Religious Holy Days

Accommodating Religious Observance – Guidelines for Faculty

As a non-sectarian institution, Allegheny College affirms the variety of religious, secular, and spiritual identities represented within our community and supports individual and group ritual practice. We urge flexibility and consideration of religious practice in both curricular and co-curricular planning, in order to create the “inclusive, respectful and safe residential learning community” to which our Statement of Community aspires.

College policy recognizes major religious holidays as legitimate reasons to miss class or to reschedule a final exam, and students should contact professors in advance to request accommodation. Faculty are encouraged to include a note in course syllabi, such as the following: “If you need to miss class or reschedule a final examination due to a religious observance, please speak to the professor well in advance to make arrangements.”

The dates for religious holy days that members of our community may be observing are listed below, with descriptions and suggested accommodations related to coursework, dietary restrictions, ritual practice, and exam schedules. Please contact the following people for additional information, or with suggestions of other steps that can help foster respect for religious diversity in our community.

Christian Holidays, Jewish Holidays, Muslim Holidays, Spiritual Wellness, and all General or Interfaith Questions can be directed to the Director of Spiritual and Religious Life, Dr. Sami Alkyam: salkyam@allegheny.edu.

Religious Calendar for 2022-2023

*Holiday begins the evening of the first date listed and ends the evening of the last date listed.

Major Holy Days 2022-2023

Please avoid scheduling exams, field trips, or other activities that would be difficult for students
to make up, and accommodate students who miss class on these days. Faculty meetings and
important campus-wide events are also discouraged on these dates.

  • Jul. 10 – Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice; Islamic celebration at the end of the Hajj)
  • Sep. 25-27* – Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
  • Oct. 04 – 05* Yom Kippur: Jews fast from sundown Oct. 4 until sundown Oct. 5Nov. 01 – All Saints’ Day (Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics) Required Mass, 12:15-1:00 pm
  • Nov. 01 – All Saints’ Day (Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics) Required Mass, 12:15-1:00 pm
  • Nov. 01 – 02 – Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead, Latin American holiday that reunites the living and the dead)
  • Dec. 08 – Immaculate Conception (Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics) Required Mass, 12:15-1:00 pm
  • Dec. 25 – Christmas (Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus)
  • Jan. 22 – Feb. 09 Chinese New Year (Celebrated throughout East Asia; Students may request some time off to celebrate and visit with family and friends)
  • Feb. 22 – Ash Wednesday (Christian first day of Lent) Campus service, 4:30-5:30 pm
  • Mar. 23 – Apr. 22 Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting; Muslim students may request taking exams early in the day; suggested accommodations based on dietary restrictions are below)
  • Apr. 05 – 06* – First two days of Passover (Jewish week-long observance of the Exodus from Egypt)
  • Apr. 07 – Good Friday (Christian observance of Jesus’ death and burial) Campus service, 12:15-1:00 pm
  • Apr. 09 – Easter (Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection)
  • Apr. 22 – Eid al-Fitr (Islamic celebration at the end of Ramadan) Religious Rituals Participation in these rituals may affect attendance at classes or other campus events.
  • Dietary Accommodations:
    • Many Jews do not eat pork or shellfish, and do not eat meat and dairy in the same meal.
    • Muslims also refrain from pork, as well as alcohol, and some require meat that is halal.
    • Aramark is familiar with these dietary requirements and can accommodate them at catered events, given advance notice.
    • The following holy days involve dietary restrictions that have implications for events at which food is served. During times of fasting, please consider offering take-home exams or other alternatives that would allow students to engage in coursework during times of peak efficiency.
  • Feb. 22 – Apr. 06 Lent: Christians may fast from meat on Fridays or engage in other forms of fasting.
  • Mar. 01 – Mar. 19* Month of Fasting: Baha’is do not eat or drink between sunup and sundown.
  • Mar. 23 – Apr. 22 Ramadan: Muslims fast daily from food and drink from sunrise until sunset.
  • Apr. 05 – Apr.13* Passover: Jews eat no leavened bread and may observe other dietary restrictions. (Please include Kosher for Passover options at any catered events this week.)

Required Religious Observance during Final Exams

There are no required religious observances that fall during the exam periods this year.

Additional Holy Days – Guidelines

  • Members of our community may be celebrating these holidays as individuals or with other members of their religious group.
  • 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, Ramadan is for Muslims, or Easter is for Christians. Those students should be accommodated if they need to miss class.
  • Work is suspended on the Baha’i holidays marked with #.

