Following is a calendar of religious holidays including the faith tradition in which it is celebrated. While this list is not completely comprehensive, it indicates the major holidays of religious faiths currently represented in the Lawrence community. These include Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, among others. If you wish to make suggestions regarding the recognition of a religious holiday or a religious faith, contact the Office of Communications.

*Note: all Jewish and Muslim observances begin at sundown on the evening of the first date given.

2019-2020 Academic Year (beginning August)

2019

August 10-11 - Eid Al Adha (Islam)
The Festival of the Sacrifice is the concluding act of pilgrimage and is observed even by Muslims who are not on pilgrimage.
September 9 - Ashura (Islam)
This is the 10th day of the first month of the Islamic calendar.  It marks the mourning of Hussein ibn Ali and calls for remembrance and atonement.
September 29-October 1  - Rosh Hashanah (Judaism)
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. Expect Jewish students to attend synagogue locally on the evening of the 29th and the morning and possibly afternoon of the 30th.  Also: the holiday is traditionally two days not one; some students may choose to go home for the weekend.  This is considered a major holiday on which ordinary work is not pursued, although most Jewish students at Lawrence will go about their ordinary business after formal worship is concluded.
October 8-9 - Yom Kippur (Judaism)
The holiest day of the year and a solemn day; a complete fast from before sundown on October 8th until dark on October 9th.  Expect Jewish students to need time for a pre-holiday meal and then go to synagogue locally in the evening.  More will attend this service than any other during the year.  Expect many also to attend local synagogue for morning, afternoon, and concluding/evening services on October 9, and then to break the fast after dark, either at the congregation’s communal meal or together with friends.  Although Jewish students at Lawrence are generally not strictly observant in a traditional sense, most will deeply resent having academic or extra-curricular obligations on this day, i.e., from late afternoon on October 8th through the night of October 9th.
October 13-20  Sukkot  (Judaism)
The first day and last day are major holidays.  The festival of Sukkot, also known as Chag’ha Succot, the “Feast of Booths”, is named for the huts (sukkah) that Moses and the Israelites lived in as they wandered the desert for 40 years.
October 27 - Diwali
This is a Hindu festival of lights.  Special prayers and celebrations usually accompany this day.
October 28-29 -  Birth Anniversary of The Báb (Baha’i)
Observance of the births of the prophets of the Baha’i faith. 
October 31- November 1  Samhain (Pagan)
This festival is the observance of the Celtic New Year beginning at sundown.  This is a time of harvest celebrations and rituals. November 1st marks the daytime observance of the Celtic New Year.
December 1 - *Advent begins – Dec. 1-24 (Christianity)
This season in the Christian calendar observes the period of preparation leading up to the celebration of Christmas.
December 8 - Buddha’s Enlightenment Day / Bohdi Day (Buddhism)
This is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment
December 22-30 - Chanukah
Chanukah is the Jewish festival of light commemorating the victory of Judah the Maccabee and religious freedom in 165 BCE
December 25  Christmas (Christian-Catholic/Protestant)
Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  This day is celebrated in worship services and the exchanging of gifts.

2020


January 7 - Christmas (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
Celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
February 1  -  Imbolic (Pagan)
Celebrated as a fire festival and associated with fertility, this is a midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox in March.
February 26 - Ash Wednesday (Christian-Catholic/Protestant)
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, the forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of prayer, repentance, and self-denial that precedes Easter (Western Churches).  Students may choose to fast, but the observance should not impact the normal academic day.
March 2-20  The month of ‘Alá’  (Baha’i)
A nineteen-day period each year during which adult Bahá’ís fast from sunrise to sunset each day. This period immediately precedes the Bahá’í new year. It is a time of prayer, meditation, and spiritual rejuvenation. Baha'i students may choose to observe the fast during this time which will mean that a solid meal after sunset will be important for both spiritual and physical health.
March  20  Naw Ruz (Baha’i)
Naw-Ruz (`New Day') is the Bahá'í new year, which occurs on the date of the vernal equinox, about March 21. It is one of the nine Bahá'í holy days on which work is suspended. Naw-Ruz is celebrated with many symbols indicating spring and renewal.
March 21  Ostara (Paganism)
The spring equinox is celebrated. Many modern Pagans mark Ostara as a time of renewal and rebirth. 
April 8 - Buddha’s Birthday (Buddhism)
Celebrated annually on this day in Japanese culture.
April 8-16 - Passover (Judaism)
Pesach (Passover):  Begins this year at sundown on April 8, and ends at dark on Saturday, April 16.  The major celebration for Lawrence students will be the holiday meal called the Seder, held by more traditional Jews on both the first and second evenings of Passover and by liberal Jews only on the first night.  The one aspect of Passover observance that our students generally do adhere to is refraining from eating products made from leavened grain (bread, cereal, noodles, beer, etc.) during the seven or eight days of the holiday’s duration.
April 8 - Buddha’s Birthday (Buddhism)
Celebrated annually on this day in Japanese culture.
April 10 - Good Friday (Christian-Catholic/Protestant)
Commemorates the Passion of Jesus and his submission to death by crucifixion.  Some students may request time to attend special worship services during the day
April 12 -  Easter (Christian-Catholic/Protestant)
Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.  It is the oldest and most important festival in the Christian year and initiates the fifty-day period culminating in Pentecost. Many Christian students will go home if possible for this observance.
April 17 - Good Friday (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
Commemorates the Passion of Jesus and his submission to death by crucifixion.  Some students may request time to attend special worship services during the day.
April 19 - Pascha (Easter) (Eastern Orthodox Christian)
Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.  It is the oldest and most important festival in the Christian year and initiates the fifty-day period culminating in Pentecost. Many Orthodox Christian students will go home if possible for this observance.
April 23-May 23 -  Ramadan  (Islam)
During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from dawn to sunset. Ramadan fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Students may choose to fast, but the observance should not impact the normal academic day. It will mean that their ability to break and eat a solid meal after sunset will be both a spiritual and physical health concern.
May 1 -  Beltane (Pagan)
Celebration of the midway point of the vernal equinox and the summer solstice One of the 4 quarter day festivals, Beltane is important in the turning of the wheel of the year.
May 6 - Buddha’s Birthday (Buddhism)
Celebrated annually on this day in Nepal.
May 24 -  Eid al-Fitr (Islam)
This 'feast of breaking the fast" is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan and the last day of fasting.