SU Interfaith Initiatives

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.

Spring 2016


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.)

January 5

Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Birthday (Sikhism) – Guru Gobing Singh was the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs who initiated the Sikhs as the Khalsa (the pure ones) and is known as the Father of the Khalsa.

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.

January 17

World Religion Day (Bahá'í) – Observance to proclaim the oneness of religion and the belief that world religion will unify the peoples of the earth.

January 25

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 10

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

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.


March 2

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

March 20

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

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 23

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

March 24

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

March 24

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

March 25

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

March 27

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 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.

April 23-30

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


May 5

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

May 15

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

May 23

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

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 2016


June 6-July 5

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.

June 12-13

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


July 6

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.

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 19

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."