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Religious and Spiritual Observances Calendar: Fall (September - December)

This guide is intended as an educational resource by raising awareness of the diverse religious and spiritual observances celebrated by members of the University of South Dakota community that may impact one's school or work responsibilities.

Holidays and Recommended Accommodations

 

 

 

Date(s) Observed

SEPTEMBER

 

Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu)

This two-day festival celebrates the birth of Krishna, a widely-worshiped Hindu god. Krishna is considered to be a warrior, hero, teacher, and philosopher.

General Practices: During this festival, Hindus are likely to forgo sleep in order to sing bhajans, traditional Hindu songs. Many Hindus also fast during the first day of the festival. Dances, songs, and plays depicting the life of Krishna are common.

Date Details: The first day is called Krishan ashtami or Gokul ashtami. The second day is known as Kaal ashtami or more popularly Janam ashtami.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling major academic deadlines on this day, since it is likely that students will be operating on very little sleep.

Aug. 24, 2019

Aug. 11, 2020

Raksha Bandhan (Hindu)

The Rakhi festivity falls in the holy month of Shravan; The origin and history of Rakhi can be dated back to the mythological Pouranik times.

General Practices: A day to acknowledge siblings and their relationships

Aug. 15, 2019

Aug. 3, 2020

Rosh Hashanah - *begins at sundown (Jewish)
Holiday with significant work restriction


Start of the Jewish New Year, day of judgment and remembrance; the Jewish calendar celebrates the New Year in the seventh month (Tishrei) as a day of rest and celebration ten days before Yom Kippur

General Practices: Prayer in synagogue and festive meals

Date details: Begins at sundown on preceding day.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on this date. If planning an event, provide food accommodation as requested (kosher restrictions apply).

Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2019

Sept. 19-20, 2020

Mabon / Alban Elfed / Autumnal Equinox (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid)

Also referred to as Harvest Home, the Feast of the Ingathering, and Meán Fómhair. Mabon is the second celebration of the harvest, a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth, and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months. One of the eight major annual sabbats or festivals.

General Practices: At Mabon, day and night are in equal balance. It is a time to offer gratitude for the blessings of the harvest and also to begin to prepare for turning inward. Making dishes with apples, squash and pumpkins as part of ritual celebration is customary.

Sept. 21-29, 2019

Sept. 21-29, 2020

Yom Kippur - *begins at sundown (Jewish)
Holiday with significant work restriction


Yom Kippur is often considered the holiest day of the year for Jews, and the day is dedicated to atonement and abstinence.

General Practices: During Yom Kippur, Jews fast from before sundown until after sunset, and light a Yahrzeit memorial candle at sundown on the night of Yom Kippur.

Date details: Begins at sundown on preceding day.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on this date and after a day of fasting.

Oct. 8-9, 2019

Sept. 27-28, 2020

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Eid al-Adha - *begins at sundown (Islamic)
Holiday with significant work restriction


Eid al-Adha is a major festival that celebrates the willingness to make sacrifices in the name of one’s faith. According to legend, the prophet Ibrahim was ordered to sacrifice his son in God’s name. When Ibrahim was prepared to kill his son, God stepped in and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead. This holiday celebrates Ibrahim’s total faith in God, and Muslims view this holiday as an important annual reminder.

General Practices: Prayers, gift giving, prayers, and sometimes slaughtering of sheep, with a portion of the meat gifted to the poor.

Date details: Lunar calendars can vay based on region and practice. Begins at sundown on the preceding day.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, and activities on the first day. If planning an evening event, provide food accommodations if requested (Islamic dietary restrictions apply).

Aug. 10-11, 2019

July 30-31, 2020

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Sukkot - *begins at sundown (Jewish)
Holiday with significant work restriction


A week-long celebration which begins with the building of Sukkah for sleep and meals; Sukkot is named for the huts Moses and the Israelites lived in as they wandered the desert before reaching the promised land.

General Practices: Families in the United States commonly decorate the sukkah with produce and artwork.

Date details: Begins at sundown of previous day; work holiday varies by denomination.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on the first two days. If planning an event, provide food accommodation as requested (kosher restrictions apply).

Oct. 13-20, 2019

Oct. 2-9, 2020

October

Shemini Atzeret - *begins at sundown (Jewish)
Holiday with significant work restriction


Also known as Atzereth, this is a fall festival, which includes a memorial service for the dead and features prayers for rain in Israel.

General Practices: Jews light a Yahrzeit memorial candle at sundown on Shemini Atzereth (the 8th night of Sukkot).

Date details: Begins at sundown the preceding day.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on this date. If planning an event, provide food accommodation as requested (kosher restrictions apply).

Oct. 20-22, 2019

Oct. 9-11, 2020

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Navratri (Hindu)

Navarati is one of the greatest Hindu festivals, and celebrates the triumph of good over evil. During this time, Hindus worship Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati.

