Programming Guidelines

Guidelines for Accommodating Religious Observance (Programming)

As part of its commitment to diversity, Allegheny College encourages the expression of diverse religious traditions, which creates challenges, since our common calendar developed around Christianity. Islamic and Jewish holidays follow different calendars, so they do not fall on the same day each year, or even the same day of the week, like Easter Sunday or Ash Wednesday do, but may be on Thursday one year and Saturday the next.

We believe these complexities are worth confronting in order to create the inclusive, respectful and safe residential learning community that our Statement of Community advocates. Rather than stripping our public life of religious expression, Allegheny is committed to supporting individuals who practice diverse faiths, even when that gets complicated.

This guide should help you know how to schedule around religious holidays in a way that is respectful and sensitive. If you have questions, please contact any of the following for advice or guidance.

Christian Holidays, General or Interfaith Questions

Chaplain Jane Ellen Nickell, jnickell@allegheny.edu
Spiritual and Religious Life Office (814-332-2800)

Jewish Holidays

Adrienne Krone, Director of Jewish Life, akrone@allegheny.edu

Islamic Holidays

Professor Younus Mirza, ymirza@allegheny.edu
Chaplain Jane Ellen Nickell, jnickell@allegheny.edu

Christian and Catholic Holidays

Fr. Jeff Lucas, jlucas@allegheny.edu

Religious Calendar for 2016-17

Please note: Jewish holidays begin on sundown of the first day listed.
Islamic holidays may vary a day or two; dates will be finalized shortly before the holidays occur.

Major Holy Days

  • Avoid scheduling campus-wide events such as Homecoming, Family Weekend, Make a Difference Day, Wingfest, Springfest, major lectures, or other events that students would have to miss if they were observing a religious holiday.
  • Movies, late-night programming, and other event types that occur throughout the year may be scheduled, since students would be able to attend one at another time.
Jun. 6-Jul. 7 Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting; most Muslims will continue daily activity, but suggested accommodations based on dietary restrictions are below)
Jul. 7-9 Eid al-Fitr (Islamic three-day celebration at the end of Ramadan)
Sep. 11-14 Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice; Islamic three-day celebration at the end of the hajj)
Oct. 2-4 Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
Oct. 11-12 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)
Dec. 25 Christmas (Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus)
Apr. 10-11 First two days of Passover (Jewish week-long observance of the Exodus from Egypt begins)
Apr. 16 Easter (Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection)

Religious Rituals

There will be on-campus services at these times, so try to avoid scheduling events that would conflict with these.

Nov. 1 All Saints Day (Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics)
Required Mass, 12:15-1:00 pm
Dec. 8 Immaculate Conception (Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics)
Required Mass, 12:15-1:00 pm
Mar. 1 Ash Wednesday (Christian first day of Lent)
Campus service, 4:30-5:30 pm
Apr. 13 Maundy Thursday (Christian observance of Jesus’ last supper)
Campus service that evening, time TBA
Apr. 14 Good Friday (Christian observance of Jesus’ death and burial)
Campus service, 12:15-1:00 pm

Dietary Accommodations

The following holy days involve dietary restrictions that will affect events at which food is served. Parkhurst is familiar with these requirements and can help you make appropriate accommodations.

Jun 6-Jul 7 Ramadan: Muslims fast daily from food and drink from before sunrise until after sunset
Oct. 11-12 Yom Kippur: Jews fast from sundown Oct. 11 until sundown Oct. 12
Mar. 1-Apr. 16 Lent: Christians may fast from meat on Fridays or engage in other forms of fasting
Mar. 2-20 Month of Fasting: Baha’is do not eat or drink between sunup and sundown
 Apr. 10-17 Passover: Jews eat no leavened bread and may observe other dietary restrictions

Additional Holy Days

  • Members of our community may be celebrating these holidays. Specific campus services and customs are noted. 
  • In addition to minor holidays in religions that are well-represented on campus, we have also included major ritual days in under-represented religions.  Please note that these holidays are as important for those involved as Yom Kippur is for Jews or Easter is for Christians.  While we do not ask that campus-wide events be avoided, it is important to see if anyone involved in an event you’re planning on that day would be affected.

