The calendar below, created by Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark, is an excellent way to keep on top of religious high holy days and festivals as they go by. It is especially useful for those in interfaith vocations who need this information on a day-to-day basis.
TIO is cooperating with another “working” religious calendar project being led by Read the Spirit. It extends what we usually mean by religious calendar to include important civic holidays. It identifies major religious holidays more than a year in advance. Most important, it features stories about what these many religious festival events are all about – what they mean, the important stories, the food associated, and how particular events are celebrated. Your own stories of religious holidays, whatever your tradition, are welcomed at the site. Check it out!
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April marks the season of Mmaal, which is when the rivers open, and of the Eagle Dances, when people of the Arizona Pueblo tribes dance to dramatize their communities’ relationship with the Sky-World. May and June mark the season of the Hopi Kachina Dances, in which Arizona Hopi celebrants represent various spirit-powers and perform ritual dances in open pueblo areas. It is also the time of Yansa’altt, the season of berry blossoms—anticipating the berry harvest in summer, which is essential for survival in winter.
Sunday, April 16
Easter Sunday or Holy Pascha – Christianity (Western and Eastern churches)
Celebrating God’s raising of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead, this day is the oldest and most central festival in the Christian year and initiates the fifty-day period culminating in Pentecost.
Yaqui Deer Dance – Native American spirituality
A ceremony that integrates ancient rites of the Yaqui people of Arizona with the Christian Easter rituals.
Tuesday, April 18
Birthdays of Gurū Angad Dev and of Gurū Tegh Bahadur – Sikhism
Gurū Angad Dev (1504 – 1552 C.E.) was the second and Gurū Tegh Bahadur (1621 – 1675 C.E.) was the ninth of the Sikh Gurūs.
Wednesday, April 19
- Eve of Ridván – Bahá’í (continues through Monday, May 1)
Commemorating the twelve days that Bahá’u’lláh spent in the garden of Ridván during his exile in Baghdad and when he proclaimed himself as the one announced by the Báb, which occurred in 1863 C.E. On the first (4/20), ninth (4/28), and twelfth days (5/1) of this festival, work is suspended. The festival begins at sundown.
Saturday, April 22
Laylat al-Isra’ wa al-Mi’rāj – Islam
The commemoration of the Prophet Muhammad’s night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, his ascent into heaven and return on the same night, and his receipt of Allah’s commandment of the five compulsory daily prayers. This celebration begins at dusk.
Monday, April 24
- Yom Ha-Shoah (Holocaust Day) – Judaism
A day of remembrance for the six million Jews who died because of Nazi atrocities during World War II. The date chosen is the closest date on the Jewish calendar to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943.
Thursday, April 27
Jamál – Bahá’í
The beginning of the third month in the Bahá’í calendar, “Jamál” means “beauty.”
Friday, April 28
- Akshaya-tritiya [Immortal Third] – Jainism
A day celebrating when Lord Adinatha or Rishabhadeva, the traditional founder of the Jain faith and the first tīrthankar (a being who helps others to cross the great ocean of worldly life and achieve liberation), broke his first year-long fast by drinking juice from a sugar cane.
Sunday, April 30
- Ghambar Maidyozarem begins – Zoroastrianism (continues through Thursday, May 4)
Celebrating the creation of sky and the harvesting of the winter crops
Monday, May 1
Beltane [also called Beltain or May Day] – Wicca
Celebration of the sacred marriage of the divine forces—and the conception of the sun-child—that are the basis of all creation.
Twelfth Day of Ridván – Bahá’í
The conclusion of the Bahá’í festival that commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s exile in Baghdad leading up to his declaration as the one announced by the Báb in 1863 C.E.
Tuesday, May 2
Birthday of Gurū Arjan Dev – Sikhism
Gurū Arjan Dev (1563 – 1606 C.E.) was the fifth of the Sikh Gurūs.
Thursday, May 4
Ghambar Maidyozarem ends– Zoroastrianism
The end of the celebration of the creation of the sky and the harvesting of the winter crops.
National Day of Prayer – Multi-faith, USA
Tuesday, May 9
- Laylat al-Bara’at or Nisf Sha‘bān – Islam
According to Muslim tradition, Allah approaches the earth on this night (the middle day of the eighth month in the Islamic calendar) to call humanity to repentance and grant forgiveness of sins.
Wednesday, May 10
- Visakha Puja [Buddha Day] – Buddhism
Celebrated by Theravdin Buddhists on the full moon of the sixth lunar month, this is a triple commemoration of the historical Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and death and entrance into nirvana.
Sunday, May 14
Lag B’Omer – Judaism
The 33rd day in the counting of the period between Pesach [Passover] and Shavuot [the giving of the Law]; the festival begins at sundown.
Monday, May 15
Restoration of the Aaronic priesthood – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Marking the restoration of this order by John the Baptist and conferred upon the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery on this date in 1829 C.E.
Tuesday, May 16
‘Azamat – Bahá’í
The beginning of the fourth month of the Bahá’í year, ‘Azamat means “grandeur.”
Tuesday, May 23
Declaration of the Báb – Bahá’í
The celebration of the day in 1844 C.E. when he announced his identity as the Gate or herald of the new age in Shiraz, Persia (modern-day Iran).
Birthday of Gurū Amar Das – Sikhism
Gurū Amar Das (1479 – 1574 C.E.) was the third of the Sikh Gurūs.
Thursday, May 25
- Ascension Day – Christianity (Western and Eastern churches)
The anniversary of Jesus’ ascension heaven, celebrated forty days after Easter. In the Roman Catholic Church, this day is celebrated on Sunday, May 28th.
Friday, May 26
Ramadān begins – Islam
A holy month of fasting and prayer, in which all adult and physically competent Muslims abstain from food, water, and sexual relations from dawn to sunset. Ramadān ends on June 24th.
Sunday, May 28
Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh – Bahá’í
The anniversary of the death of the founder of the Bahá’í faith in Palestine in 1892 C.E. Adherents suspend work on this day.
Monday, May 29
- Memorial Day
Tuesday, May 30
Shavuot [Feast of Weeks] – Judaism
A two-day festival, beginning at sundown, that celebrates the harvest of first fruits and the giving of the Law (or Torah) to Moses at Mt. Sinai. The name Shavuot derives from the Hebrew words for “seven” and “week,” because it marks seven weeks following Pesach or Passover.
If you want more information about any of these holy days, please contact
UCSF Medical Center Spiritual Care Services at 415-353-1941 (Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark)
Our thanks to the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, the Multifaith Action Society of British Columbia (Canada), BBC’s Religion Website, Peel Schools District Board (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), the Arizona State University Provost’s Office, the NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad, the Anti-Defamation League, Project Interfaith (Omaha, NE), the University of Victoria Faculty of Law (British Columbia, Canada), the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education, and www.interfaithcalendar.org
To subscribe to this calendar and sync it with your Google, Outlook, or iCal calendars, visit ucsfspiritcare.org and select the “Resources” menu.