Resources Menu Links

Interfaith Calendar Definition of Terms

This is an alphabetic listing of Interfaith Calendar terms with brief descriptions. Corrections are invited. Send comments and suggestions to:




Christian time of preparation for observing the birth of Jesus Christ. Advent begins on the Sunday nearest November 30 and is the beginning of the Christian worship year. Advent is observed with the lighting of advent candles, display of wreaths, and special ceremonies. Advent also anticipates the coming again to earth of Jesus Christ. The season continues through December 24.


Islamic remembrance of the migration of Muhammad and followers to Medina in 622 c.e. and establishment of first Islamic state. No specific religious rituals are observed. Beginning of Islamic calendar year.

All Hallow's Eve

Christian celebration of mystery combining prayers and merriment involving children and families. It is a prelude to All Saint's Day.

All Saints Day

Christian day for honoring saints, known and unknown. In general, saints are persons with reputation for unusual lives of holiness and devotion to God or who were martyred for their faith. A Holy Day of Obligation in the Roman Catholic Church where saints have special formal status.

All Souls Day

Christian day of prayers of remembrance and intercession for the dead. Prayers of the faithful are seen as helping to cleanse the souls for the vision of God in heaven.

Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Christian celebration of Gabriel announcing to the Virgin Mary the coming birth of Jesus as the Incarnation of Creator God.

Asala ( Turning of the Wheel of Teaching)

Buddhist observance of the day when Gautama Buddha made his first public proclamation to five ascetics. He taught the middle way, the noble eight-fold path and the four noble truths.

Ascension of Abdu'l-Baha

Baha'i celebration of the rising of the spirit of Abdu'l-Baha to the heavenly dwelling.

Ascension of Baha'u'llah

Baha'i recollection of the death of Baha'u'llah, the founder. Observed by prayers and readings. Work is suspended.

Ascension of Jesus

Christian recognition of the departure of Jesus from earth after the resurrection. It is perhaps the earliest observed celebration in Christianity. It is observed with worship including prayers and music.

Ash Wednesday

Christian observance to begin the 40 day season of Lent. Ashes are marked on worshippers as a sign of penitence.

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Roman Catholic Christian observance commemorating the belief that the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven at the end of her earthly life.


An Islamic optional one day fast recognizing the Creation, Noah's departure from the ark, and the saving of Moses from Pharaoh. Prophet Muhammad's Grandson, Hussain, was martyred on this date in 683/684 AD.


Baha'i beginning of a series of special days (Intercalary Days) that balance out the calendar. It is observed by hospitality and acts of charity.


Baisakhi (Vaisakhi)

Hindu start of the New Years. Greetings that wish good life in coming days are exchanged. In Sikhi the day commemorates the founding of the Khalsa, a distinctive Sikh brotherhood.

Baptism of Jesus

Christian commemoration of the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus.

Beheading of John the Baptist

Christian remembrance of the death of John who is known for preparing the people so they would recognize Jesus as the Messiah.


Wicca celebration of the conjoining of the goddess with the energy of the god in the sacred marriage which is the basis of all creation.

Birth of the Bab

Baha'i honoring of the founder of the Babi religion, forerunner to Baha'u'llah and the Baha'i faith.

Birth of Baha'u'llah

Baha'i celebration of the birth of their founder and teacher. Refrain from work.

Birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

Sikh honoring of the birthday of their founder.

Blessing of the Animals

Christian observance of showing respect for the domestic animals that mean much to people. Observed on various dates - especially related to St. Francis.

Bodhi Day

Buddhist celebration of the time when Prince Gautama took his place under the Bodhi tree, vowing to remain there until he attained supreme enlightenment.

Bon Festival

Shinto ancestral soul's day. People visit graveyards to recall the souls of ancestors. Families enjoy special meals.

Buddha Day

Buddhists celebrate the birthday of Buddha



Christian celebration of the presentation of young Jesus in the temple to the aged Simeon. New beginnings are recognized. Candles are lighted.

Wicca (pagan) celebration of the return of the sun and lengthening of days.

