SiVIC seeks to encourage public awareness of the great mixture of religious and ethnic groups that live in our community. Because of the number and diversity of practice among groups, no resource can provide an exhaustive list of all cultural faith traditions.
Teachers, Principals, and School Administrators will not only want to check the religious calendars to avoid scheduling conflicts, but may also identify opportunities for objective, non-creedal instruction about particular cultures and religions. Employers will find that they serve as a reminder of those religious observances that may result in employee absences.
Here are some helpful online sources:
- Interfaith Calendar
Listings and definitions of religious observances for most major traditions and many others. Listed by month and relative importance of holidays; links to further information about specific traditions.
- BBC Interfaith Calendar
Listings for Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Rastafari, Shinto, Sikh, and Zoroastrian observances.
- Multifaith Calendar
Available both in print and electronic versions, the Multifaith Calendar is a source of accurate dates and descriptions of over 400 events, including observances from 14 world religions.
Notes on Observances: The standard calendar in use in the U.S. is the Gregorian calendar, a solar calendar in which the day/date begins at midnight and ends the following night immediately before midnight. Some religious or cultural calendars are lunar-based, some mark the day/date beginning at sunset, and some base celebrations
on seasons or observed events (like the new moon), rather than on strict dates. Therefore, the date noted in many calendars in use in the U.S. can be misleading
relative to those cultural/religious observances. Because lunar or event-observance based calendars are subject to the interpretation of the religious authorities in each group, their observance dates relative to the standard U.S. solar calendar are subject to
Always consult the religious authorities of any group each year for currently accepted dates of observances, and do not rely solely upon any calendar that projects in advance.
- All Baha’i, Jewish and Muslim holidays begin at sunset the previous day.
- Buddhist and Hindu holidays may be observed at different times than those indicated in the calendar. The observance date is dependent on both religious group affiliation and region. For example, Buddha’s birthday is one of the most widely celebrated of Buddhist holidays. However, there is no one date accepted by all Buddhists. Therefore, the observance of Buddha’s birthday will vary by both tradition and region.
- Christians follow a number of different calendars depending on their denomination and/or their region. Note especially the difference between the dates of the Western calendar which is followed by the Roman Catholic and many Protestant churches and many of the dates in the Eastern calendar, followed by many Orthodox groups.
- Roman Catholics observe “Eves” (or “Vigils”) of Sundays and holy days starting with sundown of the date before. The obligation to attend church can be fulfilled either on the eve or the day.
- Protestant Christian denominations do not all celebrate the same holidays. The variations are too numerous to note individually here.