Holy Days & Observances

The Holy Days Calendar is an educational and accommodation resource for planning classroom, academic and co-curricular events.

Towson University accommodates students, faculty and staff who observe religious holy days. Please check dates before scheduling critical deadlines, events or activities and accommodate observant individuals with reasonable support. Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of religious or spiritual belief.

Please direct questions about this calendar to Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity at  or 410-704-0203.  

About the Calendar

  1. "Kosher restrictions apply" refers to the dietary restrictions of Jewish Law that include pork, shellfish (fish is allowed), and mixing meat with dairy.
  2. Halal dietary restrictions apply refers to the Islamic dietary restrictions. These include pork and alcohol.
  3. Bahá’í, Judaic and Islamic observances begin at sundown the previous day and end at sundown on the dates listed.
  4. These dates are based off of the Gregorian Calendar. However many cultures and religions follow their own calendar systems often based off the phases of the moon with some adjustments for the solar cycle. Further, the calendar does not include all holy days in every religious or spiritual tradition and some variances of dates may vary due to regional differences.

2019-2020 Academic Year

DATE OBSERVANCE RECOMMENDED ACCOMMODATION
Aug. 10 - 11

Eid al Adha (Islam)

Provide food accommodations (Halal dietary restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first day.
Sept. 29 - Oct. 8

Navratri (Hindu)

Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Sept. 30 - Oct. 1

Rosh Hashana (Jewish)

Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Oct. 8 - 9  Yom Kippur (Jewish) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on this date or the following day due to fasting.
Oct. 13 - 20 Sukkot / Succot (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first two days.
Oct. 21 - 22 Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Oct. 25 - 29 Diwali / Deepavali (Hindu) Employees participating often request this day off. Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Dec. 23 - 30 Hanukah / Chanukah (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply).
Dec. 25 Christmas Day (Christian) Accommodations are generally not required since this is a national holiday in the United States.
Jan. 5 Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib (Sikh) Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Feb. 19 Vaikunta Ekadasi (Hindu) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities due to many participants fasting.
Feb. 22 Maha Shivaratri (Hindu) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities due to many participants fasting.
Feb. 25 Ramakrishna (Hindu) Generally this holidays does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Feb. 26 Ash Wednesday (Christian) Provide food accommodations that include the use of no animal products.
Mar. 9 - 10 Purim (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Generally this holidays does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Mar. 21 Norouz / Norooz / Naw-Ruz (Bahá’í) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Apr. 9 - 16 Passover / Pesach (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher and leavening restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first or last two days.
Apr. 10 Good Friday (Christian) Provide food accommodations (meat is prohibited for some). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Apr. 12 Easter (Christian) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Apr. 13 Vaisakhi / Baisakhi / Birthday of the Khalsa (Sikh) Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Apr. 20 - 21 Yom HaShoah (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply).
Apr. 21 - May 2 Ridvan (Bahá’í) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first, ninth, or last day as these are held as non-working days.
Apr. 23 - May 24 Ramadan / Ramazan (Islam) Provide food accommodations (Halal dietary restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling important deadlines or activities due to students fasting during daylight hours.
May 18 - 19 Laylat Al Qadr (Islam) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities due to students praying late into the evening.
May 23 - 24 Eid Al-Fitr (Islam) Provide food accommodations (Halal dietary restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities. Employees participating often request this day off.
May 28 - 30 Shavuot (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on either day.
Jun. 16 Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib (Sikh) Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.

2020-2021 Academic Year

DATE OBSERVANCE RECOMMENDED ACCOMMODATION
Jul. 30 - 31 Eid al-Adha (Islam) Provide food accommodations (Halal dietary restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first day.
Oct. 17 - 25 Navratri (Hindu) Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Sept. 19 - 20 Rosh Hashana (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Sept. 27 - 28 Yom Kippur (Jewish) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on this date or the following day due to fasting.
Oct. 3 - 4 Sukkot / Succot (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first two days.
Oct. 10 - 11 Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Nov. 12 - 16 Diwali / Deepavali (Hindu) Employees participating often request this day off. Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Dec. 11 - 18 Hanukah / Chanukah (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply).
Dec. 25 Christmas Day (Christian) Accommodations are generally not required since this is a national holiday in the United States.
Jan. 5 Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib (Sikh) Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Mar. 9 Vaikunta Ekadasi (Hindu) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities due to many participants fasting.
Mar. 11 Maha Shivaratri (Hindu) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities due to many participants fasting.
Feb. 26 Ramakrishna (Hindu) Generally this holidays does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Feb. 17 Ash Wednesday (Christian) Provide food accommodations that include the use of no animal products.
Feb. 26 - 27 Purim (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Generally this holidays does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Mar. 21 Norouz / Norooz / Naw-Ruz (Bahá’í) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Mar. 28 - Apr. 4 Passover / Pesach (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher and leavening restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first or last two days.
Apr. 2 Good Friday (Christian) Provide food accommodations (meat is prohibited for some). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Apr. 4 Easter (Christian) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Apr. 14 Vaisakhi / Baisakhi / Birthday of the Khalsa (Sikh) Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Apr. 8 - 9 Yom HaShoah (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply).
Apr. 13 - May 12 Ridvan (Bahá’í) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first, ninth, or last day as these are held as non-working days.
Apr. 20 - May 1 Ramadan / Ramazan (Islam) Provide food accommodations (Halal dietary restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling important deadlines or activities due to students fasting during daylight hours.
May 8 Laylat Al Qadr (Islam) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities due to students praying late into the evening.
May 12 - 13 Eid Al-Fitr (Islam) Provide food accommodations (Halal dietary restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities. Employees participating often request this day off.
May 17 - 18 Shavuot (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on either day.
Jun. 16 Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib (Sikh) Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.

