2020 Religious Holidays

January 1: Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God – Christian

Liturgical feast of Mary celebrated by the Catholic Church.

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January 2: Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) – Buddhist

Rohatsu is the celebration of the enlightenment of the Buddha. A candle is lit every evening for thirty days, symbolic of enlightenment.

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January 7: Feast of the Nativity – Orthodox Christian

Also known as the “Incarnation of Christ,” this Feast celebrates the day that Jesus became human and came into the world as a Savior.

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January 25:  Chinese New Year – Confucian –Taoist -Buddhist

The Chinese New Year remains the most important social and economic holiday in China. The holiday is a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors and includes feasting together as a family.

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February 1-2: Imbolc – Lughnassad – Nature Traditions

The second of four great fire festivals, Imbolc (meaning “in milk”) recognizes a time of awakening, promise and hope for the spring. This holiday begins at sundown on February 1 and ends at sundown on February 2.

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February 15:  Nirvana Day – Buddhist – Jain

Festival commemorating Buddha’s death at 80 when he attained Nirvana – the state at which all desires and afflictions are gone, and the cycle of death and rebirth ends.

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February 26: Ash Wednesday – Lent begins – Christian

In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day of the season of Lent, 40 days of preparation for Easter. Many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, moderation, and spiritual discipline.

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March 3: New Year – Hindu

This event celebrates the dawn of a new year and new beginnings.  It is a spring festival marking the end of winter and looking forward to a time of expectation.

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March 9: Magha Puja Day – Buddhist

Magha Puja Day is a holy day of homage to The Buddha.

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March 10-11: Holi – Hindu

This springtime festival of colors includes music, dancing, laughter and teasing.  It is a fun-filled, joyous celebration. This holiday begins at sundown on March 10 and ends at sundown on March 11.

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March 10-11: Purim – Jewish

This merry holiday celebrates a time when Jewish people in Persia were saved from destruction. It is customary to hear the reading of the Book of Esther, eat, drink, and be joyful, give gifts of food and drink and gifts to charity, and hold carnival-like celebrations. This holiday begins at sundown on March 10 and ends at sundown on March 11.

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March 19: Lord’s Evening Meal – Jehovah’s Witness Christians

This was first observed by Jesus Christ on Jewish Passover in 33 C.E.  It is observed only once per year.  Celebrants partake of bread and wine which are symbols of Christ’s body and blood.

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March 20: Equinox-Ostara-Nature Traditions

Celebration of new life; a time of renewal and rebirth.

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March 21-22: Naw Ruz (New Year) – Baha’i

The New Year celebrates the love relationship between the Creator and the creation, in the material world.  Begins on the evening of March 21st and ends the evening of March 22nd.

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April 6: Mahavir Jayanti – Jain

Festival honoring Lord Mahavira on the founder’s birthday. Shrines are visited and teachings are reviewed and reflected upon.

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April 8: Hanuman Jayanti – Hindu

This event celebrates Hanuman, one of the most popular Hindu idols, the ape that helped Lord Rama fight evil. Hanuman represents the inherent and rarely used power that lies within all.

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April 9: Holy (Maundy) Thursday – Christian

The Thursday before Easter commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the gospels. Mass or services may include the symbolic washing of feet.

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April 9-15: Pesach  (Passover) – Jewish

Pesach, which means to pass through, commemorates the Exodus from Egypt and the Holy One passing over the Jewish homes when the first-born Egyptians were slain.

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April 10: Good Friday – Christian

On this solemn day, Christians commemorate the passion, or suffering, and death on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many Christians spend this day in fasting, prayer, repentance, and meditation on the agony and suffering of Christ on the cross.

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April 12: Easter – Christian

Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year and includes a joyous celebration of Mass or a Service of Christ’s Resurrection.

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April 19: Easter/Pascha – Orthodox Christian

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated with this feast in the Orthodox Christian church. It recognizes Christ’s power over death and the gift to Christians of restoration, transformation and life everlasting.

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April 20: Yom HaShoah – Jewish

Also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, this day offers remembrance for persons who died in the Shoah, actions against the Jewish people during World War II. This holiday begins at sundown on May 1 and ends at sundown on May 2.

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April 24: Ramadan Begins- Islam

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and lasts for thirty days. It is the Islamic month of fasting from sex, drinking, eating, and smoking during daylight hours. The purpose of Ramadan is to rededicate oneself to God through patience, faith, and submission.  Ramadan continues until June 4th.

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May 1: Beltane- Nature Traditions

Beltane celebrates the fertility and abundance of the earth.

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May 7: Visakha Puja – Buddhist

This festival celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha.  The day includes preparation of sweets for the monks, sermons and a candle-lighting ceremony.

