Religious Holy Days
Feast of St. Basil (Orthodox Christianity)
This day celebrates St. Basil, one of the great fathers of the Orthodox Church. An influential Christian theologian and monastic, Basil was also known for his attention to the underprivileged and poor, and his writings on asceticism.
Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (Orthodox Christianity)
This Feast commemorates the naming and circumcision of the baby Jesus, eight days after he was born.
Gantan-sai is the Shinto celebration of the new year (oshogatsu). This day is one of the most popular for shrine visits, as many pray for inner renewal, health and prosperity.
Mary, Mother of God (Catholic Christianity)
This liturgical feast celebrates the Virgin Mary and her motherhood of Jesus. Some countries recognize this day with church services.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s Birthday (Sikhism)
Gobind Singh (1666-1708) was the tenth Sikh Guru, and the last of the human-form Gurus. On his birthday, Sikhs celebrate Gobind Singh as a saint and a soldier: he worked toward reforming his religion and persevered in the face of persecution.
Twelfth Night (Christianity)
The Twelfth Night marks the conclusion of the twelve days of Christmas and the eve of Epiphany. According to tradition, three kings arrived in Bethlehem twelve days after Jesus' birth to bestow gifts. This night is celebrated much like Christmas Eve, with merrymaking, eating traditional foods like King Cake, and parties.
Christmas (Armenian Orthodox Christianity)
Armenian Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on Epiphany, except for Armenians living in Israel, who celebrate Christmas on January 19th. This day marks the Armenian Orthodox celebration of Christ's birth and baptism.
Known as Theophany in Eastern Christianity, it celebrates the manifestation of Jesus as Christ. In addition, 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.
Dia de los Reyes / Three Kings Day (Latin American Christianity)
In Latin American countries, this day is referred to as Día de los Reyes, Three Kings Day, and children receive gifts from los reyes magos: the three wise men. Children and adults leave their shoes out for the Kings' presents before they go to bed the night before and leave treats to refresh the traveling Magi.
Christmas (Orthodox Christianity)
Most Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas 13 days later than Western Christian churches based on their use of the Julian rather than the Gregorian version of the Western calendar. The Feast of the Nativity is the Orthodox Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus. It is also the break of a 40-day fast, in which participants purify both body and soul in preparation for Christ's birth.
Baptism of Lord Jesus (Christianity)
Although Eastern Christianity celebrates the baptism of Jesus at Epiphany, Catholics and Episcopalians celebrate his baptism by Jean the Baptist on the following Sunday. This day is also the beginning of ordinary time on the liturgical calendar.
Maghi is the day in which Sikhs commemorate the martyrdom of the Forty Immortals, followers of Guru Gobind Singh, who were all killed while fighting a Mughal army. On this day, many Sikhs gather in Muktsar, India, the original site where Gobind Singh blessed the martyrs and cremated their bodies. Sikhs visit their places of worship (gurdwaras) and listen to hymns (kirtan).
Makar Sankranti (Hinduism)
Seasonal celebration marking turning of the sun toward the north.
Feast Day Sultán (Bahá’í)
The Baha’i calendar has nineteen months, all named after attributes of God. Sultán is the Arabic word for Sovereignty. The word "feast" suggests that a large meal will be served, but that is not necessary for a Bahá'í Feast. The use of the term "feast," in this case, means that the community should enjoy a "spiritual feast" of worship, fellowship and unity.
Feast of Theophany (Orthodox Christianity)
The Orthodox Church marks this day as the anniversary of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River. For the Feast of Theophany, Orthodox Christians reflect on their own baptism and salvation.
Timkat (Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity)
Timkat is the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany: the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. During this celebration, there is a ritual reenactment of the baptism and a procession with the Tabot, a model of the Ark of the Covenant. The clergy often dress in bright robes, carrying colorful umbrellas, and sing and dance as they escort the Tabot back to the church.
Conversion of St. Paul (Christianity)
On this day, Christians commemorate the conversion of Paul the Apostle. Previously known as Saul of Tarsus, a great persecutor of Christians, Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, when he had a vision of Christ.
Mahayana New Year (Buddhist)
In Mahayana countries the New Year starts on the first full moon day in January and lasts for three days. It is a time to reflect on the past and cleanse oneself from the prior year's sins to make a fresh start.
Birthday of Guru Har Rai (Sikhism)
Guru Har Rai (1630-1661) was the seventh of the 10 human-form Sikh Gurus. He is celebrated for his compassion for life and living things. Tradition says that at a young age, he was disturbed by the suffering of a flower after he accidentally damaged it in passing. This strong compassion continued throughout his life and his work.
A celebration of beginning growth and the divine generative powers from which physical and spiritual harvests will come. Imbolc is often an initiatory period.