Chinese New Year

Begins a fifteen Day Festival for Chinese people of all religions. Family reunions with thanksgiving and remembrance of departed relatives take place. Traditionally a religious ceremony honors Heaven and Earth.

Christ the King

Christian celebration of the preeminence of Jesus over all earthly authorities.


A season of the Christian year following Advent and preceding Epiphany.

Christmas Day

Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Observed by prayers, exchanging of gifts, and family parties.

Christmas Eve

Christian celebration of the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. It is observed with worship, candle lighting, manger scenes and festive meals.

Christmas Fast

Orthodox Christian fasting period in preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus Christ.

Circumcision of Jesus

Christian recognition of its Jewish foundations. The infant Jesus was brought to the Temple for the ritual act of circumcision.

Clean Monday

Orthodox Christian first day of Lent

Confucius' birthday

Chinese moral philosopher, K'ung Fo-tzu, born in 551 b.c.e.

Conversion/Confession of St Peter

Christian recognition of the classic words of St Peter who responded to a question by Jesus and described him as the long awaited messiah.

Conversion of St Paul

Christian observance of the experience of the Paul when he was confronted by a vision of Jesus while on his way to persecute Christians and became a leading presenter of Jesus. Observed at worship services.

Corpus Christi

Christian (Roman Catholic) celebration in recognition of the Eucharist - the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. The real presence of the body and blood of Jesus is honored.


Dalai Lama birthday

Buddhist observation with traditional dances, picnics and singing. Each Dalai Lama is seen as reincarnation of predecessor.

Dasa Laxana

Jain observance with focus on the holy texts describing the ten characteristics to which devotees aspire.


Hindu celebration of victory and valor. Lord Rama is remembered as winning a victory over evil.

Day of Hajj

Islamic observance of the revelation to Mohammed on Mt Arafat.

Day of the Covenant

Baha'i celebration of the covenant given in the last will and testament of Baha'u'llah.

Day of the Covenant

Baha'i celebration of the covenant given in the last will and testament of Baha'u'llah.

Death of Guru Nanak Dev

Sikh observance of the passing of the first great Guru.

Declaration of the Bab

Baha'i recognition of the declaration in 1844 by Ali Muhammed that he is the anticipated "Coming One" of all religions. Work is suspended.

Deep Diwali

Jain commemoration of the liberationof Mahavira from the endless cycle of birth and rebirth.


Hindu celebration - a five day festival of lights marking the end of the Hindu year. First day is observed as a holiday by many Hindu people.

Dehwa Hanina

Mandean "Little Feast" observance.


Hindu Festival of Lights symbolizing the human urge to move toward the light. Gift exchanges, fireworks and festive meals. Jain celebration of Lord Mahavira's day of final liberation.

Dharma Day

Buddha's first discourse following his enlightenment.

Dormition (falling asleep) of the Theotokos

Orthodox Christian commemoration of the death and burial of the Virgin Mary.


Hindu festival celebrating the victory of good over evil. Goddess Durga and Lord Rama prevail over the demons. Prayers for blessings and favor are offered.



The most holy of Christian sacred days. The day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his death by crucifixion. Observances include worship services beginning at sunrise, special music, feasting, and parades.

Eid ul-Adha

Islamic Feast of Sacrifice. The most important feast of Islam. It concludes the Hajj and is a three-day festival recalling Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to Allah.

Eid ul Fitr ('Id al-Fitr)

Islamic event marking the close of Ramadan. It is a festival of thanksgiving to Allah for enjoying the month of Ramadan. It involves wearing finest clothing, saying prayers, and fostering understanding with other religions.


Christian commemoration of the manifestations of the divine nature of Jesus Christ. The homage of the magi to the infant Jesus is honored by some. For others the Baptism of Jesus is the remembered event. A season of the Christian year from the close of Christmas to the beginning of Lent.

Exaltation of the Life-giving Cross

Orthodox Christian celebration of the finding by St Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, of the Cross upon which Christ was crucified.

F Fall Equinox

Wicca observance of the change of seasons.

Falling Asleep (Dormition) of the Theotokos

Orthodox Christian observance of the death, burial, resurrection and transfer to heaven of the Virgin Mary.


