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Religious Observances

Religious Observances 2024

Please note that individual practices may vary.
“*” denotes holidays that start sundown the day before


January 13 – Korean American Day: Honor people of Korean descent who have made contributions to America. This day was first established in 2005 by President George W. Bush.

January 16 – Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Celebrate the civil rights activist’s birthday by watching his speeches, learning about others who helped expand voting rights like Ida B. Wells, or by taking a virtual tour of the National Civil Rights Museum.

January 18 – Bodhi Day: For Mahayana Buddhists, this holiday celebrates the attainment of the truth of existence by Buddha. This allows him to find happiness and to be free from suffering.

January 27 – International Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust: This international memorial day commemorates Holocaust victims. On this date in 1945, the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Red Army.

February 1 – National Freedom Day: On this date in 1865, President Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery. The day was first advocated for by Major Richard Robert Wright Sr. who was born into slavery and freed after the Civil War.

February 10 – Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year): This signifies the first new moon of the lunar calendar. Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is one of the most important holidays celebrated in Chinese culture.

February 14 – Frederick Douglass’ Birthday (Observed): This day honors the birth of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. After escaping slavery in Maryland, he became the face of the abolitionist movement in the North.

February 14 – Ash Wednesday: This day marks the start of Lent, 40 days of fasting and prayer for Christians before Easter.

February 15 – Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday: This women’s suffrage leader advocated for equal pay and the right to vote for women. She also was an active member of the Abolitionist movement alongside Frederick Douglass.

March 2 – Granting of U.S. Citizenship to Puerto Ricans: On this date, Congress passed the Jones Act, which gave Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship and the right to elect representatives to the House and Senate.

March 7 – Purim: This holiday celebrates the rescue of Jews by Esther from a plot to kill them. Fasting the day before Purim honors the fasting of Esther before her plea to the king for the Jewish people.

March 8 – International Women’s Day: This global holiday is celebrated as a means to bring gender issues to the forefront such as reproductive rights, violence against women, and equal pay.

March 8 – Holi: This Festival of Colors, Love, and Spring is an important Hindu festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. It also celebrates the arrival of Spring and the blossom of love and hopes for a good harvest.

March 10 – Harriet Tubman’s Birthday (Observed): The Moses of her people, this American abolitionist helped others gain freedom as a conductor of the Underground Railroad. She also served as a spy, scout, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union in the Civil War despite only being paid $200.

March 12 – Ramadan: The arrival of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, brings forth a month of fasting, praying, and reflection.

March 21 – World Down Syndrome Day: This global day of awareness can be supported by wearing fun socks, which is a tradition that started because Chromosome 21 strands look like socks and are unique looking.

March 24 – Palm Sunday: Palm Sunday falls on the Sunday before Easter. The crowd waved palm branches to honor Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.

March 29 – Good Friday: This Christian holiday honors Jesus’ crucifixion and death. Many different Christian denominations observe this holy day. From noon to 3 pm, it is known as the Service of the Great Three Hours’ Agony, where it is believed Jesus died at the cross. Also known as Great Friday, Holy Friday, Great and Holy Friday, and Black Friday.

March 31 – Easter: Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion and the end of the 40-day Lent period with nearly two billion followers worldwide.

April 2: World Autism Awareness Day: This annual celebration helps raise awareness and acceptance of those with neurodivergence and developmental disorders.

April 6 – Tartan Day: The day acknowledges the role that Scottish Americans have made to the nation.

April 22 – Earth Day: Celebrate the 54th annual celebration of Earth Day by attending neighborhood or beach cleanups, planting a tree, or even helping to lead some type of recycling effort in your workplace.

April 22 – 30 – Passover: Passover or Pesach celebrates the freeing of enslaved Israelis. It is also known as the Festival of Unleavened Bread as Matzo or Matzah is eaten during Seder dinner.

May 4 – National Day of Prayer: Even before being signed into law in 1952, days of prayers occurred during the Continental Congress as far back as 1775.

May 17 – International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia: This annual day hopes to raise awareness of issues relating to the LGBTQ+ community.

May 19 – Malcolm X’s Birthday: The well-known Muslim minister and human rights activist helped advance civil rights as an advocate for Black empowerment. He was assassinated in 1965.

May 26 – Buddha’s Birthday: Sing Happy Birthday to Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Gautama Buddha and founded modern-day Buddhism.

June 7 – Feast of the Sacred Heart: This Roman Catholic feast day memorializes Jesus’ love for all humans.

June 12-13* – Shavuot: This major Jewish festival marks the harvest of wheat in Israel. According to Orthodox Judaism, the date also aligns with the revealing of the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites. Also known as the Feast of Weeks.

June 14-19* – The Hajj: This annual pilgrimage to Mecca is perhaps the most important Muslim holy day. This trip of a lifetime is required of all Muslims if they are physically or financially able to.

