Holy Days and Holidays

Religious Observances Policy

Syracuse University recognizes the diverse faith traditions represented among its campus community and supports the rights of faculty, staff, and students to observe according to these traditions.

All University offices are asked to be sensitive to the needs of faculty, staff, and students who are observing a religious holiday when scheduling meetings and events.

Deans, department chairs, and program directors are asked to make every effort to avoid scheduling meetings or events at times that would exclude faculty who are observing a religious holiday from participation.

Supervisors are asked to be supportive of staff members who request vacation or personal time to observe a religious holiday and to make every effort to avoid scheduling meetings or events at times that would exclude such staff members from participation.

Students are asked to consider that it is more difficult to arrange appropriate accommodations in some kinds of courses - for example, those that have certain kinds of laboratories or a significant experiential learning component - so students should consider their need for accommodation for religious observances as they plan their schedule each semester. Students should recall that not every course is offered every academic year and that the catalog indicates how frequently each course is offered.

Faculty are asked to make appropriate accommodation for students' observance needs by providing an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirement that is missed because of an absence due to a religious observance, provided the instructor has been notified no later than the end of the second week of classes for regular session classes and by the submission deadline for flexibly formatted classes. No fees will be charged to the student for the costs incurred by the University for such make-up work. If a faculty member is unwilling or unable to make an appropriate accommodation, the student should consult his or her academic dean.

Syracuse University recognizes that the faith traditions observed by our diverse community include more holidays than can be captured adequately in a list. In addition, some observances vary by tradition and by country and are defined by the lunar calendar. However, to assist in identifying religious observance days, Hendricks Chapel has compiled a list of religious holidays that reflect a large proportion of the University community and that may or may not fall on University work and class days.

The chapel also recommends consulting the more comprehensive Interfaith Calendar.

Religious Observances Policy

Syracuse University recognizes the diverse faith traditions represented among its campus community and supports the rights of faculty, staff, and students to observe according to these traditions.

All University offices are asked to be sensitive to the needs of faculty, staff, and students who are observing a religious holiday when scheduling meetings and events.

Deans, department chairs, and program directors are asked to make every effort to avoid scheduling meetings or events at times that would exclude faculty who are observing a religious holiday from participation.

Supervisors are asked to be supportive of staff members who request vacation or personal time to observe a religious holiday and to make every effort to avoid scheduling meetings or events at times that would exclude such staff members from participation.

Students are asked to consider that it is more difficult to arrange appropriate accommodations in some kinds of courses - for example, those that have certain kinds of laboratories or a significant experiential learning component - so students should consider their need for accommodation for religious observances as they plan their schedule each semester. Students should recall that not every course is offered every academic year and that the catalog indicates how frequently each course is offered.

Faculty are asked to make appropriate accommodation for students' observance needs by providing an opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirement that is missed because of an absence due to a religious observance, provided the instructor has been notified no later than the end of the second week of classes for regular session classes and by the submission deadline for flexibly formatted classes. No fees will be charged to the student for the costs incurred by the University for such make-up work. If a faculty member is unwilling or unable to make an appropriate accommodation, the student should consult his or her academic dean.

Syracuse University recognizes that the faith traditions observed by our diverse community include more holidays than can be captured adequately in a list. In addition, some observances vary by tradition and by country and are defined by the lunar calendar. However, to assist in identifying religious observance days, Hendricks Chapel has compiled a list of religious holidays that reflect a large proportion of the University community and that may or may not fall on University work and class days.

The chapel also recommends consulting the more comprehensive Interfaith Calendar.

August, 2015 - May, 2016 - Holy Days and Holidays

AUGUST 2015

  • 1
    - Lughnasadh Pagan Pagan celebration of midpoint between solstice and equinox marking first harvest, observed by some Christians as Lammas
  • 13-15
    - Obon ** - Buddhist and Shinto Japanese Buddhist festival to honor ancestors
  • 15
    - Assumption of Mary Christian celebration of assumption of Mary into heaven
  • 29
    - Raksha Bandhan ** - Hindu festival honoring family ties between siblings

