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Holidays and Observances

This guide provides information about diverse cultural celebrations and religious holidays. It includes calendars and brief descriptions of the events. This resource can assist in event planning and classroom activities.

Christian Holidays and Observances

 Advent (begins) — The season before Christmas (December 1st through December 25th). 


 All Saints' Day (Hallowmas, All Hallows') — Day after Hallowee. Anglicans and Roman Catholics honor all known and unknown saints within the Christian Church.


 All Soul's Day — Day of remembrance. Roman Catholic and Anglo-Catholic churches honor the faithful who have departed with prayer and rembrance.   


 Ash Wednesday -- The first day of Lent, the period of 40 days before Easter in which many Christians sacrifice ordinary pleasures.

   Many Christians abstain from meat on this day. Provide food accommodation as requested.


 Christmas Day — Day before Christmas. Celebration of the birth of Jesus.


 Christmas Eve — Day before Christmas. Preparations for the Christmas Day celebrations.


 Christmas Fast — Orthodox Christian Fas. Lasts 40 days. 


Easter — Easter Sunday.  Most important of the Christian festivals.  Celebrates Jesus' resurrection from Crucifixion. The date of Easter Sunday is determined by the Gregorian calendar.

   Individuals may require time away from campus for travel and observance.


Easter/Pascha (Orthodox) — Orthodox Easter Sunday. Orthodox Christians mark this day as the time to celebrate Jesus' resurrection from Crucifixion.  Also the most important orthodox Christian festival.

   Individuals may require time away from campus for travel and observance.


Epiphany — Three Kings Day. Celebrates the baptism of Jesus with a family gathering and shared meal.


Good Friday — Good Friday marks the day of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This is the Friday before Easter. 

   Fasting and abstaining from meat is practiced by some denominations. Provide food accordingly. Individuals may require time away from campus for travel and observance.


Holy Saturday — Day before Easter. Time is spent anticipating the resurrection of Jesus.


 Las Posadas — 9 day celebration leading up to Christmas Day. Each day represents one month of pregnancy for Mary carrying Jesus. Celebrated chiefly in Mexico, Guatemala and parts of Southwestern United States.


Maundy Thursday — Commemorates the Last Supper and falls on the Thursday before Easter.  Jesus established Eucharist ceremony. 


Our Lady of Guadalupe (Feast Day) — Honor Lady of Guadalupe. Roman Catholics honor the Empress of the Americas.


Palm Sunday — Last Sunday of Lent. It begins the Holy Week and commemorates Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.


Shrove Tuesday — Pancake Day or Mardi Gras.


St. Stephen's Day — Feast of Stephen. Celebration of the first Christian martyr.


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity — Celebrates the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul. Prayers to find unity in all things.


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