Holy Days

Religious Symbols

The students of the University of Colorado celebrate diversity and spiritual expression and we at RCO want to help students, faculty and staff deepen and enrich those spiritual expressions at CU.  This page is meant to act as a resource for the faculty and staff of CU so that they can be properly equipped to handle the fine balance between the spiritual/religious observances of students and their academic commitments.

What you will find below is a list of common religious/spiritual Holy Days according to the academic calendar along with short explanations, religious/spiritual general practices of the participator, possible anticipated requests from students, and suggestions (when prudent) on how to handle the Holy Day in the classroom.

Please email rco@colorado.edu for any corrections.

Holy Day Calendar

Holy Day: Krishna Janmashtami Dates: September 5th, 2015

Practitioners: Hindu

Description: Celebrates the major deity Krishna's birth.

Celebrations: Fasting on day one along with all night chanting.

Recommended Accommodations: Please avoid major academic activities and please excuse absences.

Holy Day: Rosh Hashanah Dates: September 13th-15th, 2015 

Practitioners: Jewish

Description: Celebrating the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve.

Celebrations: Customs include sounding the shofar and eating foods rich in symbolism such as apples dipped in honey. A common greeting during this time is "Shanah Tovah" which means "Have a good year." It is also a time of cleaning up

Recommended Accommodations: Please avoid major academic activities and please excuse absences.
Holy Day: Yamin Noraim or "Days of Awe" Dates: September 15th-September 22nd, 2014

Practitioners: Jewish

Description: Beginning with Rosh Hashanah and continuing to Yom Kippur, these days are considered High Holy Days which include ten "days of repentence" as the participant prepares for the High Holy Day of Yom Kippur (see below).

Celebrations: Night time prayer to dawn daily for 10 days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur (see below). In addition, the participants are encouraged to ask for forgiveness from anyone they have wronged.

Recommended Accommodations: Please avoid major academic activities and please excuse absences.
Holy Day: Yom Kippur Dates: September 22nd-23rd, 2015

Practitioners: Jewish

Description: Considered the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, it is the day of atonement by which God judges his chosen people.

Celebrations: Acts of fasting, prayer and abstaining from physical pleasure and work.

Recommended Accommodations: Please avoid major academic activities and please excuse absences. Please note that participating students may have less energy.
Holy Day: Eid al-Adha Dates: September 22nd-26th, 2015
Practitioners: Muslim
Description: Celebrated to honor the willingness of the biblical figure Abraham to sacrifice his first-born son Ishmael as an act of submission to God's will.
Celebrations: Increased prayer, feasting and possible animal sacrifices.
Recommended Accommodations: Please excuse absences on first day. 
Holy Day: Sukkot Dates: September 27th-October 4th, 2015

Practitioners: Jewish

Description: Originally, this was an agricultural feast celebrating the harvest which included a pligrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. It also is a feast of rememberance when Israel was released from captivity from Egypt, dwelling in "booths" during their sojourn.

Celebrations: Eating in constructed booths, eating of the "fours species" (i.e. fruit from a citrun tree; a ripe, green, closed frond from a date palm tree, boughs with leaves from the myrtle tree, branches with leaves from a willow tree)

Recommended Accommodations: Please avoid major academic activities and please excuse absences.