SEPTEMBER 2015

  • 5
    - Krishna Janmashtami ** - Hindu festival celebrating the god Ganesha
  • 13
    - Erev Rosh Hashanah Jewish Eve of the Jewish new year and beginning of High Holy Days
  • 14-15
    - Rosh Hashanah * - Jewish  (begins sundown on 13) Jewish new year and beginning of High Holy Days
  • 17
    - Ganesh Chaturthi ** - Hindu festival honoring family ties between siblings
  • 18
    - Paryushana Parva ** - Jain Eight Day Jain festival of devotion
  • 21-22
    - Day of Arafah - Hajj * - Islam (begins sundown on 21) Day of continuous prayer and fasting during Hajj, annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca 
    -
    Erev Yom Kippur/Kol Nidre – Jewish Eve of the Jewish Day of Atonement, observed with fasting
  • 23
    - Yom Kippur * - Jewish  (begins sundown on 22) Jewish Day of Atonement, observed with fasting
  • 22-23  
    - Equinox Mabon * - Pagan  (begins sundown on 22) Pagan observance of autumn equinox and harvest festival
  • 23-26
    - Eid al Adha - Sacrifice Day * - Islam  (begins sundown on 22) Three-day Muslim celebration honoring the spiritual sacrifice of the prophet Abraham and his family
  • 27
    - Erev Sukkot – Jewish Eve of the week-long Jewish remembrance of God’s protection during time in the wilderness. 
  • 28
    - Birth of Confucius - Observed in all religious traditions emanating from China
  • 28-Oct 4
    - Sukkot * - Jewish (begins sundown on 27) Week-long Jewish remembrance of God’s protection during time in the wilderness. 

OCTOBER 2015

  • 4-5
    - Shemini Atzeret * - Jewish Last day of Sukkot
  • 5-6
    - Simchat Torah * - Jewish day of rejoicing to celebrate the yearly completion of reading the whole Torah
  • 12
    - Indigenous People’s Day Interfaith celebration of cultural heritage of indigenous peoples of Western hemisphere
  • 13-21
    - Navaratri ** - Hindu Nine-night Hindu festival
  • 13-14
    - Hijra - New Year * - Islam Muslim new year, marking the emigration of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina 622 CE
  • 15
    - Bodhidharma Day – Zen Buddhist honors Zen Buddhist ancestor, Bodhidharma, who brought Zen from India to China
    -
    Installation of Scriptures as Guru Granth – Sikh Installation of the Guru Granth Sahib Recognition of Sikh sacred writings as tenth and final guru
  • 22
    - Dasara ** - Hindu End of Navaratri
  • 23
    - Ashura * - Islam  Muslim commemoration of trials endured by the prophets and righteous leaders among Mohammed’s family
  • 31
    - All Hallows Eve – Christian celebration derived from Celtic Samhain, beginning two-day remembrance of the dead
    -
    Samhain Pagan  Pagan observance of midpoint between equinox and solstice, descent into depths of winter

NOVEMBER 2015

  • 1
    - All Saints Day – Christian celebration of lives of the saints
  • 2
    - All Souls Day/Dia de los Muertos - Christian day of interceding for those who have died
  • 11
    - Diwali (Deepavali) ** - Hindu - Jain - Sikh festival of lights honoring various legends across the Hindu, Jain, and Sikh traditions
  • 12
    - New Year ** Jain celebration of the new year.
  • 13
    - Birth of The Báb – Bahá’í  Commemoration of the birth of the Báb (The "Gate"), the Prophet-Herald of the Bahá’í Faith
  • 14
    -
    Birth of Bahá'u'lláh - Bahá’í Commemoration of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh (translated ‘Glory of God’), the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith
  • 25
    - Guru Nanak Dev Sahib birthday - Sikh Birth of first guru and founder of Sikh faith 1469 CE
  • 26
    - Thanksgiving - Interfaith USA
    -
    Day of The Covenant – Bahá’í The day when Bahá'ís celebrate the appointment of `Abdu'l-Bahá as the Centre of Bahá'u'lláh’s Covenant
  • 28
    - Ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá’ - Bahá’í Commemoration the ascension of `Abdu'l-Bahá who passed away on November 28, 1921, in Haifa, Palestine (now Israel)
  • 29
    - Advent begins – Christian Four-week Christian season of preparation for Christmas, with progressive lighting of candles