The Zoroastrian seasonal calendar - "fasal" means "season". These dates remain unchanged from year to year.

Fast in honor of the Holy Mother of Lord Jesus

Orthodox Christian 14 day fasting period in preparation for the celebration of the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.

Feast of the Holy Apostles

Christian - The martyrdom of Saint Peter and Saint Paul recognized.

Feast of St Basil

Orthodox Christian commemoration of St Basil t he Great, who wrote a Eucharist Liturgy which bears his name.

Feast of our Lady of Guadalupe

Catholic Christian honoring of a legendary appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531 c.e.

Feast of Mithra

Zoroastrian festival with focus on Mithra as the angel of light. From ancient times in Iran it has been a time of gratitude for life and light.

Feast of the Theophany

Orthodox Christian Feast to recall the revelation of the Holy Trinity in the baptism of the Lord.

Feast of the Visitation

Christian remembrance of Mary and cousin Elizabeth to whom the news of Jesus' coming was given.

First Parkash

The Sikh scripture, Adi Granth, is installed in the Golden Temple.

First Nations Day

Canadian First Nations (Indian, Metis and Inuit) most sacred day on the summer solstice. Communities hold feasts and invite guests.

Founding of the Church

Mormon Christian commemoration of the appearance of the angel Moroni in 1830 to Joseph Smith. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints began at this timed.

Four Chaplains Day

Commemoration of the event in World War II when four Chaplains of Jewish and Christian traditions (Catholic and Protestant) gave their life jackets to others as a troop ship sank in the Atlantic Ocean.


Ganesa Chaturthi

A Hindu festival honoring the god of prosperity, prudence and success. Images of Ganesa are worshipped.

Ganga Dussehra

Hindu honoring of the sacred river Ganga which flows from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal.


Shinto New Year festival observed with prayers for inner renewal, prosperity and health.

Ghambar Maidyozarem

Zoroastrian celebration of the creation of the sky and the harvest of winter crops.

Gion Matsuri

Shinto honoring of the sun god with parades, music and story telling.

Gita Jayanti

Hindu celebration of birthday of Srimad Bhagavad Gita and the revelation of the Gospel of Dharma to the world.

Good Friday

Christian remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus and related events.

Guru Arjan Dev Martyrdom

Sikh time of remembering those who have suffered for the faith. Observed by reading the Guru Granth Sahib.

Guru Gobind Singh's Birthday

Sikh honoring of the birth of the founder of the Khalsa who lived from
1469 -1539 c.e.

Guru Granth Sahib Installation

Sikh remembrance of the eternal installation of the holy books, Granth Sahib.

Guru Nanak's Day

Sikh honoring of the birth of the first Sikh teacher who lived from
1469 -1539 c.e. Sacred readings, prayers, hymns, meals together.

Guru Purnima

Hindu celebration of the ancient Gurus, in particular Sage Ved Vyas. A Guru is seen as a remover of darkness, a teacher. The date is the full moon of the month Asadha.

Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom

Sikh time of remembering the execution of Teg Bahadur by the Moghul Emperor in India.


Haile Selassi I birthday

Rastafari celebration honoring the founder.

Hana Matsuri

Japanese Buddhist flower festival invoking a plentiful harvest.


Jewish Festival of Lights. It commemorates the Maccabean recapture and rededication of the Jerusalem Temple in 165-164 b.c.e. Special readings and praise songs focus on liberty and freedom. The eight candle Menorah is lighted.


Islamic pilgrimage rites at Mecca on 7-12th days of month of Dhu al-Hajja. Concludes with Eid ul Adha when those not traveling to Mecca take part.

Hanuman Jayanti

Hindu celebration of Hanuman who was an embodiment of Lord Rama. Devotion and selfless work are encouraged.


The calendar system used in Islam.


Hindu spring festival dedicated to the god of pleasure. It is observed in a colorful and boisterous manner. People shower each other with colored water and smear red and green powder on each other.

Hola Mohalla

A Sikh day when mock battles are fought and martial arts are displayed.