General Practices: Durga is the mother goddess, and so Hindus try to visit their mothers and other relatives during this time. Some Hindus will pray and fast, and there are are often feasts and dances.

Sept. 29-Oct. 8, 2019

Oct. 17-26, 2020

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Simchat Torah (Jewish)
Holiday with significant work restriction


Simchat Torah marks the completion of the annual cycle of the reading of the Torah in the synagogue and the beginning of the new cycle.

General Practices: Practitioners dance in synagogues as all the Torah scrolls are carried around in seven circuits.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, and activities on this date. Kosher restrictions apply.

Oct. 21-22, 2019

Oct. 10-11, 2020

Samhain (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid)

One of the four "greater Sabbats" and considered by some to be the Wiccan New Year. A time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, welcome those born during the past year into the community, and reflecting on past relationships, events and other significant changes in life.

General Practices: Paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died.

Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2019

Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2020

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NOVEMBER

 

Diwali (Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain)
Holiday with significant work restriction


Diwali—the Hindu “festival of lights”—is an extremely popular holiday for multiple religions throughout Southern Asia. Diwali extends over five days, and celebrates the victory of good over evil. The Times of India described Diwali as “a reaffirmation of hope, a renewed commitment to friendship and goodwill, and a religiously sanctioned celebration of the simple.” Fireworks, oil lamps, and sweets are common, making this a favorite holiday for children. The lamps are lit to help the goddess Lakshmi find her way into people’s homes.

General Practices: Lighting oil lamps and candles, setting off fireworks, and prayer.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, and activities on this date. Hindu employees will likely request a vacation day on this date.

Oct. 27, 2019

Nov. 14, 2020

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Birth of Bahá'u'lláh (Baha’i)
Holiday with significant work restriction


This holiday celebrates the birthday of Bahá'u'lláh, one of the Baha’I faith’s most important figures. For Bahá'ís, the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh is a Holy Day celebrating the rebirth of the world through the love of God, just as Christmas is for Christians.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on this date. (Baha’i employees will likely request to have this day off.)

Oct. 29-30, 2019

Oct. 18-19, 2020

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DECEMBER

 

Hanukkah / Chanukah - *begins at sundown (Jewish)


Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights, and lasts for eight days. Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish struggle for religious freedom. The history of the holiday involves a historic military victory in which a Jewish sect called the Maccabees defeated the Syrian Greeks. The celebration commemorates a miracle in which a sacred temple flame burned for eight days on only one day’s worth of oil.

General Practices: On each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, Jewish families light an additional candle of the menorah candelabrum until all eight candles are lit. Jews celebrate with food and song, as well as exchanging gifts for eight days.

Date details: Hanukkah begins at sundown on the first day.

Recommended Accommodations: Academics and work permitted, not a work holiday. Provide food accommodation as requested (kosher restrictions apply—potato pancakes, doughnuts or other fried food is customary).

Dec. 22-30, 2019

Dec. 10-18, 2020

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Yule / Midwinter / Alban Arthan / Winter Solstice (Pagan, Wiccan, Druid)

The longest night of the year followed by the sun's "rebirth" and lengthening of days. In most traditions, Yule is celebrated as the rebirth of the Great God, who is viewed as the newborn solstice sun. Some pagans consider Yule to be the beginning of the new year. One of the eight major annual sabbats or festivals.

General Practices: Burning the yule log (which was traditionally  part of last year’s yule tree) is an act of faith and renewal that, indeed, the light, and the warmth will return.

Dec. 21, 2019-Jan. 1, 2020

Dec. 22, 2020-Jan. 2, 2021

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Christmas (Christian / Roman Catholic and Protestant)
Holiday with significant work restriction


Christmas is an annual celebration commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah whose message and self-sacrifice began the Christian religion.

General Practices: Many celebrate this holiday by giving gifts, attending church services, decorating Christmas trees, and visiting family.

Date details: Begins at sundown on Dec. 24 annually and continues with all day celebration on Dec. 25.

Recommended Accommodations: This is a national holiday in the United States, so special accommodations are likely not required.

Dec. 24-25, 2019

Dec. 24-25, 2020

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Points to Remember

This guide is intended as an educational resource by including dates and practices of the diverse religious and spiritual observations celebrated by members of the University of South Dakota community that may impact one's school or work responsibilities. Possible academic and food accommodations are include for informational purposes, as well. We hope that the information will be valuable to those planning classroom activities and other academic co-curricular events. 

Points to Remember

  • Dates are assembled from several calendars and organized by semester: summer, fall, spring. Lunar calendars can vary based on region and practice.
  • Kosher restrictions apply: refers to the dietary guidelines of Jewish law which apply daily throughout the year. Restrictions include: pork, shellfish (fish is allowed) and mixing meat with dairy.
  • Halal dietary restrictions apply: refers to the foods prohibited according to Islamic dietary law throughout the year. Restrictions include alcohol and pork.

Native American Ceremonies

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