Major Religious Observances
Stanford has long supported faculty, students and staff in observing religious holidays of significance to them. In the complex process of creating the academic calendar, religious holy days are but one of many considerations. The university administration has always been helpful in facilitating communication and encouraging respect and understanding when there are academic calendar conflicts with religious holy days.
Most instructors will be cooperative and flexible regarding religious observance when they receive appropriate and early communication. Students should work with their instructors in advance. If a student is planning NOT to attend class or take an exam because of a religious holiday, they should convey this information to instructors at the beginning of the quarter so that the student will not be disadvantaged as a result of religious practice. Students and instructors should work together to plan for the absence and any class notes or assignements that might be missed.
The Office for Religious & Spiritual Life makes available to faculty, staff and students this list of significant religious holidays at the beginning of each academic year. For any questions or concerns, please contact the Office for Religious & Spiritual Life.
- Log in to your web calendar at webcal.stanford.edu
- On the left side of the screen, click on the “Add Calendar” link
- A window will pop up. On the left-hand side menu, click on “Add from Directory”
- You will be prompted to enter the calendar name. Type in “ORL CAL Religious Holidays” and select it from the drop-down menu
- The ORL CAL Religious Holidays calendar will now appear under your Other Calendars list for viewing
July 2022-June 2023
- 30th, The First of Muḥarram Islam - The First of Muḥarram celebrates the Ḥijra of Muḥammad and his followers in 622 CE, from Mecca to Medina.
8th, Ashura Islam - For Shi’ite Muslims ’Āshūrā’ commemorates the martyrdom of Ḥusain, Prophet Muḥammad’s grandson, in AH 61 (680 CE).
- 25th, Erev Rosh Hashanah Jewish - Eve of Rosh Hashanah
- 26th-27th Rosh Hashanah Jewish - New Year’s Day, year 5781, and the anniversary of the creation of the world. The first of the Ten Days of Awe (or Repentance).
- 26th, Navarati Begins Hindu - Hindu festival that spans nine nights (and ten days). It is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various communities.
- 29 Michaelmas Christian - Feast of St. Michael and all Angels
- 4th, Kol Nidre Jewish - Eve of Yom Kippur
- 5th, Yom Kippur Jewish - The Day of Atonement is the year's holiest day and a day of fasting. To re-establish oneness with God, Jews ask forgiveness and forgive others. Then can they confess their sins and ask God's forgiveness.
- 5th, Navarati Hindu Ends
- 7th-8th, Mawlid al Nabi Islam (Sunni and Shia)- The anniversary of the birth of Prophet Muḥammad.
- 9th, Erev Sukkot Jewish - Eve of Sukkot
- 10th-11th, Sukkot Jewish - A pilgrimage feast and a time of thanksgiving, it celebrates God's presence in creation and among the Jewish people.
- 16th, Erev Shemini Atzeret Jewish - Eve of Shemini Atzeret
- 17th, Shemini Atzeret Jewish - Shemini Atzeret (the Eighth Day of Assembly) is a separate holiday concluding Sukkot and the entire fall holiday season. It marks the beginning of winter in the land of Israel. At sundown: Erev Simchat Torah
- 18th, Simchat Torah Jewish - Simḥat Torah (Rejoicing of the Law) is the beginning of the synagogue's annual Torah reading cycle.
- 24th, Diwali Hindu, Jain, Sikh - The Festival of Lights, Diwali (Deepavali) is associated with a story about the destruction of evil by Lord Vishnu in one of his many manifestations.
- 26th, Birth of Báb Bahá’í - The birth anniversary of The Báb (Herald of the new age for Bahá’ís)
- 27th, Birth of Baha’u’llah Bahá’í - The anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh the founder of the Bahá’í faith.
- 31th - Nov. 1st, Samhain Pagan - A Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or "darker-half" of the year. For the Wiccan community, it is one of the four Greater Sabbats. It is associated with the honoring of ancestors as it is said the veil between the living and the dead thins at this time.
- 1st, El Día de Muertos - A holy day set aside to honor and remember loved ones who have died.
- 1st, All Saints Day Christian - A day to honor Christian saints throughout the ages.
- 2nd, All Souls Day Christian - A day set aside for honoring the dead.
- 8th, Birthday of Guru Nanak Sikh - Founder of the Sikh faith and first of the Ten Gurus, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
- 27th, Advent (begins) Christian - Advent is the beginning of the Christian year and marks the four weeks prior to Christmas when the Church focuses on the eschatological coming of the Christ.
- 8th, Bodhi Day Buddhist - Anniversary of the historical Buddha’s awakening.
- 12th, Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe/Our Lady of Guadalupe Christian - Feast day celebrates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to an indigenous man, St. Juan Diego, on a hill of Tepeyac in Mexico. The Virgin appeared as an indigenous woman and is celebrated as the Patron Saint of Mexico.
- 18th, Eve of Hanukkah Jewish
- 19th, First Day of Hanukkah Jewish - The Festival of Lights (and the Feast of Dedication), commemorates the victory of Judah the Maccabee and religious freedom, and the re-dedication of the Temple in 165 BCE.
- 24th, Christmas Eve Christian (Western)
- 25th, Christmas Christian (Western) - Celebrates the birth of Jesus.
- 26th, Last Night of Hanukkah Jewish - The Festival of Lights
- 26th - January 1st, Kwanzaa Pan-African - Celebrated by people of African Descent from all over the world in recognition of their shared African heritage. The candles of a seven-branched Kinora representing seven values (Nguzo Saba) such as unity, self-determination, responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith, are successively lit over the seven days of the festival.
- 6th, Epiphany Christian - Epiphany comes closes the liturgical season of the Christmas season with and begins another liturgical season honoring the manifestation of Jesus as the Child of God.
- 7th, Christmas Christian (Eastern Orthodoxy) - Celebrates the birth of Jesus.
- 9th, Guru Gobind Singh's Birthday Sikh - Festival that commemorates the birthday of the tenth Guru of the Sikhs. It is a celebration in which prayers for prosperity are offered.
- 13th, Lohri Hindu, Sikh - Lohri - Lohri (LOH-ree) signifies the start of winter solstice and is followed by the longest night and shortest day of the year. Often referred to as the ‘Bonfire Festival’ or the ‘Festival of Farmers,’ it is a time to express gratitude and socialize with festive songs and dances to mark the arrival of longer days.
- 14th, Maghi/Makar Sankranti Hindu, Sikh - Marks the change from a decrease to an increase of the sun. This observance is twinned with Lohri (celebrated by people from the Punjab region of South Asia), which also marks the passing of the winter solstice.
- 23rd, Lunar New Year Confucian, Daoist, Buddhist - The first day after the new (dark) moon is a religious and cultural festival celebrated by Chinese, Vietnamese and Koreans of Buddhist and other backgrounds as New Year’s Day.
- 2nd, Candlemas Christian - Commemorating the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple when he was a baby.
- 17th-18th, Laylat al-Mi'rāj (or Isra and Mi'rāj) Islam - Commemorates the ascension (Mi'rāj) of the Prophet to heaven.
- 22nd, Ash Wednesday (Western) Christian- The beginning of Lent, the forty-day period (excluding Sundays) of preparation that precedes Easter.
- 6th, Erev Purim Jewish - Eve of Purim
- 7th, Purim Jewish - Celebrates victory over an oppressive ruler, as related in the Book of Esther, which is read at this time.
- 7th, Holi Hindu - A religious spring festival celebrated dedicated to Krishna or Kama.
- 21st, Nowruz Bahá’í, Persian/Zoroastrian - Celebrates the renewal of the world and the creation of fire (symbolic of Asha or righteousness). Zarathustra received his revelation on this day.
- 20th, Ramadan begins Islam - Month of fasting during which physically able Muslims do not eat or drink from the first sign of dawn until sunset. It is a time of self-examination and religious devotion.
- 2nd, Palm Sunday (Western) Christian - Celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
- 5th, Eve of Passover Jewish
- 6th, Maundy Thursday (Western) Christian - Celebrates the institution of the Lord’s Supper by Jesus.
- 6th-13th, Passover Jewish - Celebrating the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.
- 7th, Good Friday (Western) Christian - Commemorates the Passion of Jesus Christ, i.e., his submission to death by crucifixion.
- 9th, Easter (Western) Christian - Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.
- 14th, Vaisakhi Sikh - on this day in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Guru, removed the clerical system from Sikhism and reaffirmed the direct connection between Sikhs and the Divine.
- 16th, Easter (Eastern Orthodoxy) Christian - Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus.
- 16th, Laylat al-Qadr Islam - Also known as the ‘Night of Power,’ Laylat al-Qadr commemorates the first revelation of the Qur‘an (Islamic scriptures) to Prophet Muḥammad in 610 CE.
- 21st, 1st Day of Ridvan Bahá’í - The festival commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s public declaration of His mission to His family and closest followers.
- 21st, Ramadan ends Islam
- 21st, Eid al-Fitr Islam - Marks the end of Ramadan with the sighting of the new moon and is one of the two most important Islamic holy days.
- 29 9th Day of Ridván Bahá’í - Commemoration of when Bahá’u’lláh’s family joined Him at the garden of Riḍván in Baghdad.
- 2nd, 12th Day of Ridvan Bahá’í - Concludes the important Bahá’í festival of Ridvan
- 18th, Ascension Day Christian (W) - The anniversary of Jesus’ ascension into heaven forty days after Easter.
- 23 Declaration of The Bab Bahá’í - Commemorates the day in 1844 on which He announced His identity as The Báb, or Gate, the Herald of the new age.
- 25th, Erev Shavuot Jewish - Eve of Shavuot
- 26th-27th, Shavuot Jewish - Marks the conclusion of the period of seven weeks that follows Passover. Commemorates the giving of the Torah to the Israelites and the completion of God’s purpose to create a special people.
- 28th, Pentecost Christian (W) - Commemoration of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus following his ascension.
- 29th, Ascension of Baha'u'llah Bahá’í - Marks the anniversary of the death of the founder of the Bahá‘í faith.
- 4th, Trinity Sunday Christian - Celebration of the Christian understanding of God in Three Persons (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).
- 16th, Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji Sikh - The first Sikh Martyr and the fifth Guru, Sikhs remember Guru Arjan Dev Ji for contributing to and compiling the Sikh Scriptures.