Religious Observances

The Multicultural Center strives to be inclusive of all religious identities and observances. Below is a list of many observances and their respective dates. This list can be used at the discretion of faculty and staff, to aid in syllabus planning and academic success for students who practice these observances. Observances with an asterisk (*) denote days Georgia State University campuses will be closed.

If you would like more information about religious observances that may not specifically be listed below, please visit the National Conference for Community and Justice for a more comprehensive listing. The interfaith calendar as well as the Interfaith Network have extensive information on various religions and faith-based holidays. If you have suggestions for additional religious observances to include on this webpage, please contact William Britto , student affairs advisor II, multicultural education and competence.

Buddhist Observances

  • Pavarana and End of Vassa: October 24, 2018
  • Holy day celebrated on Aashvin full moon of the lunar month. It marks the end of the three lunar months of Vassa, sometimes called Buddhist Lent.

  • Lhabab Duchen: October 31, 2018
  • One of the four Buddhist festivals commemorating four events in the life of the Buddha.

  • Bodhi Day or Rohatsu: December 8, 2018 or January 13, 2019 (may be celebrated in accordance to lunar calendar).
  • Commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment.

  • Chinese New Year: February 5, 2019
  • An important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar.

  • Losar: February 5–7, 2019
  • A new year’s festival, celebrated on the first day of the lunisolar Tibetan calendar.

  • Parinirvana, or Nirvana Day: February 8 or 15, 2019
  • Celebrates the day when the Buddha is said to have achieved Parinirvana, or complete Nirvana upon the death of his physical body.

  • Magha Puja or Sangha Day: February 19, 2019
  • A major holy day observed by most Threravada Buddhists on the first full moon day of the third lunar month.

  • Chunga Choepa: February 20, 2019
  • Celebrates a demonstration of miracles attributed to the historical Buddha, also called Shakyamuni Buddha.

  • Hanamatsuri, Buddha’s Birthday: April 8, 2019
  • A flower festival that celebrates Buddha’s birthday in Japan.

  • Water Festivals: April 13–16, 2019
  • Water is used for washing homes, Buddha images, monks, and soaking friends and passers-by in celebration of the Lao New Year

  • Buddha’s Birthday in South Korea and Taiwan: May 12, 2019
  • Buddha’s birthday in South Korea is celebrated with a weeklong festival

  • Saga Dawa or Saka Dawa: May 18, 2019
  • The holiest time of the Tibetan year and a peak time for pilgrimages.

  • Vesak: May 19, 2019
  • This day commemorates the birth, enlightenment and passing into Nirvana of the historical Buddha.

  • Birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama: July 6, 2019
  • The current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was born on this day.

  • Chokhor Duchen: July 6, 2019
  • Commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon and the teaching of the Four Noble Truths.

  • Asalha Puja, Beginning of Vassa: July 16, 2019
  • Commemorates the first sermon of the Buddha.

  • Zhongyuan: August 15, 2019
  • According to Chinese folklore, the unhappy dead walk among the living throughout the month and must be placated with items. Paper offerings are burned and floating candles pay respect to deceased ancestors.

  • Obon: August 13 – 15, 2019
  • The three-day festival honors departed loved ones and loosely correlates to Hungry Ghost festivals held in other parts of Asia.

Christian Observances

  • All Hallows Eve: October 31, 2018
  • A celebration observed in a number of countries on the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Saints’ Day.

  • All Saints’ Day: November 1, 2018
  • A festival celebrated in honor of all saints, known and unknown.

  • All Souls’ Day: November 2, 2018
  • Commemorates the souls of Christians who have died.

  • St. Andrew’s Day: November 30, 2018
  • The feast day of Saint Andrew.

  • Advent – First Sunday: December 2, 2018
  • Observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas.

  • St. Nicholas Day: December 06, 2018
  • It is celebrated as a festival with particular regard to St. Nicholas’ reputation as a bringer of gifts.

  • *Christmas Eve: December 24, 2018
  • A day observed on the eve of the birth of Jesus Christ.

  • *Christmas: December 25, 2018
  • Commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ.

  • *Watch Night: December 31, 2018
  • Christian religious service, also called Freedom’s Eve, held on New Year’s Eve, historically associated in many African American churches with a celebration and remembrance of the Emancipation Proclamation, enacted January 1, 1867, which freed slaves in the Confederate states during the American Civil War.