Holy Cross Day

A Christian Day of recognition for the Cross on which Jesus was crucified as a central symbol of the Christian religion.

Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, Joseph

Catholic Christian celebration of the love between the family of Jesus.

Holy Innocents Day

Christian day of solemn memory of male children killed by King Herod in the attempt to destroy Jesus.

Holy Pascha

Orthodox Christian feast day of the resurrection of Lord Jesus Christ.

Holy Thursday

Christian observance of the final meal that Jesus observed with his disciples. It is usually observed with the Sacrament of Holy Communion or a special Mass celebrating the institution of the Eucharist.

Holy Saturday

Christian observance of the Saturday before Easter - a time meditation on the mystery of Jesus Christ.

Holy Week

Christians observe the week before Easter with solemn ceremonies based on events in Jesus' life, especially on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.


Id al-Adha (Eid al Adha)

Islamic day to remember Abraham and the almost sacrifice of Isaac.. Meat is given to the poor.

Id al-Fitr (Eid al Fitr)

A 3 day Islamic fast marking the close of Ramadan. It is a festival of thanksgiving to Allah for enjoying the month of Ramadan. It involves wearing finest clothing, saying prayers, and fostering understanding with other religions.


Wicca reflection on the power of the gods from which physical and spiritual harvest will come.

Immaculate Conception

Catholic Christian day of celebrating the belief that Mary, mother of Jesus, was preserved from original sin all of her life. A day of obligation and required church attendance.

Immaculate Heart of Mary

Catholic Christian honoring of Mary, mother of Jesus.

Installation of Scriptures as Guru Granth

Sikh scriptures are chose as perpetual guru.

Intercalary Days

Baha'i insertion of days into the calendar in order to maintain their solar calendar.


Jashan-e Sadeh (Sadeh)

Zoroastrian mid winter celebration in which a bonfire is often used to express defiance of the cold of winter.


Hindu celebration of the birthday of Krishna. Nightlong prayers are held in the Temples. A two day observance.

Jummatul Wida

Islamic last Friday of Ramadan observance.



Buddhist monks end a three month rain retreat and are given new robes. Friends and family join to celebrate harmony.

Khordad Sal

Zoroastrian remembrance of the birth of Prophet Zarathushtra.

Krishna Jayanti (Sri Krishna Janmashtami)

Hindu commemoration of the birth of Krishna - the 8th incarnation of god Vishnu who took the form of Krishna to destroy the evil king Kansa.


An African American and Pan-African holiday celebrating family, community and culture, Kwanzaa is a secular observance with some religious participation. Seven life virtues are presented. The dates are always December 26 - January 1.


Lag B'Omer

Jewish observation of the counting of the day - the link - between Pesach and Shavout.

Lailat al-Miraj & Israa'

Islamic observance of Mohammed's night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascension to heaven.

Lailat al Bara'ah (Shab-Barat)

Islamic Night of Forgiveness. A night of prayer to Allah for forgiveness of the dead. Preparation for Ramadan through intense prayer.

Lailat ul-Qadr

Islamic Night of Destiny. First revelation of Qur'an to Prophet Mohammed. Observed during the last ten days of Ramadan. Prayers to Allah for a good destiny.


Christian first fruits celebration observed by placing bread baked from first harvest on the altar. From the Celtic Christian tradition. September 1 in northern hemisphere; February 1 in southern hemisphere.

Las Posadas

Mexican Christian festival re-enacting Joseph's search for room at the Inn for Mary and the birth of Jesus.

Lazarus Saturday

Orthodox Christian celebration of the resurrection of Lazarus by Jesus, celebrated on the eve of Palm Sunday; revealing that Jesus in "the resurrection and life" of all mankind.


A Christian time of reflection and preparation for Holy Week and Easter. A forty day time of intense devotion, it is observed by fasting, frequent worship and acts of charity. The season begins on Ash Wednesday.

Lilitu's Night

Pagan Temple Zagduku honoring of dark patron, Lilitu.


Wicca celebration of the sacred marriage in which energy of the gods is poured into the service of life.

(The) Lord's Evening Meal

Jehovah's Witness (Christian) primary annual celebration taking place in the evening.

