Interfaith Reference Calendar

An interfaith reference calendar fosters dialogue and cooperation among the various religious traditions that make Stetson University a diverse and inclusive living-learning community. Students are encouraged to utilize the calendar to better support one another throughout the course of the academic year. Faculty and staff are encouraged to utilize the calendar when planning curriculum and to raise the level of discourse about matters of faith and practice. Finally, the interfaith reference calendar should remind and encourage students, faculty and staff to be mindful of the commitments of others. The observation of certain religious holidays may involve fasting, dietary changes or special celebrations that may occur during the day or in the evening.

Jewish, Islamic and Bahá'í holidays begin at sundown the night before the observance date listed, with the following day observed as the first full day of the holiday. The holiday concludes at sundown of the last day listed. Orthodox and observant conservative Jews stop all work-related activities from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday to observe Shabbat (Sabbath). Other religious traditions include similar practices. For example, Seventh-Day Adventists observe the Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

Fall 2014


August 15

The Feast of the Assumption (Christianity - Catholicism) marks Mary's death and assumption without bodily decay into Heaven. Referred to as "The Feast of the Dormition" by Churches of the Eastern Rite.

August 17

Krishna Jayanti (Hinduism) celebrates Krishna's birthday, Vishnu's eighth incarnation on earth.

August 29

Ganesh Chaturthi (Hinduism) celebrates the birthday of Ganesha, the elephant deity.


September 25-26

Rosh Hashanah (Judaism marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year and is the first of the High Holy Days, which marks the beginning of a ten-day period of penitence and spiritual renewal.

September 29

Navaratri (Hinduism) – The beginning of a nine-day festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. It worships God in the form of universal mother (Durga, Devi or Shakti) and marks the start of fall.


October 4

Yom Kippur (Judaism) – The "Day of Atonement" marks the end of the Ten Days of Penitence that begin with Rosh Hashanah.

October 4-7

Eid Al-Adha (Islam) – The "Feast of Sacrifice" is a three-day festival that marks the conclusion of the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

October 9-15

Sukkot (Judaism) – The week-long "Feast of Booths" commemorates the 40-year wandering of the Israelites in the desert on the way to the Promised Land.

October 16

Shemini Atzeret (Judaism) – "The Eighth Day of Assembly" is observed on the day immediately following Sukkot.

October 17

Simchat Torah (Judaism) – "Rejoicing in the Torah" celebrates the conclusion of the public reading of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) and its beginning anew.

October 20

Birth of the Báb (Bahá'í) – The anniversary of the birth of Siyyid, the prophet-herald of the Bahá'í faith, in Shíráz, Persia.

October 23

Diwali (Hinduism) – The Hindi "Festival of Lights," Diwali celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.

October 25

Al-Hijra (Islam) – The first day of the Islamic liturgical year, remembering the migration of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE.


November 1

All Saints' Day (Christianity) – Commemorates all known and unknown Christian saints. In Orthodox churches it is observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost (June 7).

November 3

Ashura (Islam) – A day of fasting observed on the tenth day of the Islamic liturgical year to celebrate Moses' exodus from Egypt. Additionally, on this day Shi'a Muslims mourn the martyrdom of Hussein ibn Ali—the third Shi'a Imam.

November 12

The Birth of Bahá'u'lláh (Bahá'í) – The anniversary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh, prophet-founder of the Bahá'í faith, in Núr, Persia. The celebration includes feasting, prayers and music.

November 30

Advent (Christianity) – The first Sunday of a season of spiritual preparation in observance of the birth of Jesus.


December 8

Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) – (Buddhism) – Marks the occasion of Gautama's attainment of enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, India. As an act of commemoration, some families light candles for thirty days afterword.

Immaculate Conception (Christianity (Catholic)) – This day marks the conception of Mary, who was born without sin according to Catholic Church doctrine.

December 17-24

Hanukkah (Judaism) – The eight-day Jewish "Festival of Lights," celebrating the rededication of the Temple to the service of God in 164 BCE.

December 25

Christmas (Christianity) – Commemorates the birth of Jesus.

Spring 2015


January 1

Temple Day (Buddhism) – Many Buddhists of all traditions pay their respects and pray for good fortune for the new year at the temple. (In Mahayana countries, the New Year will be celebrated on January 5, as this marks the first full moon day in January.)