Saint Brigid of Kildare (Celtic Christianity)
Saint Brigid of Kildare lived from 451 to 525 C.E. and is one of Ireland's patron saints. She was an Irish Christian nun, and the founder of several convents including Kildare Abbey, one of the most prestigious abbeys in Ireland.
Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Orthodox Christianity)
Commemorates Mary and Joseph’s presentation of the child Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, as required by Mosaic Law. In the Eastern churches, this day is known as the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord.
A family celebration of the end of winter; beans are thrown into rooms of a house for good luck, with the shout, “Devils out, Fortune in!”
Beginning of the eighteenth month of the Bahá’í year, the name “Mulk” means “dominion.”
Our Lady of Lourdes (Christianity)
This marks the day in 1858 when St. Bernadette had her first vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the city of Lourdes in southern France. She had 18 apparitions in all, one of which told her to dig for a spring. The water of this spring is said to have great healing powers, and Christians make pilgrimages to visit this spring and the church that was built on the property.
Lunar New Year (Confucian, Daoist and Buddhism)
Also known as the Spring Festival, an important festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. The most important holiday for the Chinese, the New Year is a time to reflect on the past and celebrate the future. This is a 15-day celebration with each day having special significance.
Birthday of Maitreya Bodhisattva (Buddhism)
Marking the birth of Maitreya, who will come at the end of time to renew the pristine Buddhist teachings.
Losar: Tibetan New Year (Buddhism)
Celebrating the beginning of the year 2145 in the Tibetan calendar.
St. Valentine's Day (Christianity)
Pope Gelasius assigned February 14 as Saint Valentine's Day in 496 CE. This day commemorates the death of Saint Valentine of Rome, who, according to tradition, was martyred on February 14 ca. 270 C.E. Saint Valentine's Day was not associated with romantic love until the High Middle Ages, when legends and stories about Valentine were written and popularized by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle.
Nirvana Day (Buddhism)
Celebrates the day when the historical Buddha achieved complete Nirvana, upon the death of his physical body. This day marks the Buddha’s death and when he reached Nirvana at the age of 80. Nirvana is the end to all wanting, and thus the end to all suffering that craving brings about. Buddhists who observe Nirvana day often do so by examining their lives, in order to make changes needed to help them achieve perfect peace.
Vasant Panchami (Hinduism)
This festival is dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of learning. On this day, schools and colleges often organize special worship of Saraswati, many participate in special activities at Hindu temples, and young children are taught their first words.
Shrove Tuesday (Christianity)
Also known as Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday and Carnival Day. Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the beginning of Lent, during which Christians are supposed to examine their lives, confess their sins, and receive advice on mending their ways - as the time of Lent represents purification. In Old English, the word "shrove" referred to the act of listening intently to someone and giving advice. The French term for this day, Mardi Gras, means Fat Tuesday, which is said to come from the custom the French had of using up all the fats they had in the house for cooking, since the food during Lent's time of "fast and abstinence" would entail leaner cuisine. The fat would be baked into rich meals on Mardi Gras, and often what was cooked ended up being a pancake of sorts; thus the custom still observed in some parts of the western world of eating pancakes on the day before Lent.
Ash Wednesday (Christianity)
The first day of Lent for Western Christian churches, a 40-day period of spiritual preparation for Easter, not counting Sundays. In the Western Church, Lent - the fasting season marking Jesus' time in the wilderness - commences with Ash Wednesday. Many Christians attend church, where their foreheads are marked with ashes in the form of the cross. The ashes consist of the burnt remains of palms blessed on Palm Sunday the previous year. The cross of ash symbolizes belonging to Jesus Christ and reminds people of their human mortality.
Triodion begins (Orthodox Christianity)
Triodion is the three-week preparation period before Lent begins. Followers gradually modify their diets and meditate on themes like humility, repentance and forgiveness, to prepare for the great fast, prayer, and worship that happens over Lent.
Purim: Feast of Lots (Judaism)
Purim is a joyous Jewish festival commemorating the survival of the Jews who, in the 5th century BCE, were marked for death by their Persian rulers.
Magha Puja (Buddhism)
Magha Puja is the day the Buddha addressed a meeting of 1250 arhats: spiritual practitioners that had reached a certain level of enlightenment. The Buddha introduced to them these principles: cease from evil, do what is good, and cleanse one's mind. On this day, temples in Thailand hold candlelight processions, walking clockwise three times around the Uposath Hall-- once for the Buddha, once for the Dharma, and once for the Sangha.
February 24 - 28
Ayyám -I-Ha (Bahá’í)
The Ayyám-i-ha, or “Days of Ha” are devoted to spiritual preparation for the fast, celebrating, hospitality, charity and gift giving. They are celebrated the four days, five in leap year, before the last month of the Bahá’í year by inserting days into the calendar in order to maintain their solar calendar. These are days of preparation for the Fast; days of hospitality, charity, ministering to the poor and sick, and giving of presents.