DECEMBER 2015

  • 6
    - Saint Nicholas Day - Christian feast of saint popularly known as Santa Claus for his generosity
  • 7-14
    - Hanukkah * - Judaism (begins sundown on 6) Eight-night Jewish festival of lights remembering Maccabean victory and rededication of Temple 165 BCE
  • 8
    - Immaculate Conception - Christian feast honoring conception of Mary, mother of Jesus
  • 12
    - Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe - Christian celebration of Mary as patron saint of Mexico
  • 8
    - Bodhi Day ** - Buddhist Celebration of beginning of path to enlightenment of the Buddha
  • 16 - 25
    - Posadas Navidenas – Christian Mexican Catholic reenactment of journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem
  • 21 
    - Yule - Pagan observance of rebirth of the sun after longest night of winter
    - Remembrance Vigil for Pan Am 103 - Interfaith Syracuse University service of remembrance for the victims of Pan Am 103
  • 22
    - Fast of Tevet 10 * - Jewish day of mourning and repentance marking the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem. In recent years, it also is a day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust
  • 23
    - Human Light Secular celebration of humanist vision of peace and goodwill among all 
  • 24
    - Christmas Eve – Christian Eve of traditional Western date observing birth of Christ in twelve-day festival lasting to Epiphany
  • 25
    - Christmas * - Christian Traditional Western date observing birth of Christ in twelve-day festival lasting to Epiphany
  • 26
    - First Day of Kwanzaa Weeklong celebration of African American life and cultural heritage 
    -
    Zarathosht Diso ** - Zoroastrian Death of founding prophet Zarathushtra 
  • 31
    - Watch Night - Christian Ritual service of preparation for the year to come.

JANUARY 2016

  • 1
    - Gantan-sai - Shinto new year festival
    -
    Mary, Mother of God Christian day of prayer and thanksgiving to Mary, mother of Jesus
    -
    Basil the Great Orthodox Christian celebration of defender of orthodoxy Basil of Caesarea
  • 3
    - Mawlid al-Nabi – Islam Muslim celebration of the birth of Mohammed c.570 CE
  • 5
    - Guru Gobindh Singh birthday - Sikh Celebration of final master of Sikh faith 1666 CE
  • 6
    - Epiphany Christian Festival celebrating the revelation of God in Jesus and the visit of the sages to the Christ child.
  • 7
    - Feast of the Nativity - Orthodox Christian Traditional celebration of Christmas for Eastern Orthodox Christians
  • 10
    - Baptism of the Lord Jesus - Christian Commemoration of the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus.
  • 13
    - Maghi - Sikh commemoration of battle of Chali Mukte 1705 CE
  • 18
    - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Interfaith United States celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • 18-25
    - Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - Christian time of ecumenical prayer for unity
  • 23
    - Thaipusam – Hindu Tamil festival that honors the deity Murugan.
  • 25
    - Tu BiShvat * - Jewish celebration of the New Year for the Trees by preparation of fruit native to Israel

FEBRUARY 2016

  • 1
    - Clean Monday - Orthodox Christian Orthodox Christian first day of Lent
  • 2
    - Candlemas - Christian Celebration of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. New beginnings are recognized.
    -
    Imbolc - Pagan feast of waxing light, midpoint between solstice and equinox
  • 3
    - Setsebun sai ** - Shinto Shinto celebration of approach of spring as invitation to good fortune
  • 7
    - Four Chaplains Sunday - Interfaith Commemoration of the event in World War II when four Chaplains of Jewish and Christian traditions (Catholic and Protestant) gave their life jackets to others as a troop ship sank in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 8
    - Chinese New Year - Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist Beginning of Chinese celebration of a new year for people of all religions.
  • 9
    - Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras - Christian day of preparation for Lent, observed by feasting and carnival activities
  • 10
    - Ash Wednesday - Christian First of forty days of Western Christian penitential observance of Lent
  • 12
    - Vasant Panshami ** - Hindu Vasant Panchami is the festival honoring Saraswati, goddess of learning, wisdom, music, and art.
  • 14
    - St. Valentine's Day - Christian Festival of love loosely connected to Christian saint
  • 15
    - Nirvana Day ** - Buddhist - Jain Anniversary of death of the Buddha
  • 26-29 
    - Ayyám-i-Há - Bahá’í  Intercalary days in the Bahá'í calendar, when Bahá'ís celebrate the Festival of Ayyám-i-Há (also known as ‘Days of Gift-Giving’)