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (Christianity (Catholic)) – This liturgical feast honors the divine motherhood of Mary to Jesus. This is also celebrated as the day that the birth of Jesus was publicly announced.

January 6

Epiphany (Christianity) – Known as Theophany in Eastern Christianity, it celebrates the manifestation of Jesus as Christ. The Western Church associates Epiphany with the journey of the Magi to the infant Jesus, and the Eastern Church with the baptism of Jesus by John. In addition, Armenian Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on Epiphany.

January 7

Christmas (Eastern Orthodox Christianity) – Most Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas 13 days later than other Christian churches based on their use of the Julian rather than the Gregorian version of the Western calendar.


February 4

Tu B'Shvat (Judaism) – Translated as "New Year of the Trees." Traditionally, this day represented the first of the year for tithing fruit of trees. Now it is a day for environmental awareness and action, such as tree planting.

February 15

Parinirvana Day (Nirvana Day) (Buddhism) – Mahayana Buddhist festival marking the anniversary of Buddha's death. Pure Land Buddhists call the festival "Nirvana Day" as it commemorates the day when the Buddha achieved complete Nirvana upon the death of his physical body. This holiday is also celebrated on February 8.

February 18

Ash Wednesday (Christianity) – The first day of Lent for Western Churches, a 40-day period of spiritual preparation for Easter.


March 2

Nineteen-Day Fast Begins (Bahá'í) – During this period Bahá'ís go without food or drink from sunrise to sunset.

March 5

Purim (Judaism) – A day of feasting that marks the deliverance of the Jews as told in the book of Esther.

March 6

Holi (Hinduism) – This festival celebrates spring and commemorates various events in Hindu mythology.

March 21

Naw-Ruz (Bahá'í) – Bahá'í New Year, which coincides with the first day of spring and marks the end of the nineteen-day fast.

March 29

Palm Sunday (Christianity) – Observed the Sunday before Easter to commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.


April 2

Maundy Thursday (Christianity) – This day commemorates the Last Supper, at which Jesus and the Apostles were together for the last time before his crucifixion.

April 3

Good Friday (Christianity) – Known as Holy Friday in Eastern Christianity, it commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus on the Friday before Easter.

April 3-11

Passover (Judaism) – The eight-day "Feast of Unleavened Bread" celebrates Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

April 5

Easter Sunday (Christianity) – This day celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. In the Orthodox Christian Church, this day commemorates Palm Sunday and Easter is celebrated on April 12.

April 16

Yom Hashoah (Judaism) – "Holocaust Remembrance Day" memorializes the martyrdom of six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

April 21

Festival of Ridvan – (Bahá'í) – For 12 days (April 21 to May 2), Bahá'ís celebrate the period when Bahá'u'lláh resided in a garden and proclaimed his mission as God's messenger for this age. The Ninth Day of Ridvan marks the arrival of Bahá'u'lláh's family to the garden, and the Twelfth Day commemorates a journey toward Constantinople made by Bahá'u'lláh, 11 family members and 26 disciples.


May 23

Declaration of the Báb – (Bahá'í) – Marks the beginning of the Bahá'í faith in Shíráz, Persia (Iran).

May 23-25

Shavuot – (Judaism) – The "Feast of Weeks" celebrates the covenant established at Sinai between God and Israel, and the revelation of the Ten Commandments.

May 24

Pentecost (Christianity) – This day marks the birth of the Christian Church when the Holy Spirit descended upon the followers of Jesus.

May 29

Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh (Bahá'í) – Marks the anniversary of the death of Bahá'u'lláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá'í faith.

Summer 2015


June 18

Ramadan (Islam) – A month of strict fasting from dawn until dusk in honor of the first revelations of the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad.


July 3

Asala Puja (Dharma Day) – (Buddhism) – The anniversary of the beginning of the Buddha's teaching. On this day he gave his first sermon after achieving enlightenment, "The Wheel of Truth."

July 9

Martyrdom of the Báb (Bahá'í) – Commemorates the execution of the 30 year-old Báb by a firing squad on this date in 1850.

July 18

Eid Al-Fitr (Islam) – The "Feast of the Breaking of the Fast" marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting from dawn until dusk.