Programming Guidelines

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.

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 religions, 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.

Religious Calendar for 2021-2022

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

Major Holy Days

  • Avoid scheduling campus-wide events such as Blue and Gold 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.
Jul. 20 Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice; Islamic celebration at the end of the hajj)
Sep. 6-8* Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year)
Sep. 15-16* Yom Kippur (Jewish Day of Atonement)
Dec. 25 Christmas (Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus)
Apr. 3-May 3 Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting; suggested accommodations based on dietary restrictions are below)
Apr. 15-17* First two days of Passover (Jewish week-long observance of the Exodus from Egypt begins)
Apr. 17 Easter (Christian celebration of Christ’s resurrection)
May 3 Eid al-Fitr (Islamic celebration at the end of Ramadan)

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. 2 Ash Wednesday (Christian first day of Lent) Campus service,
4:30-5:30 pm
Apr. 15 Good Friday (Christian observance of Jesus’ death and burial) Campus service,
12:15-1:00 pm

Dietary Accommodations

  • Jews do not eat pork 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. 
  • 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.
Sep. 15-16* Yom Kippur: Jews fast from sundown Sep. 15 until sundown Sep. 16
Mar. 1-19 Month of Fasting: Baha’is do not eat or drink between sunup and sundown
Mar. 2-Apr. 14 Lent: Christians may fast from meat on Fridays or engage in other forms of fasting
Apr. 3-May 3 Ramadan: Muslims fast daily from food and drink from sunrise until sunset
Apr. 15-23* Passover: Jews eat no leavened bread and may observe other dietary restrictions (Note: Please include Kosher for Passover options at any catered events this week.)


Additional Holy Days

  • 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 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.
  • Work is suspended on the Baha’i holidays marked with #.
Jul. 8-9*# 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. 17 Ashura (Shi‘ite holy day commemorating the martyrdom of Husayn b. ‘Ali)
Aug. 29 Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Krishna)
Sep. 10 Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu festival celebrating Ganesha’s birthday)
Sep. 20-27* Sukkot (Jewish week-long Festival of Booths)
Sep. 22 Harvest, or Mabon (Pagan ritual of thanksgiving)
Sep. 28-29* Simchat Torah (Jewish celebration of the Torah)
Oct. 6-15* Navaratri (Hindu nine-day autumn festival)
Oct. 14 Dussehra, or Dasara (Hindu celebration of victories by several gods and goddesses)
Oct. 19 Mawlid al-Nabi (Observance of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday)
Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Samhain (Pagan festival honoring those who have died)
Nov. 4 Diwali (Hindu Festival of Lights)
Nov. 5-6*# Birth of the Bab (Herald of Baha’i faith)
Nov. 6-7*# Birth of Baha’u’llah (Founder of Baha’i faith)
Nov. 18 Guru Nanak Jayanti (Sikh observance of founder’s birthday)
Nov. 28-Dec. 6* Hanukkah (Jewish eight-day Festival of Lights)
Nov. 28-Dec. 24 Advent (Christian season of preparation for Christmas)
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. 7 Christmas (Eastern Orthodox celebration of Jesus’ birth
Jan. 16-17* Tu B’Shvat (Jewish celebration of trees)
Feb. 2 Imbolc (Pagan celebration of the beginning of spring)
Feb. 5 Saraswati Puja, or Vasant Panchami (Hindu springtime festival)
Feb. 15 Nirvana Day (Buddhists mark Buddha’s full achievement of Nirvana)
Feb. 28 Maha Shivratri (Hindu festival of the god Shiva)
Mar. 1 Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, celebration prior to Christian season of Lent)
Mar. 16-17* Purim (Jewish Feast of Lots)
Mar. 17 Holi (Hindu Festival of Colors)
Mar. 20-21*# Naw-Rúz (Baha’i New Year)
Mar. 20 Ostara (Pagan festival at the spring equinox)
Apr. 10  Palm Sunday (Christian observance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem)
Apr. 14 Maundy Thursday (Christian observance of Jesus’ last supper)
Apr. 20-May 2*# Festival of Ridvan (Baha’i founder Baha’u’llah proclaimed as God’s messenger)
Work suspended on day 1 (Apr. 20-21*), day 9 (Apr. 28-29*) and day 12 (May 1-2*)
Apr. 22 Holy Friday (Eastern Orthodox)
Apr. 24 Easter (Eastern Orthodox celebration of Jesus’ resurrection)
Apr. 27-28* Yom Hashoah (Jewish day of Holocaust remembrance)
Apr. 29 Laylat al-Qadr (Islamic night of prayer during Ramadan)
May 1 Beltane (Pagan celebration related to May Day, fertility)
May 23-24*# Declaration of the Bab (Herald of Baha’i faith)
May 28-29*# Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Marks Baha’i founder’s death)
Jun. 4-6* Shavuot (Jewish commemoration of God’s gift of Torah at Sinai)
Jun. 5 Pentecost (Christian celebration of Holy Spirit and birth of the church)
Jun. 21 Midsummer, or Litha (Pagan holiday around the summer solstice, the longest day)

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