This calendar provides a reference point for celebrations, holidays or spiritual engagements that CWU community members may observe during the academic year. The calendar utilizes the Pew Research Center’s data for most commonly observed religious and spiritual practices specific to Washington State. The list provided below is not exhaustive, strives to include as many secular observances, and is intended to be a guide that fosters additional research and reflection. The Diversity and Equity Center welcomes additions and edits by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students, did you know that you can request reasonable accommodations if an academic responsibility coincides with a religious observance? Senate Bill 5166 states that students must provide faculty written notice within the first two weeks of the quarter with dates noting the request for accommodation.
Thanks to CWU Graduate Student Taylor Roice for helping compile this resource!
September 23 – Mabon: A pagan holiday, and one of the eight Wiccan sabbaths celebrating the autumnal equinox.
September 27 – Meskel: Christian commemoration of the discovery of the True Cross by Roman Empress Helena in the fourth century.
September 29 – Michaelmas: Christian feast of St. Michael the Archangel.
September 29 to October 1 – Rosh Hashanah: Jewish New Year commemorating the creation of the world and the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance.
September 29 to October 8 – Sharada Navaratri: Hindu multi-day festival celebrating defeat of the demon king Ravana.
October 4 – St. Francis Day/Blessing of the Animals: Christian celebration of St. Francis, who is believed to have loved all animals.
October 9 – Yom Kippur: Jewish holiday, also known as the day of atonement, marks the culmination of the 10 days of Awe and is viewed as the holiest day of the year in Judaism.
October 13 to 20 – Sukkot: Jewish holiday commonly called the Feast of Tabernacles commemorates the 40 years of Jewish wandering in the desert after the giving of the Torah atop Mt. Sinai.
October 20 – Installment of Guru Granth: This is a day of honor and celebration of the Guru Granth Sahib ji', regarded by Sikhs as the final, eternal living guru and guide.
October 27 to 30 – Diwali: Hindu, Sikh and Jain Festival of Lights lasting five days and celebrating new beginnings, the triumph of good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.
October 28 - Day of Remembrance for the Battle of Milvian Bridge: Battle that encouraged the acceptance of Christianity in the Roman Empire and marked Constantine’s conversion to the faith.
October 28 – Jain New Year: Jains celebrate new year on the first day of the following month of Kartika. Mahavira's chief disciple Gautama Swami attained keval gyan on this day.
October 29 – Birth of the Bab: One of two Islamic holy days celebrating the Bab, a prophet and forerunner of the Bahá'í revelation.
October 31 – All Hallows Eve and Reformation Day: Christians celebrate the passing of their loved ones on these two days that also signify the nailing of Luther’s 95 Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church.
October 31 to November 1 – Samhain: Pagan seasonal holiday honoring those who have crossed over into the spirit world.
November 1 and 2 – All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day: A day for commemoration of all the faithful departed, those baptized Christians who are believed to be in purgatory.
November 9 to 10 – Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif: Islamic celebration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
November 12 – Birthday of Guru Nanak: Celebration of the birth of the founder of Sikhism, the first of ten Sikh gurus.
November 12 – Baha’u’llah: The birthday of Baha’u’lla, the founder of the Baha’i Fatih.
November 24 – Martyrdom of Tegh Bahdur: Sikhism followers remember the martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur on this day.
November 24 – Feast of Christ the King: Celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church in honor of Jesus Christ as lord of all creation.
November 25 to 26 – Day of the Baha’i Covenant: Sikh celebration of Abdu’l Baha’s introduction to the Centre of Baha’i leadership.
November 27 – Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha: Sikh’s commemoration of the death and ascension of ‘Abdu’l Baha, successor of Baha'u'llah.
November 28 – Thanksgiving: while commonly a celebration of pilgrims arriving in America, it also represents genocide and mourning for native and indigenous peoples.
November 30 – Saint Andrew’s Day: Commemorates the Christian apostle Saint Andrew.
December 1 to 24 – Advent: A Christian time of expectance, waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming.
December 6 – Saint Nicholas Day: Christian holiday that recognizes the third-century saint who became an inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus.
December 8 – Bodhi Day: Buddhist holiday commemorating the day that Buddha Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment.
December 8 – Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Catholic celebration recognizing the conception of Mary.
December 12 – Our Lady, the Virgin of Guadalupe: Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Virgen de Guadalupe, associated with a series of five Marian apparitions in December.
December 16 to 25 – Posadas Navideñas: Catholic 9-day celebration commemorating the Virgin Mary’s nine months of pregnancy.
December 21 – Yule: Pagan festival celebrating the rebirth of the Sun God and welcoming the winter solstice.
December 22 to 30 – Hanukkah: Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire.
December 25 – Christmas and Feast of the Nativity: Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
December 26 – St. Stephen’s Day: Celebration of the first Christian martyr.
December 26 to January 1 – Kwanzaa: Celebration of unity, faith, purpose, and collective work.
December 28 – Holy Innocents: A Christian day of mourning, marking remembrance of King Herod’s massacre of young children in Bethlehem.
December 29 – The Holy Family: This day celebrates the Virgin Mary, Jesus, and Joseph, often portraying them as the model of Christian family and faith.
December 31 – Watch Night: Christian service held on New Year’s Eve offering opportunities to reflect on the year and to make any needed confessions.
January 1 – New Year: The New Year is celebrated, following a Gregorian or Julian calendar.
