We recognize that this resource cannot provide an exhaustive list for all of our faith traditions. Dates may vary depending on region and affiliation.

If you have any questions about interpreting the policy or other concerns or corrections, please contact the Office for Spiritual Engagement. Call (315) 781-4637, or email or

Here is a list of major religious holidays that may affect a student’s participation in classes.  In order to foster a diverse and inclusive learning environment and in keeping with New York State law, found here, the Colleges have adopted the following policy regarding religious observance:

No student shall be prevented from participating in any examination, study, or work requirements because of religious obligations and practices. The Colleges accept the responsibility of making available to each student who is absent from class because of religious obligations and practices an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. In effecting these provisions, the Colleges' administration and faculty agree to exercise the fullest measure of good faith and agree that no adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student who avails himself or herself of the Colleges' policy on religious observances. It is the student’s obligation to inform faculty of any necessary accommodation well in advance of the date on which special accommodations are needed. (HWS Faculty Handbook, March 2017)

Some of our students come from very strong religious and cultural backgrounds where no classes are held on Rosh Ha-Shanah, Yom Kippur, Diwali, Eid al-Fitr, etc.  Here are concrete ways you can support your religiously observant students.

  1. Avoid scheduling tests, major quizzes, field trips, major lectures and large campus events on major holidays.
  2. Include a reminder of our campus policy in your syllabus.
  3. Note the responsibilities students have in requesting accommodation.
  4. Note the ways you anticipate providing accommodations.
  5. Talk about the issue when you address your attendance policy at the start of the semester.
  6. Encourage your students to convey to you in advance when they will miss a previously scheduled class or examination due to religious observance so that they will not be disadvantaged by their religious practice

Nita Byrd,
Chaplain of the Colleges

Policy & Notes

The Colleges’ policy on religious observance includes the following: “The Colleges accept the responsibility of making available to each student who is absent from class because of religious obligations and practices an equivalent opportunity to make up any examination, study or work requirement missed.”

  • Bahá’í, Jewish, and Muslim holidays begin at sunset on the evening before date listed.
  • The observance dates of any holiday depend on both religious group affiliation and region. For example, Buddha’s birthday is one of the most widely celebrated of Buddhist holidays. However, no one date is accepted by all Buddhists.
  • We recognize that for many Christians, the observance of days that commemorate the lives of saints is an integral part of their faith. Many of these days have not been included as part of this calendar because they are vast in number and observance differs greatly by region, denomination, and personal belief.

For more information on observances and traditions, please feel free to examine the interfaith calendar published yearly by North Carolina for Community and Justice (NCCJ), or individual constituencies.

2023-2024 Academic Year

Fall 2023 Semester

September 6

Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu)

September 11

Paryushana-parva (Jain)

September 16 - 17 

Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)

September 20

Samvastsari (Jain)

September 23

Autumn Equinox (Northern Hemisphere), Mabon (Wicca, Pagan)

September 25

Yom Kippur (Jewish)

September 27

Mawlid al Nabi (Muslim)

September 30 - October 6

Sukkot (Jewish)

October 7

Shemini Atzeret (Jewish)

October 8

Simchat Torah (Jewish)

October 15

Navaratri (Hindu)

October 16

Birth of B’ab (Bahá’í)

October 17

Birth of Baha’u’llah (Bahá’í)

October 20

Installation of Scriptures of Guru Granth Sahib

October 31

Halloween/All Hallows Eve (Interfaith)

November 1

All Saints Day (Western Christian), Samhain (Wicca, Pagan)

November 1 - 2

Dia de Los Muertos (Interfaith)

November 2

All Souls Day (Western Christian)

November 12

Diwali (Hindu), Mahavira Nirvana (Jain)

November 15

Nativity Fast Begins (Orthodox Christian)

November 26

Day of the Covenant (Bahá’í)

November 28

Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Bahá’í)

December 3 - 24

Advent (Western Christian)

December 8

Bodhi Day (Buddhist)

December 8 - 15

Hanukkah (Jewish)

December 21

Winter Solstice (Northern Hemisphere), Yule (Wicca, Pagan)

December 25

Christmas (Western and Orthodox Christian)

December 26

Death of the Prophet Zarathustra

December 26 - January 1

Kwanzaa (Interfaith)


Spring 2024 Semester

January 1

Shogatsu/Gantan-sai (Shinto)

January 5

Birth of Guru Gobind Singh (Sikh)

January 6

Epiphany (Western Christian)

January 7

Feast of the Nativity (Orthodox Christian), Christmas (Rastafarian)

January 13

Maghi (Sikh)

January 19

Feast of the Epiphany (Orthodox Christian)

January 22

Chinese New Year (Interfaith, Buddhist)

January 25

Tu B’Shevat (Jewish)

January 30

Mahayana New Year (Buddhist)

February 1

Imbolc (Wicca, Pagan)

February 3

Setsebun (Shinto)

February 7

Isra’ Mi’raj/Lailat Mi’raj (Muslim)

February 14

Ash Wednesday & Lent Begins (Western Christian)

February 15

Nirvana Day/Parinirvana Day (Buddhist, Sikh)

February 20

Shrove Tuesday (Western Christian)

February 25

Lailat al Bara-ah (Muslim)

February 26

Intercalary/Ayyam-i-ha Begins (Bahá’í)

February 26

Clean Monday & Lent Begins (Orthodox Christian)

March 1

Intercalary/Ayyam-i-ha Ends (Bahá’í)

March 2

Ala/19 Day Fast Begins (Bahá’í)

March 10

Ramadan Begins (Muslim)

March 18

Ash Wednesday & Lent Begins (Orthodox Christian)

March 20

Spring Equinox (Northern Hemisphere), Ostara (Wicca, Pagan)

March 21

Naw-Ruz (Bahá’í), Norooz (Zoroastrian, Persian)

March 23 - 24

Purim (Jewish)

March 24

Palm Sunday (Western Christian)

March 24 - 30

Holy Week (Western Christian)

March 25

Holika Dahan (Hindu)

March 26

Hola Mohalla (Sikh), Holi (Hindu), Khordad Sal/Birth of the Prophet Zarathustra (Zoroastrian)

March 28 - May 3

Holy Week (Orthodox Christian)

March 29

Good Friday (Western Christian)

March 30

Magha Puja Day (Buddhist)

March 31

Easter (Western Christian), Palm Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

April 6

Lailat al-Qadr (Muslim)

April 10

Ramadan Ends & Eid-al-Fitr (Muslim)

April 14

Baisakhi/Vaisakhi (Sikh)

April 18

Lailat al-Qadr (Muslim)

April 21

Ridvan Begins (Buddhist), Mahavira-Jayanti (Jain)

April 22 - 30

Pesach/Passover (Jewish)

April 24 - 26

Theravada New Year (Buddhist)

May 1

Beltane (Wicca, Pagan)

May 2

Ridvan Ends (Buddhist)

May 3

Good Friday (Orthodox Christian)

May 5

Pascha/Easter (Orthodox Christian)

May 6

Yom Hashoah (Jewish)

May 9

Ascension Day (Western Christian)

May 14

Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Jewish)

May 23

Buddha Day/Visakha Puja/Vesak (Buddhist)

May 24

Declaration of the Bab (Bahá’í)