Lantern Festival (Taoism)The New Year celebration ends with the lantern festival when the first full moon enters the New Year
Clean Monday (Eastern Christianity)
The beginning of Great Lent for Eastern Christian churches, which starts 40 days before Orthodox Easter (Pascha), counting Sundays. On this day, referred to as "Clean Monday," Orthodox Christians leave behind sinful attitudes and certain foods as they prepare for the Great Lent. This is a seven-week period of fasting to prepare for Orthodox Easter, the greatest feast of the year.
March 2 - 20
Fast of Ala (Baha'i)
The Baha'i calendar is comprised of 19 months of 19 days each. The fast of Ala occurs during the last month of the Baha'i year, when Baha'is fast from sun up to sun down. All healthy individuals between the ages of 15 and 70 participate in the fast, which is done in spiritual preparation for the New Year, Naw Ruz.
Meatfare Sunday (Orthodox Christianity)
Traditionally, this is the last day that Orthodox Christians eat meat before commencing their fast, which lasts until Easter.
Maha Shivaratri (Hinduism)
Also known as the "Great Night of Shiva," this day celebrates Lord Shiva, one of the great Hindu deities, with a day of fasting, an all-night vigil, and offerings of leaves from the Bilva tree - a tree of great medicinal value that was loved by Lord Shiva.
Lailat al-Miraj: Night of the Journey of Prophet Muhammad to Heavens (Islam)
Commemorates Muhammad’s night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, his ascent to heaven and return the same night, and his having received God’s commandment of the five daily compulsory prayers. This observance also signifies the importance of Islam as part of the monotheistic tradition.
Birthday of L. Ron Hubbard (Scientology)
Born in 1911, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard was a science fiction writer who founded the Church of Scientology in 1953, in Camden, New Jersey. Hubbard originally developed a self-help system called Dianetics in 1950, and these ideas grew into doctrines and rituals that became Scientology, an applied religious philosophy. Today, followers of the Church of Scientology recognize his birthday.
Cheesefare Sunday (Orthodox Christianity)
Also known as the "Sunday of Forgiveness," this day often reflects on Adam and Eve and their exile from the Garden of Eden, emphasizing the human fall into sin and separation from God. This reminder prepares Orthodox Christians for the intense fasting of Lent.
Sri Ramakrishna Jayanti (Hinduism)
A celebration of the birth of the teacher of Swami Vivekananda, who introduced Hinduism to the United States at the first Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.
Beginning of Lent/Clean Monday (Orthodox Christianity)
Beginning of Great Lent. Lent is a period of Christian preparation for Holy Week and Easter. Usually 40 days in length, it is marked by vegetarian fasting, intensified prayer and almsgiving.
March 16 - 20
Ghambar Hamaspathmaeden (Zoroastrianism)
This is the last of the six Ghambar festivals in the Zoroastrian calendar. Ghambars are joyous occasions when communities gather to share a feast. Food is contributed anonymously, and participants give according to their means and ability to contribute. This particular five-day Ghambar celebrates the creation of humans and is a time to remember souls who have passed away.
St. Patrick’s Day (Christianity)
St. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, was credited for spreading Christianity in Ireland and abolishing pagan practices in the fourth century. The symbol of the shamrock is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day, as St. Patrick used the three leaves to explain the mystery of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.
Higan, or Ohigan, is celebrated twice a year, during the spring and fall equinoxes. This is an important date for Jodo Shinshu Buddhists in particular. On this date, the day and night are the same length, symbolizing equality and harmony. Buddha appears on earth during this week to save stray souls, thus many Buddhists visit cemeteries and pay respects to their ancestors.
Saint Joseph's Day (Christianity)
This feast day celebrates Saint Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. One Italian tradition recalls a draught, where the peasants prayed to St. Joseph for rain. When the rains came, crops were planted and then a large harvest feast was given in St. Joseph's honor. Some cultures celebrate this day by creating St. Joseph Tables: a table full of elaborate foods, though all free of meat, as this day typically falls during the fasting period of Lent.
Ostara celebrates the coming of spring, the time when the days are getting longer. It is a time to celebrate the abundance of nature and the abundance of life, and to plant crops.
Spring Feast (American Indian)
A day to honor planting and the coming and going of seasons, includes prayer song and storytelling
Spring O-Higan (Buddhism)
Symbolic of crossing from shore of illusion to the other shore of enlightenment to overcome one’s ignorance and honoring the 6 Paramitas of generosity, morality, patience, endeavor, meditation and wisdom
Shunbun no Hi (Shinto)
A day for visiting graves held in timing with the Spring Equinox
Feast of Naw-Ruz (Baha’i)
Naw Ruz is the celebration of the New Year as adopted by Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i faith. The equinox is believed to be a symbol of the manifestations of God, and springtime to be the carrier of new life and new beginnings.
