligation, Catholics celebrate that Mary was conceived without original sin so that she could one day conceive Jesus.

Feast of Mary, Mother of God

As a holy day of obligation, Catholics celebrate Mary's motherhood of Jesus.

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

A Catholic celebration of a man, Juan Diego, who had a vision of Mary who told him to build a church on the spot where they were standing. This vision took place on a hill near Mexico City in 1531.

Feast of St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

A Catholic celebration of St. Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Society of Jesus and a missionary.

Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)

A Catholic celebration of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus and patron saint of soldiers.

Good Friday

Celebrated on the Friday before Easter, Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus and related events.

Good Friday (Orthodox)

Christian faiths based on the Julian calendar such as Eastern Orthodox remember the crucifixion of Jesus and related events.

Hanukkah

An eight day Jewish festival of lights that commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrians.

Íd al-Adha

An Islamic festival of sacrifice that commemorates the faith of Abraham; also a memorial to the dead. One of two major festivals; the other being id al-Fitr.

Íd al-Fitr

Islamic festival of the breaking of the fast, Ramadan. One of two major festivals; the other being id al-Adha.

Krishna Janmashtami

Hindu celebration of the birth of Krishna.

Kwanzaa

A weeklong, secular celebration honoring African-American heritage, culture, and family culminating in a feast and gift giving.

Lent

Starting on Ash Wednesday, this forty weekday period is a Christian festival of preparation for Easter observed through reflection on the life and death of Jesus Christ.

Maha Shivaratri

Hindu celebration of the birth of Lord Shiva.

Rev. Martin Luther King Day

A United States federal holiday commemorating the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - a leader of the civil rights movement and a proponent of nonviolent action.

Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib

The 5th Guru and first martyr of the Sikhs. He compiled the the religious text of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahib.

Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib

The 9th Guru of the Sikhs, who was killed by Mughal rulers in 1675 for defending Hindus facing forcible conversion to Islam.

Martyrdom of the Bab

This commemorates the day when one of the main figures in founding the Baha'i Faith was executed by a firing squad in Iran in 1850.

Remembering the Martyrs of the UCA

A day of remembrance of the six Jesuit priests and two women who were murdered by the Salvadoran military at the University of Central America.

Mawlid-al-Nabi

The observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is celebrated with carnivals, large street processions, and the decorating of homes and mosques.

Navaratri

Hindu celebration of gifts from the goddess Ambadevi.

Naw-Ruz

Bahá?í New Year.

Norouz

Persian New Year.

Palm Sunday

Begins Christian Holy Week, the last week of Lent and the final week before Easter. It refers to the palms that people spread on the road as Jesus entered Jerusalem to celebrate the feast day of Passover.

Paryushan

Holiest day for Jains. An eight day festival signifying human emergence into a new world of spiritual and moral refinement.

Passover

Eight-day celebration marking the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt; ?Seder? ceremonies emphasize the concept of freedom. The first two days and the last two days are observed as holy days.

Purim

Purim is a festival that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people living throughout the ancient Persian Empire from persecution by Haman the Agagite.

Ramadan

A holy Islamic festival honoring the first revelations to the Prophet Mohammed through 30 days of reflection and fasting from sun-up to sun-down.

Ramakrishna Jayanti

Commemorates the birth of Sri Ramakrishna, a Hindu mystic who's movement redefined modern Hinduism.

Ramanavami

A festival celebrating the birth of the most supreme God in Hinduism, Lord Rama.

Ridvan

Commemorates the declaration of Baháúllah to his followers in 1863. The first, ninth and twelfth days of Ridvan are major Baha'i holy days.

Rosh Hashanah

Jewish New Year, a high holy day, beginning 10 days of penitence and concluding on Yom Kippur.

Shavuot

Jewish celebration of the spring harvest season and the gift of the Torah.

Shemini Àtzeret

Eighth and last day of the Jewish festival Sukkot.

Simchat Torah

Joyous festival in which the reading cycle of the Torah is completed and its first book begun again.

Sukkot

Jewish festival of booths (or tabernacles) and the fall harvest; takes name from the booths used by Israelites during desert wanderings.

Thanksgiving

A federal holiday commemorating a feast held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag.

Vaisakhi

Sikh New Year and spring harvest festival.

Vesak

The most important of the Buddhist festivals celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha.

Yom Kippur

Jewish Day of Atonement; most solemn Jewish holy day devoted to prayer and repentance. It is marked by 25 hours of fasting which starts an hour before Yom Kippur and ends after nightfall on the day.