MARCH 2016

  • 1-19
    - The Bahá’í Fasting Period  - Bahá’í  Last month of the Bahá’í calendar – Bahá’ís abstain from food and drinks between sunrise to sunset
  • 6
    - Orthodox Sunday - Orthodox Christian Orthodox Christian first Sunday of Lent. Restoration of icons to the church is celebrated
  • 8
    - Maha Shivaratri ** - Hindu festival in honor of Lord Shiva and his marriage to Goddess Parvati. 
  • 14
    - Beginning of Great Lent - Orthodox Christian fasting season which prepares Orthodox Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Pascha (Easter).
  • 17
    - Saint Patrick’s Day – Christian celebration of Patrick who brought Christianity to Ireland
  • 20 
    - Equinox Ostara * - Pagan spring equinox festival celebrating reawakening
    -
    Palm Sunday – Christian Beginning of Western Christian Holy Week, also known as Passion Sunday
    -
    Naw-Rúz - Bahá’í New Year (173 B.E.)
  • 23
    - Holi ** - Hindu festival of spring
    -
    Magha Puja Day - Buddhist ** Commemoration of presentation of Buddha to the world
    - Fast of Esther – Jewish day preceding Purim which commemorates the fast Esther requested the Jewish people observe in preparation of her going to see the King uninvited.
  • 24
    - Purim* - Jewish festival marking deliverance from Haman's genocidal plot against Jewish people in ancient Persia as related in Book of Esther.
    -
    Maundy Thursday – Christian Remembrance of Christ’s last supper
  • 25
    - Good Friday - Christian Remembrance of the crucifixion and death of Christ
    -
    Shushan Purim – Jewish Two-day Jewish festival marking deliverance from genocidal rule as told in Book of Esther
  • 26
    - Holy Saturday Christian Day of vigil culminating in observance of resurrection of Christ
  • 27
    - Easter - Christian Feast of resurrection of Christ
  • 28
    - Khordad Sal** - Zoroastrian Birthday of Zarathustra, founding prophet of Zoroastrianism

APRIL 2016

  • 8-15
    - Ramayana Week ** - Hindu festival leading up to the celebration of the birth of Lord Rama, hero of the religious epic poem, The Ramayana.
  • 8         
    - Vesak - Buddhist Celebrates the Birth of Shakyamuni Buddha
  • 14
    - Baisakhi (Vaisakhi) ** - Sikh festival celebrating establishment of the Khalsa
  • 15
    - Ramanavami ** - Hindu celebration of the birth of Lord Rama, hero of the religious epic poem, The Ramayana.
  • 22
    - Erev Pesach – Jewish Eve of the eight-day Jewish commemoration of exodus of children of Israel from Egyptian slavery
  • 23-30
    - Pesach (Passover) * - Jewish Eight-day Jewish commemoration of exodus of children of Israel from Egyptian slavery
  • 29
    - Holy Friday - Orthodox Christian Anniversary of death of Christ, as commemorated by Orthodox Christians
  • 30
    - Mahavir Jayanti ** - Jain Birth of founder of Jain tradition Mahavira 540 BCE

MAY 2016

  • 1
    - Pascha (Easter) - Orthodox Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ, beginning at midnight
    -
    Beltane -Pagan celebration of midpoint between equinox and solstice, celebrating earth’s fertility
  • 5
    - Lailat al Miraj * - Islam Muslim holiday that commemorates the Prophet Muhammad's nighttime journey in 622 CE
    -
    Yom HaShoah * - Jewish remembrance of the Holocaust
    -
    Ascension of the Lord – Christian festival marking the bodily ascension of Jesus into Heaven
  • 12
    - Yom Ha'Atzmaut * - Jewish celebration of Independence Day in Israel
  • 15
    - Pentecost – Christian celebration of descent of Holy Spirit upon followers of Christ
  • 21
    - Lailat al Bara'ah * - Islam Night of prayer and atonement followed by day long fast for Muslims
  • 23
    - Declaration of The Báb - Bahá’í celebration of the day when The Báb announced he was "the bearer of a Divine Revelation which would prepare humanity for the advent of the Promised One of all religions."
  • 26
    - Lag B'Omer * - Jewish celebration of the 33 day of counting the Omer - a 49 day period between Pesach and Shavout.
  • 29
    - Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh * - Baha'i commemoration of the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith.