Cultural Holidays and Accommodations

Upcoming Cultural Holidays (selected)

Fall 2022

PARYUSHANA (JAINISM) is the ‘Festival of Forgiveness,’ a significant holy event for Jains coming together to reflect on friendship and forgiveness. Aug. 23-30
ROSH HASHANAH (JUDAISM) is the Jewish New Year; start of the Ten Days of Penitence. The first two days are observed as full holidays. Sept. 25-27
YOM KIPPUR (JUDAISM) is the day of Atonement; the most solemn day of the year devoted to fasting, prayer and repentance. Oct. 4-5
SUKKOT (JUDAISM) is the first two days of Tabernacles, commemorating the dwelling of Israelites in booths in the wilderness. Oct. 9-11
NAVARATRI (HINDUISM) is the festival representing ‘Nine Nights’ honoring the Devi, the great Goddess and divine Mother, the all-pervading Shakti. Sept. 26-Oct. 5
SIMCHAT TORAH (JUDAISM) is the celebration of the new cycle of annual scriptural readings. Oct. 18
DIWALI (HINDUISM/JAINISM/SIKHISM/ BUDDHISM) is the ‘Festival of Lights’, a major festival lasting five days, celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. Oct. 24
TWIN HOLY BIRTHDAYS (BAHA'I) is the festival to celebrate the births of two central figures of the Baháʼí faith, ‘Báb’ on the first day and ‘Baháʼu'lláh’ on the second day. Oct. 25-26
DAY OF THE COVENANT (BAHA’I) is the festival commemorating Baháʼu'lláh’s appointment of his eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as the center of His Covenant. Nov. 26
ASCENSION OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ (BAHA’I) marks the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the appointed successor of the Baha’i faith in Haifa. Nov. 28
HANUKKAH (JUDAISM) is the ‘Festival of Lights’, celebrating the victory of the Maccabees and rededication of the Ancient temple in Jerusalem. Dec. 19-26
CHRISTMAS (CHRISTIANITY) is the annual religious and cultural commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Feast of the Nativity Christmas is celebrated in January.

Dec. 25 

Jan. 7 (Orthodox)

KWANZAA is the annual celebration of African-American culture culminating in a communal feast called Karamu, held on the sixth day.

Dec. 26-Jan. 1

Spring 2023

LUNAR NEW YEAR (BUDDHISM) is the festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Jan. 22
SHIVRATRI (HINDUISM) Is a festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. The name also refers to the night when Shiva performs the heavenly dance. Feb. 18
LENT (CHRISTIANITY) is the six week period beginning Ash Wednesday leading to Easter Sunday, where some Christians fast or give something up in solemn observance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Period includes Palm Sunday and Good Friday. Feb. 22-April 6
PURIM (JUDAISM) is the Jewish festival commemorating the saving of the Jewish people and the defeat of Haman as recounted in the Book of Esther. March 6-7
HOLI (HINDUISM) is a popular ancient festival, signifying the triumph of good over evil, as it celebrates the victory of Lord Vishnu as Narasimha Narayana over Hiranyakashipu. March 8
NAW-RUZ (BAHA'I) is an ancient Persian festival celebrating the New Year and for Baha’is it marks the end of the annual 19-Day Fast and coincides with the spring equinox. March 21
RAMADAN (ISLAM) is the ninth most sacred month in Islamic culture that Muslims observe to mark when Allah sent an angel to Prophet Muhammad to reveal the Quran, the Islamic holy book. March 22-April 21
MAHAVIRA-JAYANTI (JAINISM/SIKHISM/HINDUISM) is one of the most important religious festivals in Jainism, celebrating the birth of Mahavir, the twenty-fourth and last Tirthankara of present Avasarpiṇī. April 4
PASSOVER/PESACH (JUDAISM) marks the deliverance of the Jewish people from Egypt. The first and last two days are observed as full holidays. Includes a ceremonial meal called the Seder comprising food of symbolic significance, traditions and prayers. April 5-13
EASTER/PASCHA (CHRISTIANITY) is the Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion.

April 9 

April 16 

RIDVAN (BAHA'I) commemorates the 12 days when Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baha’i faith, publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s messenger for this age. Elections for local, national and international Baha’i institutions are generally held. 

April 21, 29, and May 2

EID AL-FITR (ISLAM) is the "Festival of Breaking the Fast" celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.

April 21-22

DECLARATION OF THE BÁB (BAHA’I) commemorates when the Báb, announced that He was the Herald of a new Messenger of God.

May 24

Summer 2023

ASCENSION OF THE BAHA’U’LLAH (BAHA’I) marks the passing of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baha’i Faith. May 29
SHAVUOT (JUDAISM) is the ‘Feast of Weeks’, which marks the giving of the Law (Torah) at Mt. Sinai, and is often linked with the Confirmation of teenagers. May 25-27
EID AL-ADHA (ISLAM) is the latter of the two Islamic holidays honoring the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ismail as an act of obedience to God's command. Before Ibrahim could sacrifice his son however, Allah provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. June 28-29
MARTYRDOM OF THE BÁB (BAHA’I) commemorates the anniversary of the execution of the Báb, Herald of the Bahai Faith, in Persia.  July 10
TISHA B’AV (JUDAISM) is an annual fast day and intense day of mourning on which a number of disasters in Jewish history occurred. July 26-27
AL-HIJRA (ISLAM) is the first day of the month of Muharram representing the Islamic New Year.  July 29-30
SRI KRISHNA JAYANTI (HINDUISM) is the annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. Aug. 18-19


According to New York State Education Law Section 224-a regarding students unable because of religious beliefs to attend classes on certain days:

  1. No person shall be expelled from or be refused admission as a student to an institution of higher education for the reason that he or she is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to register or attend classes or to participate in any examination, study or work requirements on a particular day or days.
  2. Any student in an institution of higher education who is unable, because of his or her religious beliefs, to attend classes on a particular day or days shall, because of such absence on the particular day or days, be excused from any examination or any study or work requirements.
  3. It shall be the responsibility of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to make available to each student who is absent from school, because of his or her religious beliefs, an equivalent opportunity to register for classes or make up any examination, study or work requirements which he or she may have missed because of such absence on any particular day or days. No fees of any kind shall be charged by the institution for making available to the said student such equivalent opportunity.
  4. If registration, classes, examinations, study or work requirements are held on Friday after four o'clock post meridian or on Saturday, similar or makeup classes, examinations, study or work requirements or opportunity to register shall be made available on other days, where it is possible and practicable to do so. No special fees shall be charged to the student for these classes, examinations, study or work requirements or registration held on other days.
  5. In effectuating the provisions of this section, it shall be the duty of the faculty and of the administrative officials of each institution of higher education to exercise the fullest measure of good faith. No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student because of his or her availing himself or herself of the provisions of this section.
  6. Any student who is aggrieved by the alleged failure of any faculty or administrative officials to comply in good faith with the provisions of this section shall be entitled to maintain an action or proceeding in the supreme court of the county in which such institution of higher education is located for the enforcement of his or her rights under this section.