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May 23-24: Declaration of the Bab- Baha’i

This day recognizes the declaration in 1844 by Ali Muhammed that he was the anticipated “Coming One” of all religions. Work is suspended on this day. This holiday begins at sundown on May 23 and ends at sundown on May 24.

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June 5-7: Eid al Fitr – Islam

Eid al Fitr is a festival of thanksgiving for enjoying the month of Ramadan. It involves wearing the finest clothing, saying prayers, and fostering understanding with other religions.

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June 7:  Pentecost- Christian

Pentecost is a celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ disciples, and the birth of the church, following His resurrection. Pentecost always occurs seven weeks after Easter Sunday and is typically celebrated with baptism liturgies and joyous services.

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July 31: Eid al Adha – Islam

Eid al Adha, also called the Feast of Sacrifice, celebrates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son to God. It also commemorates the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

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August 11: Krishna Janmashtami- Hindu

This festival celebrates the birth of Krishna, one of the central figures and The Supreme Being in Hinduism.  The festival starts with a twenty-four hour fast, ending at midnight, and followed by a great celebration.

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August 17-23: Paryushana Parva – Jain

This Jain practice is a yearly time of uplifting through fasting, meditation, introspection, love, and forgiveness for all humanity. This holiday begins at sundown on September 2 and ends at sundown on September 3.

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August 20: Hijra – New Year – Islam

This is the first day of the month of Muharram which marks the time in 622 CE when Prophet Muhammad moved from Mecca to Medina. This holiday begins at sundown on August 31 and ends at sundown on September 1.

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August 29: Ashura – Islam

The Day of Ashura commemorates, for Shi’a Muslims, a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. This holiday begins at sundown on September 9 and ends at sundown on September 10.

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September 8: Nativity of Mary – Christian

This holiday, celebrated in the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, celebrates the birth date of Mary, mother of Jesus.

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September 18-20: Rosh Hashanah – Jewish

Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah is the first of the High Holy days or Days of Awe; it is a time of prayer, reflection, and services.

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September 22-23: Equinox-Mabon-Nature Traditions

Mabon, falling in September in the Northern Hemisphere, is a celebration of the second harvest during the autumn equinox. When day and night are equal, it marks a balance between light and dark. This holiday begins at sundown on September 22 and ends at sundown on September 23.

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Sept 27-28: Yom Kippur-Jewish

Yom Kippur is a complete Sabbath, meaning no work can be performed on this day.  It includes a complete fast and solemn services. “Yom Kippur” means “Day of Atonement.” This holiday begins at sundown on October 8 and ends at sundown on October 9.

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October 3-9: Sukkot- Jewish

This festival begins on the fifth day after Yom Kippur and is one of the most joyous holidays. Sukkot helps commemorate the period in which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert. People live and eat in temporary dwellings during the festival.

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October 19: Birth of Baha’u’llah – Bahai

Baha’u’llah is the Messenger of God. His teachings create the foundation of the Baha’i practice which is the unity of people of all races and backgrounds. The day includes prayers, a feast, and music. This holiday begins at sundown on November 12 and ends at sundown on November 13.

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October 17-24: Navaratri – Hindu

Festival of the divine mother which honors Durga, wife of Shiva, seeking her blessings. Also observed as a celebration recalling the days of Lord Krishna.

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October 31: Samhain – Nature Traditions

Samhain marks the beginning of the Pagan year; a time to search for wisdom and guidance.

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November 1: All Saints Day- Christian

On this day, the Catholic and Protestant churches celebrate all believers, known and unknown, alive and dead.

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November 14: Diwali – Hindu – Jain – Sikh

The Festival of Lights commemorates the triumph of the Good over the Evil and Light over Darkness.

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November 30: Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Birthday – Sikh

A Punjabi festival commemorating Guru Nanak Dev Sahib’s birthday.

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December 8: Immaculate Conception of Mary – Catholic Christian

The Immaculate Conception of Mary is the conception of the Virgin Mary without, according to the Roman Catholic Church, any stain of original sin.

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December 10-18:  Hanukkah – Jewish

Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days and nights of candle lighting. In Hebrew, the word “hanukkah” means “dedication,” and it commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C.E.

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December 21: Yule – Winter Solstice – Nature Traditions

Yule is the time of greatest darkness and the longest night of the year. This time is celebrated as the “return of the Sun God” where He is reborn of the Goddess. This holiday begins at sundown on December 20 and ends at sundown on December 21.

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December 25: Christmas – Christian

Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. Christmas is preceded by 40 days of spiritual preparation called Advent.   Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ.

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For More Information about Religious Holidays please visit interfaithcalendar.org