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Major Religious Holy Days 2021-2022 Academic Year

The diverse community of American University celebrates several different religious and cultural holidays. Please be mindful of the following dates during the 2021-22 academic year that may require accommodation and are observed by a meaningful proportion of the AU community.  This list is not exhaustive of all holidays or observances, nor active religious communities on campus.  For an expansive list of religious and cultural holidays, click here.

For Jewish and Islamic holidays, one should consider the observance beginning at sundown on the day before the holiday; sundown will be at a multitude of times in a virtual teaching environment.  Jewish holy days end one hour after sunset of the concluding day. Islamic and Hindu holy days may also vary depending on the sighting of the moon.  

Many religious traditions also observe specific times of fasting. Given the impact that fasting may have on a student’s ability to demonstrate their full academic potential, students may request alternative scheduling for exams and assignment during these periods. Such accommodations should be sought at the earliest opportunity in conversation with a professor, and we anticipate that a meaningful arrangement can be made.

Accommodations for Religious Observances

For some of the traditions represented on campus, the cessation of regular activities and/or work is a component of the holiday; this would impact a student’s participation in class and completion of assignments on those dates. It should be noted that preference to observe a religious or cultural holiday at a specific place or time, if not a component of the observance, does not qualify for an accommodation.  

The student is responsible for notifying their professor of conflicts with course materials and a religious or cultural observance in a timely manner. The expectation is that an arrangement can be made between the professor and the student. The student is responsible for managing the lost study and work time as a result of an observance. Students should not be penalized for excused absences and are required to make-up materials missed from an accommodation.   

If you need to make a request for a religious accommodation, you can do so through our online form.

If you have any questions about the policy or about religious observance, please contact the Office of the University Chaplain at KSLC@american.edu.

These are the obvservances that may require an accommodation:

Our communities will celebrate over 60 religious holidays during the year

Religious Holy Days
Month Date Holy Day Religion
August 9 Hijra (New Year) Islam
August 18 Ashura Islam
September 7&8 Rosh Hashana Judaism
September 10 Ganesh Chaturthi Hinduism
September 16 Yom Kippur Judaism
September 21&22 First and Second Days of Sukkot Judaism
September 28 & 29 Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah Judaism
October 6 Navaratri Begins Hinduism
October 14 Vijaya Dashami Hinduism
November 4 Diwali Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism
November 6 Birth of Bab Baháʼí
November 7 Birth of Baha’u’llah Baháʼí
December 25 Christmas Christianity
January 7 Julian Christmas Orthodox Christianity
January 14 Pongal/Makar Sankranti Hinduism
February 28 Maha Shivaratri Hinduism
March 18 Holi Hinduism
March 21 Naw Ruz Baháʼí
April  1 Lunar New Year/Yugadi Hinduism
April  2-30 Ramadan Islam
April  13 Solar New Year/Vaisakhi/Puthandu Hinduism
April 15 Good Friday Christianity
April 16&17 First Two Days of Passover Judaism
April 16 Holy Saturday Christianity
April 17 Easter Christianity
April  21 1st day of Ridvan Baháʼí
April 22 Good Friday Orthodox Christianity
April 22&23 Last Two Days of Passover Judaism
April  24 Pesach/Easter Orthodox Christianity
April  29 9th day of Ridvan Baháʼí
May 1 Ramadan Islam
May 2 Eid-al-Fitr Islam
May 2 12th day of Ridvan Baháʼí
May 24 Declaration of Bab Baháʼí
May 29 Ascension of Baha’u’llah Baháʼí
June 5&6 Shavuot Judaism