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Cultural and Religious Holidays

Wentworth Institute of Technology recognizes the importance of cultural and religious observances in a student's spiritual identity. (Places of worship in the local Boston area) In the spirit of community, it is important for all members of the Wentworth campus to be aware of major religious and cultural holidays and observances. The list below is not an exhaustive list.

When a religious holiday conflicts with a student's class schedule, students assume the responsibility to discuss their absence from class to observe these holidays. Students should review the official Student Absence Due to Religious Beliefs policy in the Academic Catalog.

Fall 2017

September

  • September 2: Eid Al-AdhaI, “Feast of Sacrifice” (Muslim)
  • September 12: Ethiopian New Year
  • September 13-15: Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)
  • September 15 – October 15: Hispanic Heritage Month. This month corresponds with Mexican Independence Day, which is celebrated on September 16.
  • September 17: Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu) - Celebrates the birthday of Ganesha, the elephant-deity.
  • September 22: Autumnal Equinox (First Day of Fall)
  • September 22: Muharram (Islamic) - The month of Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic liturgical year. The first day of the month, al-Hijra, remembers the migration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. It also marks the beginning of the ten-day Shi‟ite Remembrance of Muharram, a period of intense grief and mourning of the martyrdom of Hussein, the son of Ali and grandson of Muhammad.
  • September 30: Yom Kippur (Jewish) - The “Day of Atonement” marks the end of the Ten Days of Penitence that begin with Rosh Hashanah.

October
October is also LGBT History Month, a U.S. observance started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history and the history of the gay rights movement.

  • October 1: Ashura (Muslim) - A day of fasting observed on the 10th day of the month of Muharram to celebrate Moses‟ exodus from Egypt. For Shi‟a Muslims, it also marks the climax of the ten-day Remembrance of Muharram, which mourns the martyrdom of Hussein at the Battle of Kerbala in 680 CE.
  • October 5-11: Sukkot (Jewish) - It is a time of remembrance of the fragile tabernacles that Israelites lived in as they wandered the wilderness for 40 years. The first day of the holiday is celebrated with prayers and special meals.
  • October 9: National Indigenous People’s Day, which recognizes 500 years of resistance and the continued existence of North American Indigenous people.
  • October 11: National Coming Out Day. For those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, this day celebrates coming out and the recognition of the 1987 march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality.
  • October 19: Diwali, “Festival of Lights” (Hindu) - celebration of the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.
  • October 19 - Bandi-Chhor Diwas (Sikh) - A commemorative occasion having no fixed date which occurs in October or November and celebrates the release of the Sixth Guru Har Gobind Sahib from imprisonment and coincides with Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

November
November is National Native American Heritage Month, which celebrates the history and contributions of Native Americans.

  • November 1: All Saints Day (Christian) - Commemorates all known and unknown Christian saints. Eastern Christianity observes it on the first Sunday after Pentecost.
  • November 4: Guru Nanak Deve Ji's Birthday (Sikh) - A very important holiday in the Sikh faith as Guru Nanak Dev‟s was the First Guru of the Sikhs and the Founder of Sikhism. He was born in mid-November; the holiday is celebrated according to the lunar date.
  • November 11: Veteran's DayHonors the U. S. Armed Services and commemorates the war dead.
  • November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance, established in 1998 to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia, and to raise awareness of the continued violence endured by the transgender community.
  • November 23: Thanksgiving (USA)
  • November 27: The beginning of Advent in Western Christianity
  • November 30-December 1: Eid Milad Un Nabi (Islamic) -  observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad 

December

  • December 1: World AIDS Day
  • December 3-24: Advent (Christian) - Advent is a season of spiritual preparation in observance of the birth of Jesus. In Western Christianity, it starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. In Eastern Christianity, the season is longer and begins in the middle of November.
  • December 8: Bodhi Day (Buddhist) - Also known as Rohatsu, it observes the spiritual awakening (bodhi) of founder Siddharta Gautama, the Buddha, ca. 596 BCE. Celebrated on the eighth day either of December or the 12th month of the lunar calendar.
  • December 10: International Human Rights Day
  • December 13-20: Chanukah (Jewish) - Eight-day “Festival of Lights”, celebrating the rededication of the Temple to the service of God in 164 BCE. Commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Greek King, Antiochus, who sought to suppress freedom of worship.
  • December 12: Feast Day at Our Lady of Guadalupe (Christian) - celebrates the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (by her title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of Mexico and the Americas) before Juan Diego, an indigenous convert to Roman Catholicism, on the Mexican hill of Tepeyac in 1531.
  • December 16-24: Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration in Mexico commemorating the trials Mary and Joseph endured during their journey to Bethlehem.
  • December 21: The Winter Solstice/ Yule - In the northern hemisphere, the shortest day of the year. It marks the first day of the season of winter
  • December 25: Christmas
  • December 26 – January 1: Kwanzaa - A seven-day celebration honoring African American heritage and its continued vitality. “Kwanzaa” means “first fruits (of the harvest)” in Swahili.

This list is not exhaustive. If you wish to add a holiday or observance, or believe that a date is listed erroneously, please contact Alex Cabal at cabala@wit.edu