Los Posadas

Christian Traditional Latino celebration re-enacting the search by Joseph for a room at an inn for Mary to give birth to Jesus.


Wicca/neo pagan observance of first harvest of the year involving agricultural festivals and prosperity magic. The Christian name of Lammas is sometimes used.



Wicca observance of the autumnal equniox when day and night are of equal length. A harvest festival time.

Magha Puja Day

Buddhist celebration of the presentation of teachings by Lord Buddha to and assembly of holy men


Sikh commemoration of a battle in which forty Sikhs died for Guru Gobindh Singh Ji.

Mahavir Jayanti (Janma KalyŠnak)

Jain festival honoring Lord Mahavira on the founder's birthday. Shrines are visited. Teachings are reviewed and reflected upon.

Maha Shivaratri

A Hindu festival in honor of Lord Shiva and his marriage to Goddess Parvati. Ceremonies involving prayers and hymns take place mostly at night. Special foods are not used.


Zoroastrian joyous mid summer feast relating to the creation of the waters. Rituals, prayers and sharing food.

Maidyarem Gahambar

Zoroastrian winter feast involving rituals, prayers and sharing of food.

Makar Sakranti

A Hindu celebration marking turning of the sun toward the north. Observed by flying kites, feeding the poor and offering libations to the dead.

Martyrdom of the Bab

Baha'i - Ali Mohammed was executed in 1850 by Persian political and religious powers. Observed by abstaining from commerce and work.

Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev

Sikh time of remembering those who have suffered for the faith. Observed by reading the Guru Granth Sahib.

Martyrdom of John the Baptist

Christian observance to remember the beheading of John who challenged the moral life of King Herod.

Mary, Mother of God

Catholic Christian - a celebration of the mother of Jesus.

Mawlid el-Nabi

Islamic commemoration of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, in about 570 c.e. Not universally observed. The prophet's teachings are read and religious meetings are held.


Jain day of fasting, silence, and meditation on the five holy teachers.

Maundy Thursday

Christian observance of the first Lord's Supper during Holy Week.

Meatfare (Judgement) Sunday

Orthodox Christian observance, two weeks before the start of the Great Lent, preparing the faithful for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ. This is the last day for eating of meat before the Great Lent.


Wicca/neo pagan observance of the bounty of nature. Fires are lit in honor of the Sun.

Milvian Bridge Day

Christian day of solemn reflection on the relationship of the spiritual community and the powers of civil government. On Oct 28, 312 c.e., Emperor Constantine prevailed in a battle and proceeded to make Christianity the legal religion of the Roman Empire. For further information go to Milvian Bridge event.

Most Precious Blood of Jesus

Catholic Christian veneration of the Blood of Jesus and its life-giving power.


The first day of the first month of the Muslim year.


Nativity of Mary, the Mother of God

Christian celebration of birth of the Virgin Mary.

Nativity of St John the Baptist

Christian celebration of the role of John in baptizing Jesus. Continues a pre Christian Midsummer's Day celebration. Special interest for Hispanic tradition.

Navaratri Dusserha

Hindu Festival of the divine mother honoring Durga, wife of Shiva, and seeking her blessings. Also observed as a celebration recalling the days of Lord Krishna.

Nav Ruz

Zoroastrian New Years observance

Naw Ruz

Baha'i observance of the vernal equinox symbolizing spiritual growth and renewal.

New Church Day

Swedenborgian Christian (Church of the New Jerusalem) annual commemoration of the vision document, "The True Christian Religion", by Emanuel Swedenborg in 1770.

New Year (Islam)

The Islamic cycle of months begins. Formulas determine holy days based on lunar events

Nichiren Daishonin Memorial

Buddhist memory of Nichiren Daishonin and the Dai-Gohonzon, the true object of worship, for all humanity.

Nineteen Day Fast

Baha'i Fast to be observed by adult Baha'is in good health - sunrise to sundown - no food or drink

Ninth Day of Ridvan

Baha'i celebration of the arrival of Baha'u'llah at a sacred garden.

Nirvana Day

Buddhist - a regional observance of the death of the Buddha.