Nowruz is the Zoroastrian New Year. The arrival of spring on the day of the vernal equinox, heralds a rebirth and renewal, a symbolic victory of light over darkness. Nowruz is the most important festival in the Zoroastrian tradition, a time for thanksgiving and celebration, for family and friends to come together, to thank Ahura Mazda for His bounty, to reflect on their lives, and make new beginnings.
Orthodox Sunday (Orthodox Christianity)
Celebrated on the first Sunday of Lent, Orthodox Sunday recognizes the victory and restoration of icons for use in church services and private devotional life.
Feast of the Annunciation of Virgin Mary (Christianity)
This day commemorates when the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would bear a child, Jesus. The feast of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary is celebrated with prayers and church services.
Khordad Sal (Zoroastrian)
The Zoroastrian celebration of the birth of Zoroaster, the founder of the Zoroastrianism religion. Khordad Sal is the birthday celebration of Prophet Zarathustra, the founder of Zoroastrianism. Considered to be one of the most important holidays on the Zoroastrian calendar, the day is spent feasting, wearing new clothes, displaying fresh flowers and gathering in fire temples for prayers.
Pesach: Passover begins at sundown (Judaism)
Festival commemorating Israelite exodus from Egypt and release from bondage. The story is told during a festive meal known as the Seder, read from a book known as the Haggadah. Special dietary practices accompany the Holiday including eating no leaven, but rather Matzah.
Palm Sunday (Christianity)
Palm Sunday opens Holy week. Palms recall the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem
A spring festival in India and Nepal dedicated to the god of pleasure, also known as the festival of colors or the festival of sharing love. Holi is a celebration of fertility, brotherhood, and the triumph of good over evil. Festivities surrounding Holi can lasts up to sixteen days. During the main day of celebration, people throw colored water or powder at each other until they are coated and indistinguishable from their neighbors. This symbolizes unity and brotherhood, as everyone looks the same coated in colors, and differences such as race, sex, class, and creed are forgotten. Bonfires are lit to represent the destruction of evil, recalling the legend of Prahlad miraculously escaping from the fire of the demoness Holika.
Hola Mohalla (Sikh)An annual event which is a martial arts parade historically coinciding with Holi, the Hindu festival of colors. Celebrations related to Holla Mohalla may be held in various locations over several weekends preceding the actual date of the holiday. A week-long celebration that often coincides with the Sikh New Year, Hola Mohalla was started by Guru Gobind Singh as a day of mock battles and poetry. Today, those who celebrate the festival often camp out, watch demonstrations of fighting and bravery, and listen to music and poetry.
Holy Thursday (Anglican, Catholic and Protestant Christianity)
Commemorates the Last Super when Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist.
Good Friday (Anglican, Catholic and Protestant Christianity)
The day of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.
Holy Saturday (Anglican, Catholic and Protestant Christianity)
Evening celebration of Easter and some churches also celebrate the Christian initiation of adults.
Easter (Anglican, Catholic, Protestant Christianity and Latter-Day Saints)
Christians believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead on Easter Sunday, on the third day after his crucifixion. This day is celebrated in different ways among the many Western and Eastern Christian traditions, including vigils, readings, reenactments, and the eating of special foods. The egg is a significant symbol of Easter, as it represents the resurrection: it is dormant, but contains a new life. Easter traditions involving eggs include egg hunts, egg games, and the gifting of candy eggs.
Quingming is a celebration to remember ancestors and to tend to their grave sites. Some leave offerings at graves, such as food, tea and other libations. Willow branches are often carried or hung outside doors to ward off evil spirits.
Feast Jalál (Bahá’í)
Feast Jalál takes place on the first day of the month of Jalál, the second month of the Badí’ Calendar. The Badí’ Calendar is a solar calendar consisting of 19 months of 19 days each (361 days), with the addition of either four or five “Intercalary Days” to adjust the calendar to the solar year. The days and months are named after the attributes of God. The Nineteen Day Feast, the primary community gathering for Bahá’ís in each town and city, is held on the first day of each Bahá’í month.
Hanamatsuri or Wesak (Buddhism)
The observance of the birth of Siddhartha Gautama, who would eventually become the historical Buddha
Yom Hashoah (Judaism)
Commemorates the murder of six million Jews by Hitler and the Nazi regime.
Ramadan begins at sundown (Islam)
Observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad.
Ugadi is the Hindu New Year, often celebrated with a ritual bath, prayers, and the eating of pachhadi: six flavors that represent six different life experiences. There’s bitter, tang, sour, spice, sweet, and salty, to represent sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust and surprise.