January 2 – Birthday of Guru Gobind Sing Ji: Celebrates the birthday of the tenth and final Sikh master.
January 6 – Epiphany: Christian holiday celebrating the revelation of Jesus to Gentiles as the Son of God.
January 6 – Theophany: Christian holiday commemorating the baptism of Jesus and the manifestation of the Trinity.
January 10 – Mahayana New Year: Celebration marking the new year for Mahayana Buddhists.
January 25 – Lunar New Year: Followers of lunisolar calendars celebrate the New Year on this day.
January 29 – Vasant Panchami: Hindu celebration honoring the advent of spring and Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning.
January 30 – Sadeh: Iranian festival celebrating the discovery of fire by Hushang, the second Shah of the mythological Pishdadian dynasty of Persian Empire.
February 1 and 2 – Imbolc: Pagan fire festival serving as a time for celebration, rededication, and pledges for the upcoming year.
February 9 to 10 – Tu BiShvat: Jewish holiday also called Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanot, literally 'New Year of the Trees’ celebrates ecological awareness and the coming of Spring.
February 9 to 10 – Magha Puja: Buddhist holiday commemorating a time when 1,250 Buddhists spontaneously came together to pay their respect and reaffirm their commitment to the Buddha.
February 14 – St. Valentine’s Day: Celebrated in many parts of the world, to honor the deeds of the martyr Saint Valentine.
February 15 – Parinirvana Day: Buddhist holiday that commemorates the Buddha’s death and subsequent achievement of a complete Nirvana called Parinirvana.
February 21 – Maha Shivaratri: Hindu festival to honor Lord Shiva Hindu, god of destruction and regeneration.
February 25 – Sri Ramakrishna Jayanti: Hindu birthday celebration of revered saint Sri Ramakrishna.
February 26 to April 9 – Ash Wednesday and Lent: Christian holy day of prayer and fasting.
February 29 to March 19 – Baha’i 19-day Fast: Baha’i fast celebrated to mark a time of regeneration and preparation for the year ahead.
March 9 to 10 – Holi: 2-day Hindu festival celebrating the arrival of spring.
March 10 – Purim: Jewish holiday ommemorates the saving of Jewish people from Haman, an Achaemenid Persian Empire official.
March 19 – Naw Ruz: First day of the Baháʼí calendar year and one of nine holy days for adherents of the Baháʼí Faith.
March 21 – Ostara: Spring Pagan festival celebrated as a tribute to the Mother Goddess of fertility.
March 21 – Laylat al-Isra’wa al-Mi’raj: Holiday commemorating the Prophet Muhammad's journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascent into heaven.
April 2 – Rama Navami: Hindu festival celebrating the birthday of the Hindu God Lord Rama.
April 5 – Mahavir Jayanti: Jain celebration of the birthday of Lord Mahavira.
April 5 – Palm Sunday: Christian celebration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.
April 8 – Laylat al-Bara’ah: Islamic celebration of God’s forgiveness of sins.
April 8 – Buddha Day: Buddha’s birthday, a celebration of the birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama.
April 9-16 – Pesach: Also known as Passover, a Jewish holiday celebrating the biblical Exodus.
April 9 – Holy Thursday: Christian holiday commemorating the institution of the Lord’s Supper.
April 10 – Good Friday: Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ at Calvary.
April 12 – Easter: Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
April 13 – Vaisakhi: Sikh and Hindu holiday commemorating the formation of Khalsa panth of warriors under Guru Gobind Singh.
April 19 to May 1 – Ridvan: A twelve day festival in the Baháʼí Faith, commemorating Baháʼu'lláh's declaration as a manifestation of God.
April 20 – Yom Hashoah: A day of remembrance for roughly 6 million Jewish people who died during World War II; this holiday emphasizes respect for human dignity.
April 24 to May 23: Ramadan – Holy month in which Allah contacted the prophet, Mohammed, to give him the verses of the holy book, or Qu'ran.
May 1 – Beltane or May Day: This marks both the common cultural celebration of May Day and the traditional festival of Beltane. Both holidays are celebrated with decorations and festivals that encourage growth and fertility.
May 7 – Wesak: An additional celebration of Buddha’s birth, as the exact date is contested.
May 19 – Laylat al-Qadr: The holiest day of Ramadan, this marks the night when the first verses of the Quran were given to Muhammad. It’s a holiday in which supplications are offered, sins are forgiven, and many participants spend the day worshipping and reading the Quran.
May 21 – Ascension of Jesus: Celebrates the ascension of Jesus to the throne, and commemorates his appointment as universal sovereign.
May 22 – Declaration of the Bab: Celebrates the day on which the Bab declared his identity.
May 24 – Eid al-Fitr: A festival celebrating the end of Ramadan, this is a day for many participants to congregate, eat, and praise Allah with a modified salat. Alms are given to the poor, and the festival can last for multiple days.
May 27 – Ascension of Baha’u’llah: Marks the anniversary of the death of the Baha’i founder.
May 28-30 – Shavuot: Shavuot is a holiday celebrating the bestowal of the Torah to the Israelites. It also celebrates the season of grain harvesting in Israel.
May 31 – Pentecost: Commemorates the Holy Spirit coming upon the disciples after Jesus’ ascension.
June 16 – Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji: A holiday in remembrance of the fifth Guru, who emphasized the openness and accepting nature of the Sikh way.
June 19 – Litha: Summer solstice. This holiday celebrates the blessings of light and the sun god’s death.