Noche Buena

Christian Latino Christmas Eve family celebration.

Norooz (The New Day)

Zoroastrian New Year.

Nuzulul Qur'an (Laylat al-Qadr)

Islamic Night of Power during final days of Ramadan. A night spent in worship to mark the first revelation of the Qur'an.


Obon Festival

Japanese Buddhist festival to honor deceased ancestors. Involves lighting of bonfires, traditional meals, paper lanterns, folk dances.


Shinto Grand Purification Ceremony. Observed twice yearly to obtain purification from offenses committed during each half of the year.

Orthodox Sunday

Orthodox Christian first sunday of Lent. Restoration of icons to the church is celebrated.


Wicca welcoming of spring and the goddess-as-maiden.


Paitishahem Gahambar

Zoroastrian festival commemorating the creation of the earth and the harvesting of summer crops.

Palm Sunday

Christian celebration of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The day begins Holy Week. It is observed by worship celebrations and parades using palm branches.


Buddhist observance of the entry of Buddha into the final nirvana - a state of complete detachment.

Paryushana Parva

Jain 8 day festival signifying human emergence into a new world of spiritual and moral refinement. Marked by recitations from Jain sacred writing and family exchange of cards and letters. Celebration of the natural qualities of the soul. The 8th day (Samvatsari) is most important and is focused on forgiveness.

Passion Sunday

Catholic Christian designation for the fifth Sunday of Lent.


Jewish 8-day celebration of the deliverance of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The story of the Exodus is recounted, and the ongoing struggle of all peoples for freedom from internal and external tyranny is celebrated. A special meal is a central feature.

Pavarana Day

A Buddhist festival marking the end of the Rains Retreat, primarily observed by monks in monasteries.


Christian observation of the day when the God the Holy Spirit came to the disciples in the forms of tongues of fire and rushing wind. It is a traditional day for baptism and confirmation of new Christians.

Pioneer Day

Mormon observation of arrival of first settlers at Great Salt Lake, USA, on July 24, 1847.

Posadas Perpetual (Navide–as)

Hispanic Christian feast of The Lodgings commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem in preparation for the birth of Jesus.

Precious Blood of Jesus

Christian (Roman Catholic) veneration of the life giving power of the blood of Jesus.

Presentation of Jesus

Christian remembrance of the infant Jesus being brought to the temple in Jerusalem. His Godly presence was recognized. Celebrate at worship services.

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Catholic Christian honoring of Mary who was brought to the temple at age 3 for education.


Jewish celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish minority in Persia from genocide. Charity to the poor, sharing food with friends, and vigorous merrymaking mark the observance.



Raksha Bandhan

Hindu festival honoring the loving ties between brothers and sister in a family.


9th month on Islamic calendar, devoted to the commemoration of Muhammad's reception of the divine revelation recorded in the Qur'an. The event begins when authorities in Saudi Arabia sight the new moon of the 9th month. It is the holiest period of the Islamic Year. There is strict fasting from sunrise to sunset.

Rama Krishna Jayanti (Sri Krishna Jayanati)

Hindu celebration of the birthday of Sri Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Krishna. Sweets, fruits and milk products are available in abundance.


Hindu celebration of the birth of Lord Rama, hero of the religious epic poem, The Ramayana. The day involves telling of stories and going to the temple.

Reformation Day

Protestant Christian anniversary of their tradition and its emphasis on the place of the Bible and religious freedom. On October 31, 1517 c.e. Martin Luther posted a belief statement on Wittenberg Church door.


Baha'i commemoration of the twelve day period in 1863 when Baha'u'llah declared that he was God's messenger for this age. Work is to be suspended on days 1, 9, and 12 of the festival.

Rogation Sunday

Christian occasion to ask God to bless the land for growing crops and to also ask forgiveness of sins.


Buddhist celebration of the enlightenment of Buddha.

Rosh Hashanah

Jewish New Year. A time of introspection, abstinence, prayer and penitence. The story of Abraham is read, the ram's horn is sounded, and special foods are prepared and shared.


