Programming Guidelines

Guidelines for Accommodating Religious Observance

 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>
Spiritual and Religious Life Office (814-332-2800)

Jewish Holidays
Rabbi Ron Bernstein-Goff, <rbernste>
Rachel Dingman, <rdingman>

Christian and Catholic Holidays
Fr. Marc Solomon, <msolomon>



Religious Calendar for 2013-2014

Please note: Jewish holidays begin on sundown of the first day listed.

Major Holy Days

▪ Avoid scheduling campus-wide events such as Homecoming, Family Weekend, Make a Difference Day, Wingfest, Springfest, or other events that students would have to miss if they were observing a religious holiday.

▪ Lectures, movies, late-night programming, and other event types that are scheduled throughout the year may be scheduled, since students would be able to attend one
at another time.

Jul. 9-Aug. 8 Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting; most Muslims will continue daily activity, but suggested accommodations based on dietary restrictions are on listed below)
Aug. 8-10 ‘Id al-Fitr (Islamic three-day celebration at the end of Ramadan)
Sep. 4-6 Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
Sep. 13-14 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)
Oct. 15-17  ‘Id al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice; Islamic three-day celebration at the end of the hajj)
Nov. 14  Ashura (Shi‘ite holy day commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn b. ‘Ali)
Dec. 25 Christmas (Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus)
Apr. 14-15 First two days of Passover (Jewish week-long observance of the Exodus from Egypt begins)
Apr. 20 Easter (Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection)
Note: Eastern Orthodox Easter falls on Apr. 20 also.


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. 5 Ash Wednesday (Christian first day of Lent)
Campus service, 4:30-5:30 pm
Apr. 18 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.

Jul. 9-Aug. 8 Ramadan
Muslims fast daily from food and drink from before sunrise until after sunset
Sep. 13-14 Yom Kippur
Jews fast from sundown Sep 13, until sundown Sep 14
Mar. 5-Apr. 19 Lent
Christians may fast from meat on Fridays or engage in other forms of fasting
Apr. 14-20 Passover
Jews eat no leavened bread and some observe other dietary restrictions


Additional Holy Days

Members of our community may be celebrating these holidays. Specific campus services and customs are noted.

Jul. 30-31  Laylat al-Qadr (Islamic night of prayer during Ramadan)
Aug. 1  Lughnassad, or Lammas (Pagan celebration of the beginning of harvest)
Sep. 18 Sukkot (Jewish week-long Festival of Booths)
Hillel builds and decorates outdoor booth, or sukkah, near the
Campus Center and may hold blessing and cookout in the sukkah.
Date TBA
Sep. 22 Harvest, or Madon (Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for fruits of the earth)
Nov. 1 Samhain (Pagan festival honoring those who have died)
Nov. 3 Diwali (Hindu Festival of Lights)
Society of Buddhist and Hindu Students and/or other groups
may host event
Nov. 27 Hanukkah (Jewish eight-day Festival of Lights)
Hillel lights wooden menorah near Chapel and holds Hanukkah party in Campus Center lobby
Dec. 2-24 Advent (Christian season of preparation for the birth of Jesus;
four Sundays prior to Christmas)
Traditional Hanging of the Greens service at 7 pm in Ford Chapel.
Date TBA
Dec. 21 Yule, or Winter Solstice (Pagan observance of the winter solstice)
Jan. 13  Mawlid al-Nabi (Observance of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday)
Jan. 15 Tu B’Shvat (Jewish Arbor Day)
Hillel and/or Interfaith Fellowship may hold Tu B’Shvat Seder
Feb. 2 Imbolc, or St. Brighid’s Day (Pagan celebration of the beginning of spring)
Mar. 4 Shrove Tuesday (Day before season of Lent begins, a.k.a. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday)
Pancake Supper, 5-6:30 pm, in Campus Center Lobby
Mar. 15 Purim (Jewish Feast of Lots)
Hillel may hold Purim party or carnival
Mar. 20 Ostara (Pagan festival at the vernal equinox)
Apr.13 Palm Sunday (Christian observance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem)
Observed in Sunday morning Chapel service (11:00) and Sunday evening Mass (6:30), both in Ford Chapel, and in local churches
Apr. 17 Maundy Thursday (Christian observance of Jesus’ Passover meal with disciples)
Sojourners Christian Fellowship hosts Communion service and meal, 5 pm at Chaplain’s house
Apr. 26 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)
Jun. 21 Midsummer, or Litha (Pagan holiday around the summer solstice, the longest day)