2021-2022 Academic Year

DATE OBSERVANCE RECOMMENDED ACCOMMODATION
Jul. 19 - 20 Eid al-Adha (Islam) Provide food accommodations (Halal dietary restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first day.
Oct. 7 - 14 Navratri (Hindu) Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Sept. 7 - 8 Rosh Hashana (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Sept. 15 - 16 Yom Kippur (Jewish) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on this date or the following day due to fasting.
Sept. 21 - 22 Sukkot / Succot (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first two days.
Sept. 28 - 29 Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Nov. 2 - 6 Diwali / Deepavali (Hindu) Employees participating often request this day off. Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Nov. 29 - Dec. 6 Hanukah / Chanukah (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply).
Dec. 25 Christmas Day (Christian) Accommodations are generally not required since this is a national holiday in the United States.
Jan. 5 Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib (Sikh) Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Mar. 4 Vaikunta Ekadasi (Hindu) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities due to many participants fasting.
Mar. 17 Maha Shivaratri (Hindu) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities due to many participants fasting.
Mar. 1 Ramakrishna (Hindu) Generally this holidays does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Feb. 26 Ash Wednesday (Christian) Provide food accommodations that include the use of no animal products.
Mar. 17 - 18 Purim (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Generally this holidays does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Mar. 21 Norouz / Norooz / Naw-Ruz (Bahá’í) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Apr. 15 - 23 Passover / Pesach (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher and leavening restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first or last two days.
Apr. 14 Good Friday (Christian) Provide food accommodations (meat is prohibited for some). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Apr. 15 Easter (Christian) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities.
Apr. 17 Vaisakhi / Baisakhi / Birthday of the Khalsa (Sikh) Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.
Apr. 27 - 28 Yom HaShoah (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply).
Apr. 21 - May 2 Ridvan (Bahá’í) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on the first, ninth, or last day as these are held as non-working days.
Apr. 27 - 28 Ramadan / Ramazan (Islam) Provide food accommodations (Halal dietary restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling important deadlines or activities due to students fasting during daylight hours.
Apr. 27 Laylat Al Qadr (Islam) Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities due to students praying late into the evening.
Jul. 9 - 10 Eid Al-Fitr (Islam) Provide food accommodations (Halal dietary restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities. Employees participating often request this day off.
Jun. 5 - 6 Shavuot (Jewish) Provide food accommodations (Kosher restrictions apply). Avoid scheduling deadlines or activities on either day.
Jun. 16 Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Sahib (Sikh) Generally this holiday does not have significant work restrictions, however provide accommodations if requested.

 

About the Holy Days

ASH WEDNESDAY (CHRISTIAN)

This Christian holiday signifies the beginning of lent. Lent is a 40 day period leading up till Easter when many Christians give up some of their common pleasures. Common traditions include wearing a cross of ashes on one's forehead and attending church service.

BIRTHDAY OF GURU GOBIND SINGH SAHIB (SIKH)

This Sikh holiday commemorates the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, known as the Father of the Khalsa. Common traditions include reading religious texts, praying, singing, and eating large festive meals.

CHRISTMAS DAY (CHRISTIAN)

This Christian holiday is in honor of the birth of Jesus. His self-sacrifice is what began the Christian religion. Common traditions include giving gifts, visiting family, attending church and often times decorating a Christmas tree.

DIWALI / DEEPAVALI (HINDU)

This is the "Festival of lights" and is celebrated by a number of Southern Asian religions. Some of the practicing religions include Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist. Participants celebrate the triumph of lightness over darkness and good over evil. Common traditions include the lighting of oil lamps, setting off fireworks and praying.

EASTER (CHRISTIAN)

This Christian holiday recognizes Jesus's resurrection from death. Common traditions include gifting others with colorful eggs and candy (often times the candy is chocolate shaped as a bunny), and gathering with family for a large meal.

EID AL-FITR (ISLAM)

This Islamic holiday signifies the last day of Ramadan and the end of the fasting period. Common traditions include exchanging gifts with one another, praying, and feasting with friends and family.