Sacred Heart

Christian (Roman Catholic) occasion to pay homage to Christ's all encompassing love for humanity. Solemn worship is observed.

Sadeh (Jashan-e Sadeh)

Zoroastrian mid winter celebration in which a bonfire is often used to express defiance of the cold of winter.

Saint Andrew's Day

Christian observance of the coming of Christianity to the area now know as Scotland. The martyrdom of St Andrew is remembered as the season of Advent is about to begin.

Saint Benedict Day

Catholic Christian recognition of the father of the The Benedictine Order. It was the first Order of the Western Church Monastic tradition and lived by the Benedictine Rule.

Saint Blaze Day

Christian, primarily Catholic and Orthodox, honored of a 4th century saint by blessing the throats of believers.

Saint Brighid of Kildare

Christian recognition of Brighid who displayed unusual compassion. She was brought up as a Druid and became Christian.

Saint Columba of Iona

Christian recognition of Columba who began the famous community of Iona off the coast of Scotland in 563.

Saint David of Wales

Celtic Christian saint known for his wisdom and missionary work.

Saint Francis Day

Christian recognition of service to people and appreciation of the natural world, as practiced by St Francis and the Franciscan Monastic Order which he founded.

Saint George Day

Christian remembrance of a person who, in the 4th century, was a martyr and became an ideal of martial valor and selflessness. Legend of killing a dragon is connected with this patron saint of England.

Saint James Day

Christian recognition of the martyrdom of the Apostle James the Great in 44 c.e.

Saint John the Baptist

Christian remembrance of the birth of St. John the Baptist who announced the coming of Jesus.

Saint John the Evangelist

Christian remembrance of the birth of St. John the Evangelist of the early church.

Saint Joseph's Day

Christian remembrance of Joseph, husband of Mary the mother of Jesus.

Saint Luke's Day

Christian remembrance of Luke, disciple of Jesus.

Saint Matthew Day

Christian remembrance Matthew - apostle, evangelist and martyr of the first century.

Saint Michael and All Angels

Christian celebration of angels as companions who help fight off the power of evil and who are present at the hour of death.

Saint Nicolas Day

Christian celebration of the birth of Saint Nicolas, patron saint of children and role model for gift giving. Many churches named for this saint who is also the Dutch version of Santa Claus.

Saint Patrick's Day

Christian celebration of Patrick who brought Christianity to Ireland in early days of the faith.

Saint Peter Day

Catholic Christian honoring of the disciple chosen by Jesus to give leadership to the church.

Saint Philip the Apostle & St James the Less

Catholic Christian remembrance of two disciples of Jesus.

Saint Stephen's Day

Christian remembrance of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

Saint Thomas Day

Christian remembrance of the Apostle of Jesus who traveled east toward India and is now the Patron Saint of India and Pakistan.

Saint Valentine's Day

Christian celebration of the love of God presented in Jesus and in the lives of Christian believers. St Valentine was a 3rd century martyr. This day is widely observed in the USA as a secular celebration of love.


Wicca celebration of endings and beginnings and of remembering the dead. Revering of elders is also observed.


Shinto celebration of the change of seasons with the coming of spring with shouts of "Devils out, Good Fortune in". Bean throwing protects against demons.


Jewish celebration of Moses' descent from Mt Sinai with the ten commandments. Plants and flowers are used in decorations.

Shemini Azteret

Jewish completion of the annual cycle of reading of the Torah.

Shivarat (Mahasivaratri)

Hindu worship of Shiva with flowers.

Shogatsu (Gantan-sai)

Shinto New Year's Day celebration.

Shree Krishan Jayanti (Janmastami)

Hindu celebration of the physical courage and mental brilliance of Krishna, great savior and founder of dharma, the religious and moral law of Hinduism.

Shrove Tuesday

Christian carnival day on the eve of Ash Wednesday which begins Lent, a time of fasting and devotions. Pancakes are often served. It is also known as Fat Tuesday in some places.


Shinto vernal equinox observance.

Simchat Torah

Jewish day to celebrate the reading of the Law. Synagogue services involve readings, processions and blessing of the children.


Jewish worship service to begin making repentance for wrongs done the past year.

