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.
Krishna Jayanti (Hindu) – Celebrates Krishna’s birthday, Vishnu’s eighth incarnation on earth.
Gur-Gaddi Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh) – Since 1708, Sikhs have accepted Sri Guru Granth Sahib as their eternal Guru that holds the spirit of all Ten Gurus of the Sikhs. They consider Guru Granth Sahib to be a spiritual guide not only for Sikhs but for all of humankind; it plays a central role in guiding the Sikhs’ way of life.
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish) – Beginning of the Jewish New Year and first of the High Holy Days, which marks the beginning of a ten-day period of penitence and spiritual renewal.
Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu) – Celebrates the birthday of Ganesha, the elephant deity.
Yom Kippur (Jewish) – The “Day of Atonement” marks the end of the Ten Days of Penitence that begin with Rosh Hashanah.
Sukkot (Jewish) – The week-long “Feast of Booths” commemorates the 40-year wandering of the Israelites in the desert on the way to the Promised Land.
Shemini Atzeret (Jewish) – "The Eighth (Day) of Assembly" is observed on the day immediately following Sukkot.
Simchat Torah (Jewish) – "Rejoicing in the Torah" celebrates the conclusion of the public reading of the Pentateuch and its beginning anew.
Navaratri (Hindu) – 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.
Samhain/Beltane (Wiccan/Pagan) – A festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year.
All Saints' Day (Christian) – Commemorates all known and unknown Christian saints. In Orthodox churches it is observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost (June 27).
Diwali (Hindu, Jain, Sikh) – Also called the “Festival of Lights,” it celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.
Birth of the Báb (Bahá’í) – The anniversary of the birth of Siyyid, the prophet-herald of the Bahá’í faith, in Shíráz, Persia.
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.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s Birthday (Sikh) – The anniversary of Guru Nanak, the First Guru of the Sikhs and the founder of Sikhism. He was born in mid-November; the holiday is celebrated according to the lunar date.
November 28-December 24
Advent (Christian) – Advent is a season of spiritual preparation in observance of the birth of Jesus. In Western Christianity, it starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. In Eastern Christianity, the season is longer and begins in the middle of November.
November 29-December 6
Hanukkah (Jewish) – Eight-day “Festival of Lights,” celebrating the rededication of the Temple to the service of God in 164 BCE.
Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) (Buddhist) – 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.
Winter Solstice (Wiccan/Pagan) – Marks the first day of the season of winter. The length of time between sunrise and sunset is the shortest of the year with the sun shining closest to the Southern Hemisphere and the farthest from the Northern Hemisphere.
Christmas (Christian) – Commemorates the birth of Jesus, the founder of the Christian tradition. In the Orthodox Church, this holiday is also referred to as the “Feast of the Nativity” and is celebrated on January 7.
December 26-January 1
Kwanzaa – A seven-day celebration honoring African American heritage and its continued vitality. "Kwanzaa" means "first fruits (of the harvest)" in Swahili.