The festival which celebrates the founding of the Sikh community as the Khalsa (community of the initiated). On this day, Sikhs gather and celebrate Vaisakhi at their local Gurdwaras (Sikh house of worship) by remembering this day as the birth of the Khalsa.
Solar New Year Mesha Sankranta (Hinduism)
On this day, worshipping Lord Shiva, Hanuman, Vishnu and Maa Kali are considered auspicious. Devotees take sacred bath in holy water bodies of Ganga, Jamuna, and Godavari. On this day, some communities believe in preparing a special drink, which is called Pana to be consumed by everyone.
Yom Ha'Atzmaut begins at sundown (Judaism)
Yom Ha'Atzmaut is the national Independence Day of Israel, commencing in 1948. Many celebrate the holiday with picnics, singing and dancing, and Hallel, a Jewish prayer of praise and thanksgiving, is often recited.
Yaqui Deer Dance (American Indian)
A ceremony which integrates ancient rites of the Yaqui people (Arizona) with the Christian Easter ceremony
Festival of Ridvan begins at sundown (Bahá’í)
Annual festival commemorating the 12 days when Bahá’u’lláh, the prophet-founder of the Bahá’í Faith, resided in a garden called Ridván (Paradise) and publicly proclaimed his mission as God’s messenger for this age.
Groundation Day (Rastafarian)
Groundation Day is an important Rastafari holy day. It is celebrated in honor of Haile Selassie's 1966 visit to Jamaica.
Ram Navami (Hinduism)
A nine-day celebration in honor of the birth of Rama. Stories from the life of Rama are narrated and religious dances, called Ramalila, depicting scenes from his life are performed.
Saint George's Day (Christianity)
This day commemorates Saint George, one of the most prominent military saints, and patron saint of England, Greece, Russia, Ethiopia, Palestine and Portugal (among others). Saint George's Day is observed in different fashions, including flying Saint George's Cross Flag and participating in parades.
Feast of St. Mark (Christianity)
Mark is said to have founded the Church of Alexandria, one of the most important episcopal sees of early Christianity. His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the winged lion.
Mahavir Jayanti (Jainism)
Mahavir Jayanti, the most important holiday in Jainism, celebrates the birth of Mahavira, the last Tirthankara. A Tirthankara is a human being who achieves enlightenment and becomes a role-model and teacher. On this day, Jain temples are decorated with flags, and lectures are often held to discuss the path to virtue. Special ceremonies and processions are also performed, and devotees make offerings of rice, fruit, milk, and other items to those participating in the procession.
Theravada New Year (Buddhism)
In Theravada countries the New Year is celebrated on the first full moon day in April. On the first three days after the full moon in April, the Theravada Buddhists of Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Laos, celebrate the New Year. This is a time to reflect on one's karma, focus on cleansing, and offer good wishes to others.
Hanuman Jayanti (Hinduism)
Hanuman Jayanti is the birthday of Hanuman, a monkey god and devotee of Rama. Seen as a symbol of physical strength and perseverance, Hindus often perform special chants to Hanuman when they are faced with obstacles. On this day worshippers fast and visit temples.
Feast of Jamal (Bahá’í)
Baha’is gather every 19 days for a Feast. This is a members-only event comprising three parts: A spiritual portion that’s the time for prayer and reflection; A business portion for consultation about administrative issues (plans for forming classes, organizing to perform community service, observing holy days, or any ideas or projects community members wish to discuss. It’s also a time when local members can ask their Local Assembly to forward their concerns to the National Assembly; A social portion that can consist of anything from just glasses of water to a full-course dinner.
9th Day of Festival of Ridvan (Bahá’í)
There are three holy Days as part of the Festival, the first day, the ninth and the twelfth. The annual Baha’i Festival commemorates the 12 days when Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Faith, publicly proclaimed his mission as God’s messenger.
Good Friday begins at sundown (Orthodox Christianity)
Holy Friday commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion. In the Orthodox tradition, special services are held that revisit removing the Body of Christ from the Cross and entombing him. Occasionally, pilgrimages are made to Jerusalem, and processions are held that follow the route that Jesus took to his crucifixion.
Lag B’Omer begins at sundown (Judaism)
Celebrates the end of a divine-sent plague and/or Roman occupation during Rabbi Akiva’s lifetime. Lag B'Omer is the 33rd day between the second day of Passover and the holiday of Shavuot. There is altogether a span of 49 days between the two holidays; a time that is traditionally a period of mourning the death of Rabbi Akiba’s 24,000 students over 2,000 years ago. Lag B’Omer is a break in the mourning period and is therefore a time for celebration.