Spring Ohigon

Buddhist time of meditation on the teachings of Buddha at the equinox.

Sri Ramakrishna Jayanti

Hindu celebration of the life of Sri Ramakrishna whose life was a constant contemplation of God. He exemplified the best in seers of India.


Jewish Feast of Tabernacles which celebrates the harvest and the protection of the people of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness dwelling in tents. Temporary dwelling places have leaves for a roof so the sky can be seen. In temperate climates, night is spent in the Succoth.


Tammuz, Seventeenth of

Jewish traditional day of fasting to mourn over Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. Not universally observed.


Interfaith celebration of the created earth. Celebrated in the USA and Canada.

Theophany (Feast of...)

Orthodox Christian celebration of the Baptism of Jesus, at which time the Trinity was revealed to the world.


Zoroastrian celebration in honor of Tishtat - the Dog Star. Recognizes dogs as helpers of humanity. May involve splashing people with water.

Tishah B'av

A Jewish day of fasting in remembrance of the destruction of the Temple in
586 b.c.e. and 70 c.e.


Shinto Grand Ceremony of the Winter Solstice.

Transfiguration of Jesus

Christian commemoration of the experience on Mt Tabor when Jesus' physical appearance became brilliant as his connection with traditional Jewish holy figures became evident to the disciples.

Trinity Sunday or Day

Christians honor the belief in one God with a threefold nature.


Orthodox Christian time period leading up to Lent. The liturgy involves hymns, odes and scriptures.

Tu B'Av

Jewish celebration of romance between couples.

Tu B'shevat

Jewish celebration of the coming of spring by preparation of foods native to Israel. It is also known as "New Year for Trees" - a method for determining the age of trees for tithing purposes.

Tulsedas Jayanti

Hindu remembrance of the poet Tulsedas as one who brought spiritual uplift to the masses of people.

Twelfth Night

Christian observance of the close of Christmastide.


Ugadi (ugAdhi)

Hindu New Years Day for Telugu people and those of Andhra Pradesh. It is said that Lord Braham began the creation on this day. It is one of at least eight New Year observances in regions on India.


Buddhist celebration of the ritual of saving the deceased from torments after death.


Vaisakhi (Baisakhi)

Hindu solar new year. For Sikhs the day remembers Guru Gobind Singh and the founding of the militant fraternity of Sikhs named Kahlsa. The day is observed by temple worship, feasting and dancing.

Vasant Panchami

Hindu celebration dedicated to Saraswati, goddess of learning.

Visakha Puja

Buddhist marking of the birth, enlightenment and death (attainment of Nirvana) of Lord Buddha.

Vivekananda Jayanti

Hindu celebration of the birthday of Swami Vivekenanda who was dedicated to bridging the gap between east and west.


Waqf al Arafa

Islamic observance day during Hajj when pilgrims pray for forgiveness and mercy.

Watch Night

Christian occasion to thank God for bringing people safely through another year. Developed by the African American community in the USA at the time of Emancipation (1863).

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Christian observance with prayer for the restoration of unity between the churches of the faith.


Holiest of Buddhist holy days. It celebrates Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. It is a public holiday in some countries.


Alternate name for Pentecost, the Christian celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the community of the faithful. White robes are used in worship.

Winter Lent

Orthodox Christian season of preparation for the Nativity of Christ.

World Communion Sunday

Protestant Christian observation of the unity of Christians in celebration of the lastsupper of Jesus with the disciples.

World Religion Day

Baha'i sponsored day dedicated to the unity and oneness of all world religions.


Yom Hashoah

Jewish Holocaust Day. The day has been established to remember the six million Jews killed by the Nazis in 1933-45. It is observed by many non-Jews as well.

Yom Kippur

Jewish Day of Atonement. This holiest day of the Jewish year is observed with strict fasting and ceremonial repentance.


A Christian celebration of the light dawning in Jesus. Also a Norse pagan celebration of the winter-born king, symbolized by the rebirth of the sun. A present day Wicca event.


Zarathosht Diso

Zoroastrian anniversary of the death of Prophet Zarathushtra.