Additional Holy Days

  • Jul. 09*# – Martyrdom of the Bab (Death of the herald of the Baha’i faith)
  • Aug. 01 – Lughnasadh, or Lammas (Pagan celebration of the beginning of harvest)
  • Aug. 09 – Ashura (Shi‘ite holy day commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn b. ‘Ali)
  • Aug. 13 – 15 – Obon (Japanese observance of the day the ancestors return to visit the living)
  • Aug. 18 – Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Krishna)
  • Aug. 30 – Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu festival celebrating Ganesha’s birthday)
  • Sep. 10 – Mid Autumn Festival (Moon festival celebrated throughout East Asia)
  • Sep. 22 – Harvest, or Mabon (Pagan ritual of thanksgiving)
  • Sep. 26 – Oct. 05 – Navratri (Hindu nine-day autumn festival)
  • Oct. 04 – Dussehra, or Dasara (Hindu celebration of victories by several gods and goddesses)
  • Oct. 08 – Mawlid al-Nabi (Islamic observance of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday)
  • Oct. 09 – 16* – Sukkot (Jewish week-long Festival of Booths)
  • Oct. 17* – Simchat Torah (Jewish celebration of the Torah)
  • Oct. 24 – Diwali (Hindu Festival of Lights)
  • Oct. 25*# – Birth of the Bab (Herald of Baha’i faith)
  • Oct. 26*# – Birth of Baha’u’llah (Founder of Baha’i faith)
  • Oct. 31* – Samhain (Pagan festival honoring those who have died)
  • Nov. 07 – Guru Nanak Jayanti (Sikh observance of founder’s birthday)
  • Nov. 27 – Dec. 24 Advent (Christian season of preparation for Christmas)
  • Dec. 18 – 26* – Hanukkah (Jewish eight-day Festival of Lights)
  • Dec. 22 – Yule, or Winter Solstice (Pagan observance of the winter solstice)
  • Dec. 26 – Kwanzaa (African American cultural festival)
  • Jan. 06 – Epiphany (Christian celebration of Jesus’ manifestation to Gentiles)
  • Jan. 07 – Christmas (Eastern Orthodox celebration of Jesus’ birth)
  • Jan. 25 – Saraswati Puja, or Vasant Panchami (Hindu springtime festival)
  • Feb. 02 – Imbolc (Pagan celebration of the beginning of spring)
  • Feb. 05* – Tu B’Shvat (Jewish celebration of trees)
  • Feb. 15 – Nirvana Day (Some Buddhists mark Buddha’s full achievement of Nirvana)
  • Feb. 18 – Maha Shivratri (Hindu festival honoring the god Shiva)
  • Feb. 21 – Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday celebration prior to Christian season of Lent)
  • Mar. 06 – Purim (Jewish Feast of Lots)
  • Mar. 08 – Holi (Hindu Festival of Colors)
  • Mar. 20*# – Naw-Rúz (Baha’i New Year)
  • Mar. 21 – Nawruz (Persian New Year)
  • Mar. 21 – Ostara (Pagan festival at the spring equinox)
  • Apr. 02 – Palm Sunday (Christian observance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem)
  • Apr. 06 – Maundy Thursday (Christian observance of Jesus’ last supper)
  • Apr. 08 – Vesak (Widely celebrated day of Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death)
  • Apr. 14 – Holy Friday (Eastern Orthodox)
  • Apr. 16 Easter (Eastern Orthodox celebration of Jesus’ resurrection)
  • Apr. 17 * – Yom Hashoah (Jewish day of Holocaust remembrance)
  • Apr. 18 – Laylat al-Qadr (Islamic night of prayer during Ramadan)
  • Apr. 20*# – Festival of Ridvan (Baha’i founder Baha’u’llah proclaimed as God’s messenger)
    NOTE: Work suspended on day 1 (Apr. 20-21*), day 9 (Apr. 28-29*) and day 12 (May 1-2*)
  • May 01 – Beltane (Pagan celebration related to May Day, fertility)
  • May 23*# – Declaration of the Bab (Herald of Baha’i faith)
  • May 25 – 27* – Shavuot (Jewish commemoration of God’s gift of Torah at Sinai)
  • May 28*# – Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Marks Baha’i founder’s death)
  • May 28 – Pentecost (Christian celebration of Holy Spirit and birth of the church)
  • Jun. 21 – Midsummer, or Litha (Pagan holiday around the summer solstice)

*Holiday begins the evening of the first date listed and ends the evening of the last date listed.