Holy Saturday begins at sundown (Orthodox Christianity)
Holy Saturday, the final day of Holy Week and the last day of Lent, commemorates the day that Jesus's body lay entombed in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, before his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Ghambar Maidyozarem (Zoroastrianism)
This is the first of six annual Ghambar festivals celebrated by Zoroastrians. The word Ghambar is derived from "gahanbar" meaning time-storage in Persian and alludes to the division and storage of food. As the name indicates, these five-day festivals are observations of the different seasons and harvests. They are celebrated through joyous feasts and the recognition of the seven acts of goodness: generosity of the spirit, sharing, selfless help toward those in need, community participation and inclusion, honesty, pity, and remembrance of one's ancestors. Ghambar Maidyozarem celebrates the sky and the winter crop harvest.
The fifth Master, Guru Arjan, built the Golden Temple of Amritsar to emphasize that the Sikh way was open to all, regardless of caste; the gurdwara was constructed with doors facing all four directions. He compiled the hymns of Sikh Gurus and created the Adi Granth – the foundation of the Guru Granth Sahib – and installed it. He was also the first Sikh Guru to be martyred.
Eid al-Fitr: The Feast of Breaking Fast begins at sundown (Islam)
This festival marks the end of Ramadan and usually lasts two or three days. It is both an occasion of joy at the successful subordination of physical instincts and needs to morality and religion as well as an opportunity to commiserate and share with the poor and needy.
Feast of Azamat (Bahá’í)
Midfeast (Eastern Orthodox Church)
Celebrates that God is a Trinity of persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Anglican Christianity)
Celebrates the visit of Elizabeth to her cousin Mary
Corpus Christi (Catholic Christianity)
Corpus Christi, or the Feast of the Most Holy Body of Christ, is a day to honor the Holy Eucharist, and to commemorate the Last Supper. Catholics receive Communion on this day, accepting wine and bread in memory of the blood and body of Christ.
Feast Núr (Baha’i)
The Baha’i calendar has nineteen months, all named after attributes of God. This day is the first day of the fifth month in the Bahá’í year, called Núr, meaning light.
Saint Columba of Iona (Celtic Christianity)
This day commemorates Saint Columba (521-597 AD), one of the twelve apostles of Ireland. He led evangelizing missions in Ireland and Scotland, and was credited, with the Celtic Church, for bringing a revival of Christianity to Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Ascension begins at sundown (Orthodox Christianity)
Celebrates the ascent of Jesus Christ into heaven
Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Catholic Christianity)
This feast day commemorates Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque's (1647-1690) visions of Jesus and his instruction to her that she serve as the instrument for spreading devotion to his sacred heart. The feast celebrates Jesus's gift of the Eucharist and urges believers to pray for the sins of the world.
Blessing of the Animals (Christianity)
Saint Anthony, the Patron Saint of the Animal Kingdom, is recognized on this day. Similar to St. Francis of Assisi's feast day, animals are welcome and blessed at many church services.
Guru Arjan Dev Martyrdom (Sikhism)
This day commemorates Guru Arjan Dev, the first Sikh martyr. Until the early 1600s, Sikhs had a peaceful history, but the new Mughal Emperor, Jahangir, was a Muslim who had Guru Arjan Dev arrested and tortured. A few days later, when taken to bathe in the Ravi River, Guru Arjan Dev disappeared.
Saint Vladimir's Day (Christianity)
Saint Vladimir, celebrated on this day in Orthodox and Catholic traditions, was born an illegitimate prince, who defeated his stepbrothers to become the sole leader of Russia in 980 AD. Known for his barbarism and immorality in his younger years, Vladimir later became interested in the Christian faith and converted himself and the people of Russia. He is the patron saint of Russia.
New Church Day (Swedenborgian Christianity)
The 18th century theologian and scientist Emanuel Swedenborg founded the New Church after a course of divinely inspired revelations. He wrote 35 volumes, which he called The True Christian Religion, to reveal hidden meaning in the Bible and address the mysteries of human life. This day celebrates the book's publication in 1770.
Enlightenment of Kwan Yin Bodhisattva (Buddhism)
The enlightenment of Kwan Yin, who consequently became a Bodhisattva—one who has vowed to attain final, supreme enlightenment and save suffering beings.
Pentecost begins at sundown (Orthodox Christianity)
Celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles following the Ascension of Jesus. On Pentecost, Christians celebrate the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles of Jesus. The word itself comes from the Greek word for "fiftieth," since the feast day takes place the 50th day after Easter. In Italy, it has been customary to drop rose leaves from the ceilings of churches, to signify the descent of the spirit. The French tended to sound trumpets, signifying the sound of the “mighty wind” that is said to have accompanied the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the apostles. Pentecost is usually celebrated with a special church service and or special prayers.
Saturday of Souls 4 (Greek Orthodoxy)
Saturday of Souls is a day set aside for the commemoration of the dead. Saturday is a traditional day of prayer for the dead, because Christ lay dead in the Tomb on Saturday. This day is devoted to prayer for departed relatives and others among the faithful who would not be commemorated specifically as saints.