  • Epiphany: January 6, 2019
  • A feast day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ.

  • Ash Wednesday: March 6, 2019
  • A holy day of prayer, fasting and repentance.

  • Good Friday: April 19, 2019
  • Commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary.

  • Easter Sunday: April 21, 2019
  • Commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • Easter Monday: April 22, 2019
  • The day after Easter Sunday and is a holiday in some countries.

  • Ascension Day: May 30, 2019
  • Commemorates the belief of the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven.

  • Corpus Christi: June 20, 2019
  • A Catholic liturgical solemnity celebrating the presence of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

  • Assumption Day: August 15, 2019
  • The bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her earthly life.

Hindu Observances

  • Navaratri: October 9, 2018
  • A festival most celebrated for Goddess Durga.

  • Dassera: October 19, 2018
  • A festival celebrated at the end of Navratri every year.

  • Diwali: November 7, 2018
  • The Hindu festival of lights. Diwali symbolises the spiritual victory of good versus evil.

  • Maha Shivaratri: March 5, 2019
  • A festival celebrated annually in honor of the god Shiva.

  • Holi: March 21, 2019
  • A festival signifying the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, a day to meet others and repair broken relationships.

  • Rama Navami: April 14, 2019
  • A spring festival that celebrates the birthday of god Rama.

  • Raksa Bandhana: August 15, 2019
  • A day where sisters of all ages tie a talisman around their brothers symbolically protecting them, receiving a gift in return, and traditionally investing the brothers with a share of the responsibility of their potential care.

Jewish Observances

  • Rosh Hashana: September 10-11, 2018
  • The Jewish civil New Year.

  • Yom Kippur: September 19, 2018
  • The holiest day of the year in Judaism.

  • Sukkot: September 24-30, 2018
  • Celebrates the gathering of the harvest and commemorates the protection provided for the children of Israel when they left Egypt.

  • Shmini Atzeret: October 1, 2018
  • An independent holiday celebrated after Sukkot.

  • Simchat Torah: October 2, 2018
  • Celebrates and marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle.

  • Chanukah: December 3-10, 2018
  • Commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire.

  • Purim: March 21, 2019
  • Commemorates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman.

  • Passover (Pesach): April 19-27, 2019
  • Passover (Pesach) commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

  • Shavuot: June 9-10, 2019
  • Marks the wheat harvest in Israel and it commemorates the anniversary of the day the Torah was given to the nation of Israel.

  • Tish’a B’Av: August 11, 2019
  • An annual fast day on which a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred.

Muslim Observances

  • Milad un Nabi: November 21, 2018
  • Observance of the birthday of Islamic prophet Muhammad.

  • Leilat al-Meiraj: April 3, 2019
  • Commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s nighttime journey from Mecca to Jerusalem where he ascended to heaven.

  • Laylat al Barat: April 20, 2019
  • A holiday preparing for Ramadan.

  • Ramadan: May 6-June 5, 2019
  • A month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad.

  • Laylat al-Qadr: June 1, 2019
  • Commemorates the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

  • Eid al-Fitr: June 5-7, 2019
  • Marks the end of Ramadan.

  • Eid al-Adha: August 12-15, 2019
  • Honors the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God’s command.

Sikh Observances

  • Birth of the Bab: October 20, 2018
  • Commemorates the birth of a significant religious leader and follower of Baha’u’llah.

  • Diwali: November 11, 2018
  • Celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind.

  • Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom: November 24, 2018
  • A celebration honoring the life of Guru Tegh Bahadur.

  • Guru Nanak Dev Sahib birthday: November 25, 2018
  • A celebration of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib.

  • Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib: January 5, 2019
  • A celebration of the birth of Guru Gobin Singh Sahib.

  • Maghi: January 14, 2019
  • Commemorates the forty Sikh martyrs who once had deserted the tenth and last human Guru of Sikhism.

  • Hola Mohalla: March 21, 2019
  • A festival that follows the Hindu festival of Holi by one day.

  • Baisakhi New Year: April 14, 2019
  • A celebration that marks the Sikh new year.

  • Guru Arjan Dev martyrdom: June 16, 2019
  • A celebration honoring the life of Guru Arjan Dev.