EID AL-ADHA (ISLAM)

This is an Islamic festival held in remembrance of Ibrahim sacrificing his son Ishmael per Allah's commands. Common traditions include gift giving, prayer and occasionally the slaughtering of sheep with a portion being given to the less fortunate.

GOOD FRIDAY (CHRISTIAN)

This Christian holiday commemorates the execution of Jesus and occurs the Friday before Easter annually. Common traditions include attending church service, praying, and fasting.

HANUKAH / CHANUKAH (JEWISH)

This Jewish holiday lasts eight days and is held in honor of the struggle Jews have had with attaining religious freedom throughout history. The holiday commemorates a historic victory when the Maccabees defeated the Syrian-Greeks. Common traditions include giving gifts, eating large meals, singing and  lighting the menorah nightly.

LAYLAT AL QADR (ISLAM)

This Islamic holiday commemorates the Qu'ran first being revealed to Muhammed. It is traditionally celebrated on the 27th day of Ramadan. Common traditions include praying late into the evening since this is considered the holiest of nights.

MAHA SHIVARATRI (HINDU)

This Hindu holiday honors Shiva, one of the Hindu deities. Common traditions include fasting, meditating, singing and worshiping all night.

MARTYRDOM OF GURU ARJAN DEV SAHIB (SIKH)

This Sikh holiday commemorates Guru Arjan Dev Sahib becoming the first martyr. Common traditions include praying, singing hymns, and attending Sikhism-based lectures.

NAVRATRI (HINDU)

This Hindu festival is held to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Common traditions include praying, fasting and celebrating. In addition, participants will often visit their mother or other relatives.

NOROUZ / NOROOZ / NAW-RUZ (BAHÁ’Í)

This is the Baha'i New Year honoring spring and the new life that it has brought. Common traditions include praying, dancing, and eating large meals.

PASSOVER / PESACH (JEWISH)

This Jewish celebration honors the emancipation of the Jewish slaves from ancient Egypt. Common traditions include Seders (ritualized meals), reading the Haggadah, family gatherings and lighting of the Yahrzeit memorial candle.

PURIM (JEWISH)

This Jewish holiday commemorates Esther saving the Jews that were living in Persia. Common traditions include reading the Book of Esther and holding celebrations similar to carnivals where many participants dress in costumes.

RAMADAN / RAMAZAN (ISLAM)

This Islamic holiday aims at focusing on one's faith. It celebrates the Qur'an being revealed for the first time during this month, more specifically on the night of Laylat al Qadr. Traditional customs include fasting during daylight hours, eating a meal called the iftar each night after reading the Qu'ran, refraining from any bad habits and for many attending night prayers at Mosques.

RAMAKRISHNA (HINDU)

This Hindu holiday is held to honor the birth of Ramakrishna, a Hindu mystic and saint.

RIDVAN (BAHÁ’Í)

This Bahá'i holiday commemorates when Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed his mission as God's messenger. Common traditions include reading excerpts recounting Bahá'u'lláh's stay in the Garden of Ridván. In addition on the first day elections for the democratically elected bodies, or spiritual assemblies, that help govern the Bahá'i community occur.

ROSH HASHANA (JEWISH)

This is the beginning of the Jewish New Year. It is celebrated as a day of both remembrance and judgement. Common traditions include having large, festive meals as well as going to the Synagogue for prayer.

SHAVUOT (JEWISH)

This Jewish holiday commemorates the giving of the Torah from God to the nation of Israel on top of Mount Sinai. Common traditions include studying the Torah, leading to devotional programs, and lighting a Yahrzeit memorial candle.

SHEMINI ATZERET / SIMCHAT TORAH (JEWISH)

Shemini Atzeret is a Jewish Holiday held the day after the Sukkot festival to remember the dead, pray for rain and be thankful for the fall harvest. Common traditions include lighting a Yahrzeit memorial candle.

Simchat Torah is a Jewish holiday that signifies the ending of the annual weekly readings of the Torah and the beginning of a new cycle of this. Common traditions include the reading of the Torah scrolls in the Synagogue while participants dance.

SUKKOT / SUCCOT (JEWISH)

This week long Jewish festival celebrates and gives thanks for the Fall harvest.  Common traditions include decorating the Sukkah as well as creating art.

VAIKUNTA EKADASI (HINDU)

This Hindu holiday is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is believed that on this day the gate to heaven opens. Common traditions include fasting, worshiping, meditating and singing.

VAISAKHI / BAISAKHI / BIRTHDAY OF THE KHALSA (SIKH)

This Sikh holiday celebrates the new year and founding of Sikhism in 1699. Common traditions include dance, music,  parades and the chanting of scripture.

YOM HASHOAH (JEWISH)

This day is held to remember the lives lost in the Holocaust and the many brave activists who fought against it. Common traditions include memorial ceremonies as well as reciting the Kaddish.

YOM KIPPUR (JEWISH)

This Jewish holiday, which is generally considered the holiest of days for the Jews, is dedicated to reparation and abstinence. Common traditions include a day of fasting and the lighting of the Yahrzeit memorial candle.