Summer Feast (American Indian)
A day to honor the coming and going of the seasons, includes prayer, song and storytelling.
Feast day Rahmat (Bahai)
The Bahai calendar has nineteen months, all named after attributes of God. Raḥmat is the Arabic word for mercy.
Nativity of John the Baptist (Christianity)
John was a Jewish preacher who called upon people to repent, amend their lives and renew their relationship with God. He was a strong believer that the coming of the Kingdom of God was imminent. John baptized Jesus in the River Jordan, which is said to mark the beginning of Jesus's public ministry.
Solstice Litha (Neo-Paganism)
Also known as the Summer Solstice, Litha is the celebration of the arrival of summer- when the days are most full of daylight, and there is abundance and fertility in the earth.
Apostles fast begins (Orthodox Christianity)
The Holy Apostles Fasting duration varies every year. It may last from zero days, if Pascha falls on May 3 or later to twenty-nine days, if Pascha falls on April 4 to May 2.
Ghambar Maidyoshem (Zoroastrianism)
This is the second of six Ghambar festivals during the Zoroastrian year. This particular festival celebrates the creation of water, the harvest of grain, and the sowing of summer crops.
Festival of Peter and Paul (Catholic Christianity)
This feast commemorates Peter and Paul, two apostles of Jesus. Both were martyred in Rome, and their remains are still there. Their feast day, established as early as 258, was supposedly chosen because it marks the anniversary of the date that their remains were moved to the catacombs near where the Roman church San Sebastiano fuori le Mura stands today. The feast day is celebrated with liturgy and prayers.
Jashn-e Tirgan (Zoroastrianism)
Celebrated in mid-summer invoking the rains to enhance the harvest and counter drought.
Birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama (Buddhism)
His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, was born July 6, 1935.
Martyrdom of the Bab (Bahá’í)
Observance of the anniversary of the execution by a firing squad in Tabríz, Persia, of the 30-year-old Siyyid ‘Alí-Muhammad, the Báb, the prophet-herald of the Bahá’í Faith.
St. Benedict Day (Catholic Christianity)
This day recognizes St. Benedict of Nursia, who lived from 480-547 AD. St. Benedict was the founder of Western Christian monasticism and started twelve communities for monks in his lifetime.
Feast of Kalimát (Baha’i)
The Baha’i calendar has nineteen months, all named after attributes of God. Kalimat is the Arabic for words. A Bahá'í Feast consists of three main components: spiritual devotion, administrative consultation, and fellowship. Usually held at a community center or in a local Bahá'ís home, Feasts are restricted to members of the Bahá'í Faith, mainly because of the consultative aspects of the gathering.
Ullambana, a Sanskrit term that means “hanging upside down and suffering,” honors the spirits of past ancestors and strives to relieve aching souls from suffering. Obon, the Japanese transliteration of Ullambana, is only three days and varies from region to region—July in the eastern region and August in the western region.
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Feast Day (American Indian)
First American Indian to be beatified by Pope Paul II on June 22, 1980. She became a saint when she was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica on October 21, 2012.
Tisha B’Av (Judaism)
A solemn day of mourning and fasting for the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem and other tragedies in Jewish history coinciding with this date
Yaum-al-Arafah: Day of Atonement (Islam)
The most important day during the Hajj pilgrimage when Muslim pilgirms implore God for forgiveness and Mercy on the plain of Arafat, just outside the city of Mecca. It is the day when the Lord will provide boundless compassion and mercy and obviate all sins.
Eid Al-Adha: Festival of Sacrifice (Islam)
This three-day festival, often celebrated in connection with the Pilgrimage ceremonies, commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael in obedience to God. After the morning communal prayer, pilgrims and the other Muslims, throughout the world slaughter an animal in commemoration of the angel Gabriel’s substitution of a lamb as Abraham’s sacrificial obligation, and then share the meat with family members, neighbors and the needy. Marks the end of the annual Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).
Haile Selassi I Birthday (Rastafarianism)
This day celebrates Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, who was believed to be an incarnation of God, or Jah, for Rastafarians. Thus, Haile Selassi is seen as part of the Holy Trinity.
Pioneer Day (Latter Day Saints)
Pioneer Day commemorates the arrival of the first Mormon wagon train into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Some Latter Day Saints recognize this holiday by walking the Pioneer trail and reenacting the events of '47. Although Pioneer Day started as a celebration for Mormon pioneers, this day is now a state holiday in Utah that recognizes pioneers from all faiths and cultural backgrounds. Celebrations include fireworks, food, rodeos, intertribal powwows, and more.