General notes:

  • Work is suspended on the Baha’i holidays listed below.
  • Society of Buddhist and Hindu Students (SBHS) and/or other groups may host events on the Hindu holy days.
  • Allegheny Community for Earth-Based Spirituality (ACES) may hold rituals on or around Pagan festivals. 
Jun. 11-13 Shavuot (Jewish commemoration of God’s gift of Torah at Sinai)
Jun. 20 Midsummer, or Litha (Pagan holiday around the summer solstice, the longest day)
Jul. 1 Laylat al-Qadr (Islamic night of prayer during Ramadam; date varies based on different legal opinions
Jul. 9 Martyrdom of the Bab (Death of the herald of the Baha’i faith)*
Aug. 2 Lughnassad, or Lammas (Pagan celebration of the beginning of harvest)
Aug. 25 Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu festival celebrating birth of Krishna)
Sep. 22 Harvest, or Mabon (Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for fruits of the earth)
Oct. 1-10 Navaratri (Hindu festival honoring the goddess Durga)
Oct. 11 Dussehra, or Dasara (Hindu celebration of victories by several gods and goddesses)
Oct. 12 Ashura (Shi‘ite holy day commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn b. ‘Ali)
Oct. 16-23 Sukkot (Jewish week-long Festival of Booths)
Hillel builds and decorates outdoor booth, or sukkah, and holds blessing and cookout
Oct. 20 Birth of the Bab (Herald of Baha’i faith)*
Oct. 30 Diwali (Hindu Festival of Lights)
Nov. 1 Samhain (Pagan festival honoring those who have died)
Nov. 27-Dec. 24 Advent (Christian time of preparation for the birth of Jesus; begins four Sundays prior to Christmas)
Candlelight Christmas Service in Ford Chapel, Dec 12, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Dec. 14 Mawlid al-Nabi (Observance of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday)
Dec. 21 Yule, or Winter Solstice (Pagan observance of the winter solstice)
Dec. 24- Jan. 1 Hanukkah (Jewish eight-day Festival of Lights)
Hillel lights wooden menorah near Chapel and holds Hanukkah party, date TBA
Feb. 2 Imbolc (Pagan celebration of the beginning of spring)
Feb. 10-11 Tu B’Shvat (Jewish Arbor Day)
Hillel and/or Interfaith Fellowship may hold Tu B’Shvat Seder
Feb. 28 Shrove Tuesday (Day before season of Lent begins, a.k.a. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday)
Pancake Supper, 5:30 pm, in Campus Center Lobby
Mar. 2-20 Naw-Ruz (Baha’i Month of Fasting)*
Mar. 11-12 Purim (Jewish Feast of Lots)
Hillel may hold Purim party or carnival
Mar. 13 Holi (Hindu Festival of Colors)
Mar. 20 Ostara (Pagan festival at the vernal equinox)
Apr. 9 Palm Sunday (Christian observance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem)
Observed in Sunday Chapel Service at 11:00 am and at Catholic Mass Sunday at 6:30 pm, both in Ford Chapel
Apr. 21-May 2 Festival of Ridvan (Baha’i commemoration of Baha’u’llah’s proclamation)**
Apr. 22-23 Yom Hashoah (Jewish day of Holocaust remembrance)
Hillel may hold local service or travel to service at Jewish Community Center in Erie
May 1 Beltane (Pagan celebration related to May Day, fertility)
May 29 Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Anniversary of Baha’is founder’s death)*
May 30-31 Shavuot (Jewish commemoration of God’s gift of Torah at Sinai)

*Baha’i observances on which work is suspended
**Work suspended on Apr. 21, Apr. 29, and May 2