Athletics Guidelines

Guidelines for Athletics: 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, Jewish, Hindu and other 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.

The athletic program presents some special challenges, since we have little or no control over scheduling competitions, and athletes are managing athletic requirements along with academics.

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. Allegheny is committed to supporting individuals of all religions, and we invite you to assist in accommodating students’ religious practice that might conflict with athletic programs.

This guide should help you work around religious holidays in a way that is respectful and sensitive, while not diminishing athletic commitments. Conflicts might also occur for athletes whose religion requires head covering or other apparel. If you have questions, please contact any of the following for guidance.

Christian Holidays, General or Interfaith Questions

Chaplain Jane Ellen Nickell,
Spiritual and Religious Life Office (814-332-2800)

Jewish Holidays

Adrienne Krone, Director of Jewish Life,

Islamic Holidays

Professor Younus Mirza,
Chaplain Jane Ellen Nickell,

Christian and Catholic Holidays

Fr. Jeff Lucas,

Religious Calendar for 2017-2018

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

  • We 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, and religious observance is an excused absence from class.
  • Please excuse students from competitions if they are observing one of these holidays, and assure them that there will be no adverse consequences for their participation in future competitions.
Sept. 1-4 Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice; Islamic three-day celebration at the end of the hajj)
Sep. 20-22 Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
Sep. 29-30 Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)
Dec. 25 Christmas (Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus)
Mar. 30-31 First two days of Passover (Jewish week-long observance of the Exodus from Egypt begins)
Apr. 1 Easter (Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection)
May 16-June 14 Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting; most Muslims will continue daily activity, but suggested accommodations based on dietary restrictions are below)
June 14-15 Eid al-Fitr (Islamic three-day celebration at the end of Ramadan)

Religious Rituals

There will be on-campus services at these times, so we ask flexibility, such as arranging alternative training for athletes who would like to attend, including regular weekly services:

  • Sunday Chapel Service at 11:00 am or other local church service
  • Catholic Mass, Sunday at 6:30 pm
  • Jewish Shabbat every Friday at 5:00 pm
  • Muslim prayers, Friday at 1:00 pm (Note that Muslim students who pray five times
    each day may need to be excused for a few minutes to pray at other times.)
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
Feb. 14 Ash Wednesday (Christian first day of Lent) Campus service,
4:30-5:30 pm
Mar. 30 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 have ramifications for athletes. Fasts for Ramadan, Yom Kippur, and the Baha’i Month of Fasting extend to drinking any type of beverage, including water, so dehydration is a danger, particularly during long and/or hot practice sessions. Accommodations might be to allow players to practice after sundown, when they are able to eat and drink.
  • If meals or snacks are provided for athletes, Passover and Lenten restrictions should be handled as any other dietary needs are. Please contact us if you need guidance on Kosher for Passover options.
Sep. 29-30 Yom Kippur: Jews fast from sundown Sep. 29, until sundown Sep. 30
Feb. 14-Apr. 1 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
Mar. 30-Apr. 6 Passover: Jews eat no leavened bread and may observe other dietary restrictions
May 16-June 14 Ramadan: Muslims fast daily from food and drink from before sunrise until after sunset

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. Those students should be accommodated as indicated above.
  • Students who are observing a minor holiday may ask to rearrange their schedule or perform an alternate training in order to attend a religious service or observance.

General notes:

  • Work is suspended on the Baha’i holidays listed below.
  • Society of Buddhist and Hindu Students (SBHS) and/or South Asian Club may host celebrations of Hindu holy days.
  • Allegheny Community for Earth-Based Spirituality (ACES) may hold rituals on or around Pagan festivals.
July 9 Martyrdom of the Bab (Death of the herald of the Baha’i faith)*
Aug. 1 Lughnassad, or Lammas (Pagan celebration of the beginning of harvest)
Aug. 15 Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu festival celebrating birth of Krishna)
Sep. 21-29 Navaratri (Hindu festival honoring the goddess Durga)
Sep. 22 Harvest, or Mabon (Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for fruits of the earth)
Sep. 30 Dussehra, or Dasara (Hindu celebration of victories by several gods and goddesses)
Sep. 30 Ashura (Shi‘ite holy day commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn b. ‘Ali)
Oct. 4-11 Sukkot (Jewish week-long Festival of Booths)
Hillel builds and decorates outdoor booth, or sukkah, and holds blessing and meals inside
Oct. 19 Diwali (Hindu Festival of Lights)
Oct. 20 Birth of the Bab (Herald of Baha’i faith)*
Nov. 1 Samhain (Pagan festival honoring those who have died)
Nov. 30 Mawlid al-Nabi (Observance of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday)
Dec. 3-24 Advent (Christian season of preparation for Christmas)
Candlelight Christmas Service in Ford Chapel, Dec. 11, at 7:00 pm
Dec. 12-20 Hanukkah (Jewish eight-day Festival of Lights)
Hillel lights wooden menorah near Chapel and holds Latke Fest Dec. 6
Dec. 21 Yule, or Winter Solstice (Pagan observance of the winter solstice)
Dec. 26-
Jan. 1
Kwanzaa (African American cultural festival)
Jan. 6 Epiphany (Christian celebration of Jesus’ manifestation to Gentiles)
Jan. 22 Saraswati Puja, or Vasant Panchami (Hindu springtime festival)
Jan. 30-31 Tu B’Shvat (Jewish Arbor Day)
Hillel holds Tu B’Shvat Seder Feb. 2
Feb. 2 Imbolc (Pagan celebration of the beginning of spring)
Feb. 13 Shrove Tuesday (Day before season of Lent begins, a.k.a. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday)
Pancake Supper, 5 pm, in Schultz Banquet Hall
Feb. 14 Maha Shivratri (Hindu festival of the god Shiva)
Feb. 15 Nirvana Day (Buddhists mark death of Buddha’s physical body, achieving full Nirvana)
Feb. 28-Mar. 1 Purim (Jewish Feast of Lots)
Hillel may hold Purim party or carnival
Mar. 2-20 Naw-Ruz (Baha’i Month of Fasting)*
Mar. 3 Holi (Hindu Festival of Colors)
Mar. 20 Ostara (Pagan festival at the vernal equinox)
Mar. 21 Naw-Rúz (First day of Baha’i calendar)
Mar. 25 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
Mar. 29 Maundy Thursday (Christian observance of Jesus’ last supper)
Apr. 6 Holy Friday (Eastern Orthodox)
Apr. 8 Easter (Eastern Orthodox)
Apr. 11-12 Yom Hashoah (Jewish day of Holocaust remembrance)
Hillel may hold vigil or other ritual 
Apr. 21-May 2 Festival of Ridvan (Baha’i commemoration of Baha’u’llah’s proclamation)**
May 2 Beltane (Pagan celebration related to May Day, fertility)
May 19-20 Shavuot (Jewish commemoration of God’s gift of Torah at Sinai)
May 20 Pentecost (Christian celebration of Holy Spirit and birth of the church)
May 29 Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Anniversary of Baha’is founder’s death)*
June 7 Laylat al-Qadr (Islamic night of prayer during Ramadam; date varies based on different legal opinions)
June 21 Midsummer, or Litha (Pagan holiday around the summer solstice, the longest day)

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