Dharma Day (Buddhism)
Also known as Asala Puja, it commemorates the historical Buddha's first discourse following his spiritual awakening.
St. James the Great Day (Christianity)
July 25 is the feast day for St. James the Great, the patron saint of Spain. One of the twelve apostles, James was also known for being a valiant knight and for preaching the gospel in Spain. He was executed by sword in Jerusalem - by order of Agrippa I and thus became the first martyred saint. His body was returned to Spain, where many make pilgrimages to visit.
A three month retreat observed by Theravada Buddhist monks to train and concentrate themselves in Dhamma study, meditation practice and giving religious services to the people
Feast day Kamál (Baha’i)
The Baha’i calendar has nineteen months, all named after attributes of God. Kamal is the Arabic word for perfection. The word "feast" suggests that a large meal will be served, but that is not necessary for a Bahá'í Feast. The use of the term "feast," in this case, means that the community should enjoy a "spiritual feast" of worship, fellowship and unity – although refreshments are usually available.
Fast in Honor of Holy Mother of Jesus (Orthodox Christianity)
This day begins a fourteen-day fasting period before the great Feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.
Lughnassad celebrates the beginning of the harvest season. In Celtic tradition, this feast was begun by the god Lugh as a funeral commemorating his foster mother, Tailtiu. The story holds that Tailtiu died of exhaustion after clearing land in Ireland for agriculture. Lughnassad is associated with gatherings, market festivals, and feasts.
In English-speaking countries, August 1 is Lammas Day (loaf-mass day), the festival of the first wheat harvest of the year. On this day it was customary to bring to church a loaf made from the new crop. In many parts of England, tenants were bound to present freshly harvested wheat to their landlords on or before the first day of August.
Transfiguration of the Lord (Anglican, Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christianity)
The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event reported by the Synoptic Gospels in which Jesus was transfigured upon a mountain (Matthew 17:1-6, Mark 9:1-8, Luke 9:28-36). Jesus becomes radiant, speaks with Moses and Elijah, and is called "Son" by God. The transfiguration associated Jesus with the two preeminent figures of Judaism: Moses and Elijah. It also supports his identity as the Son of God.
Hijra begins at sundown (Islam)
The month of Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic liturgical year. This first day, al-Hijra, remembers the migration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. It also marks the beginning of the ten-day Shīʿite Remembrance of Muharram, a period of intense grief and martyrdom of Hussein, the son of Ali and grandson of Muhammad.
Feast of the Assumption of Blessed Mary / Dormition of the Theotokos (Catholic Christianity)
According to Roman Catholic doctrine and the traditions of the Catholic Church, the Blessed Virgin Mary (Mary, the mother of Jesus) "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." This means that Mary was transported into Heaven with her body and soul united. The feast day recognizing Mary's passage into Heaven is celebrated as The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Roman Catholics.
Feast day Asmá’ (Baha’i)
The Baha’i calendar has nineteen months, all named after attributes of God. Asma is the Arabic word for names. The word "feast" suggests that a large meal will be served, but that is not necessary for a Bahá'í Feast. The use of the term "feast," in this case, means that the community should enjoy a "spiritual feast" of worship, fellowship and unity – although refreshments are usually available.
Day of Ashura (Islam)
For Sunni Muslims, it is a voluntary fast day, the observance of which is considered commendable and beneficial. Many important events are believed to have occurred on this day such as Noah’s leaving the Ark and the freedom and departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt. For Shi’i Muslims, it is a time of mourning commemoration the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet
Narali Purnima or Rakhi (Hinduism)
Celebration marking the end of the monsoon by throwing coconuts to Varuna, the sea god. Girls also tie amulets around their brothers’ writs for luck.
In the Mahayana tradition, on the first day of the eight lunar, spirits visit the world for 15 days when ancestors are remembered. Theravadins from Thailand, Cambodia and Laos also observe this day.
Zhong Yuan Jie (Taoism)
The day when it is believed that the spirits of deceased ancestors visit the homes of the living. Feasts are prepared and empty seats are left at the family table to allow both the living and the dead to sit down together and share a meal
Beheading of John the Baptist (Christianity)
This day commemorates the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, a mission preacher and religious figure. Jesus was among the many people that John baptized in the Jordan River. He was imprisoned by Herod Antipas, because he publicly disapproved of Herod's divorce and unlawful remarriage. Herod feared that John would lead a revolt, thus had him executed.
Krishna Janmashtami (Hinduism)
This day celebrates the birthday of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar, or incarnation, of Vishnu. Upon his birth, his life was threatened by his uncle, King Kansa, who believed that Krishna was fated to kill him. Kansa ordered that Krishna be brought to him, but the baby was miraculously carried away to a safe hiding place. Hindus celebrate this day with a large feast. Sweets are given to children, and a clay statue of Krishna is worshipped.