June 17-20* – Eid-al-Adha: This Islamic faith holiday ends the Hajj pilgrimage. It celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Ishmael, his son, to obey God. Because of this, a lamb is given to him to sacrifice in place of his son. On this day, animals, typically a sheep or a goat, are sacrificed and enjoyed by both the family and those in need. Also known as the Feast of Sacrifice.

June 21 – Litha: This Pagan and Wiccan festival is held on the summer solstice.

July 7* – Hijri New Year: The Islamic New Year marks the beginning of the lunar Hijri year.

July 21 – Asalha Puja: For Buddhists, this day is the start of a three-month mandatory retreat for all monks. Buddhists visit temples to give offerings, pray and meditate and listen to sermons. It is intended to be a day of new beginnings and renewal.

July 24 – Pioneer Day: Celebrated in Utah, this day marks the settling of the Church of Latter-Day Saints pioneers along the Great Salt Lake.

August 1 – Lughnasadh: This Gaelic festival and Irish holiday honors the first day of the harvest season. It occurs on the halfway point between the summer solstice and the fall equinox. Also known as Lughnasa.

August 13* – Tisha B’Av: This Jewish holiday is an annual fast day that remembers Jewish history and the destruction of Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple.

August 15 – Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: This Catholic holy day celebrates the day Mary’s body and soul ascended into heaven. Also known as Feast of the Assumption.

August 25* – Arbaeen: This day marks the end of the 40-day mourning period after Ashura for Shia Muslims. It marks the day that God delivered Israelites from the Egyptian Pharaoh by parting the Red Sea where they could safely cross.

August 26 – Krishna Janmashtami: This annual Hindu festival celebrates Krisha, a supreme God in the faith. This celebration includes the reading of religious texts, reenactments of his life, and dance. It is celebrated primarily in India. Also known as Gokulashtami, Janmashtami, or Krishanashtami.

September 21-29 – Mabon: Both Wiccans and Pagans use this day to celebrate the autumnal equinox, a day when the amount of sunlight and darkness is the same. This represents both balance and harmony.

September 15* – Mawlid al-Nabi: Muslims celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday today. They honor this day as they believe he is a messenger of God.

October 3 – Navratri: This ten-day Hindu festival celebrates the Goddess Durga and is a major crop season event. Each day a new goddess is worshiped and changing of Hindu scriptures occurs as well as a period of fasting.

October 3-4* – Rosh Hashanah: These two Jewish holy days remember the time that the world was created. It marks the 10 Days of Awe that focuses on repenting and reflection.

October 12* – Yom Kippur: This is one of the most important Jewish high holy days. The 10 Days of Awe period commemorates Yom Kippur which focuses on asking for forgiveness for your sins. During biblical times, this was the only day that a high priest could enter the most sacred part of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Also known as the Day of Atonement.

October 17 – 23 – Sukkot: This 7-day holiday commemorates when Jewish peoples journeyed through the desert to the promised land.

October 31 – November 4 – Diwali: This Hindu Festival of Lights symbolizes the fight of good over evil and its victory. It is celebrated by Sikhs, Hindus, Jains, and mostly Newar Buddhists.

November 1 – All Saints’ Day: This day honors all holy men and women who the Catholic Church has canonized.

November 3 – Birth of Baha’u’llah: This holy day for the Baha’i faith honors its founder’s birthdays. He challenges people to fight back against racial prejudice and to be one human family.

November 25 – Day of the Covenant: This Baha’i Holy Day celebrates the day that Abdu’l-Baha was appointed the Covenant. His role is to safeguard the faith from any division.

November 27 – Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha: This day honors the day that Abdu’l-Baha, the Servant of Baha, died. His funeral was attended by over 10,000 people of different religious backgrounds. He is believed to be an exemplary example of living Baha’i principles to its fullest for its followers.

November 30 – St. Andrew’s Feast Day: This day celebrates the patron saint of Romania, Ukraine, Barbados, Greece, Russia, and Scotland by remembering his accomplishments and canonization in the Catholic Church.

December 8 – Bodhi Day: This Buddhist holiday remembers the day that Gautama Buddha is believed to attain enlightenment. Also celebrated on the lunar date January 18, 2024.

December 21 to January 1 – Yule: Pagans and Wiccans celebrate the winter solstice today.

December 25 – Christmas: This important Christian remembers the birth of their Lord and Savior.

December 26 – January 1 – Kwanzaa: This seven-day cultural celebration focuses on seven main principles, Nguzo Saba. They all correspond to values that they believe help a person, their family, and their community to prosper.

December 26 – January 2* – Hanukkah: The 8-day Jewish celebration of the victory of Jews over Syrian Greeks begins today.