Calendar of Cultural and Religious Observances

Members of the Yale community come from many backgrounds and places. The following cultural and religious dates for the 2018-2019 academic year are some of the many that are observed by community members.


From September 15th to October 15th is designated as Latinx Heritage Month or Hispanic Heritage month (federal designation) in the United States.

9/3 Labor Day. A United States celebration honoring the contribution laborers have made to the country.

9/6 Paryushana Parva. Jain. Eight day Festival of Forgiveness and Self-Discipline.

9/10-11 Rosh-Hashanah. Jewish. Beginning of the Jewish year and High Holy Days.

9/19 Yom Kippur. Jewish. Day of Atonement. Most solemn Jewish holy day. Adults fast from food and drink.

9/21 Ashura. Muslim. For Shias, a commemoration of the martyrdom of Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhamad, at Karbala.

9/24-30 Sukkot. Jewish. The Feast of the Tabernacles, where meals are consumed in a temporary outdoor structure. Harvest Festival.


10/1 Shemini Atzeret. Jewish. Marks the end of Sukkot. Work is prohibited.

10/2 Simchat Torah. Jewish. Celebrates and marks both the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle. Work is prohibited.

10/8 Columbus Day. A United States federal holiday that marks the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. 

10/8 Indigenous People’s Day. An alternative celebration to Columbus Day that gives recognition to the Indigenous populations of North America.

10/9-10/17 Navratri; 10/18 Vijayadashimi/Dusshera Hindu. Festival of 9 nights celebrating the Goddess in her various forms, most typically as Durga: The 10th day is a festival celebrating the Goddess’ triumph over evil.

10/11 National Coming Out Day. For those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer this day celebrates coming out.

10/31 Samhain. Wiccan/Pagan. Festival of Darkness honoring the dead.


11/1 All Saint’s Day. Christian. Honors all the saints known and unknown.

11/3- 11/8 Diwali. Hindu, Jain, Sikh. Festival of Lights. Light symbolizes a force against darkness, ignorance, evil. Diwali is celebrated over a period of 5 days.

11/11 Veterans Day. A United States federal holiday honoring military veterans, first celebrated nationally in 1954.

11/20 Transgender Day of Remembrance. Remembering and honoring individuals killed as a result of transphobia and raising awareness of the violence against transgender people.

11/22 Thanksgiving Day. A United States federal holiday, first celebrated nationally in 1789.


12/3-10 Hanukkah. Jewish. Festival of Lights. Marks the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem.

12/8 Bodhi Day. Buddhist. Celebration of Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment.

12/10 International Human Rights Day. Established by the United Nations in 1948 to commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

12/18 Srimad Bhagavad Gita Jayanti. Gita Jayanti is the date that Lord Krishna revealed the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu sacred text, to Prince Arjuna.

12/25 Christmas. Christian. Celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ.

12/26-1/1 Kwanzaa. Holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African-American heritage.


1/1 New Year’s Day. Marks the beginning of the calendar year.

1/7 Christmas. Orthodox Christian. Celebration of the Birth of Jesus Christ.

1/14 Makara Sankranti. A celebration marking the advent of the Sun’s northerly migration and forthcoming Spring.

1/15 Martin Luther King Day. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

1/27 The International Day of Commemoration. Remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust.


Since 1976, February is designated as Black History Month in the United States and Canada.

1/18. Washington’s Birthday. A United States federal holiday. It is also widely known as Presidents’ Day.


Started in 1987, March is designated as Women’s History Month.

March is also designated as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to increase understanding of issues affecting people with disabilities.

3/4 Maha Shivaratri.  An evening celebration of the wedding of Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati

3/6 Ash Wednesday. Christian. The beginning of Lent, a 40-day period preceding Easter.

3/8 International Women’s Day. Global celebration honoring women’s contributions and achievements.

3/21 Purim. Jewish. Celebration of the story of Esther.

3/2-20 Nineteen Day Fast. Bahá’í Faith. Bahá’ís between the ages of 15 and 70 fast without food or drink from sunrise to sunset.

3/20-3/21 Holi. Hindu. Festival of colors. A two-day festival, Holi celebrates the advent of spring and the enduring message that good will always be victorious over evil.

3/21 Nowruz (New Year). Zoroastrian and Bahá’í Faith.


April is Autism Awareness Month, established to raise awareness about the developmental disorder that affects children’s normal development of social and communication skills.

4/3 Lailat al Miraj. Muslim. Commemoration of Prophet Muhammad’s ascension to Heaven.

4/13 Rama Navami. Celebration of the birth of Sri Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu who helped restore the balance of good over evil.

4/14 Palm/Passion Sunday. Christian. Celebration of joyful entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.

4/14 Vaisakhi. Sikh. Marks the formation of the Khalsa (religious community of Sikhs) by Guru Gobind Singh.

4/18 Holy Thursday. Christian. Commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus with Disciples.

4/19 Good/Holy Friday. Christian. Commemoration of the Crucifixion of Jesus.

4/19 Hanuman Jayanti. Hindu. Celebrates the birthday of Hanuman, foremost devotee of Sri Rama and Sita.

4/20-27 Pesach (Passover). Jewish. Festival of liberation of Israelites from Slavery in Egypt. Work is prohibited on the first and last two days.

4/21 Easter. Christian. Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus.

4/21 - 5/2 Ridvan. Bahá’í Faith. Commemoration of the 12 days when its Founder, Baha’u’llah, declared his mission.

4/22 Earth Day. Promote peace and sustainability of planet Earth.

4/24 Armenian Martyrs’ Day. Memorializes the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923.

4/28 Pascha. Orthodox Christian. Celebration of Resurrection of Jesus.


May is designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in the United States.

5/1 Beltane. Wiccan/Pagan. Festival of Light honoring Life and Fertility.

5/5 Cinco de Mayo. A Mexican holiday commemorating the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867).

5/6-6/4 Ramadan. Muslim. Holy month of fasting.

5/27 Memorial Day. A United States federal holiday commemorating those who have died while serving in the U.S. armed forces.


June is designated as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.


8/17 Marcus Garvey Day. Celebrates the birthday of the Jamaican politician and activist.

8/21 Eid Al-Adha Muslim. The Festival of Sacrifice remembers Abraham’s devotion in offering his son as a sacrifice. Work is prohibited.

8/23 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade. Anniversary of the uprising in Santo Domingo (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) that initiated the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean.

8/26 Women’s Equality Day. Commemorates the August 26, 1920 certification of the United States Constitution 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote.