2023 Holy Days Calendar - University of Houston
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2023 Holy Days Calendar


January 1 Feast of St. Basil – Orthodox Christian.
Orthodox Christian commemoration of St. Basil the Great, who wrote a Eucharist Liturgy which bears his name.
January 1 Solemnity of Mary of God – Christian.
The liturgical feast of Mary celebrated by the Catholic church.
January 1 Gantan-sai (New Years) – Shinto.
Shinto New Year festival observed with prayers for inner renewal, prosperity, and health.
January 2 Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus - Christian*.
Remembrance of the naming of Jesus as a child based on the Gospel reading of the day. Celebrated by Christians on different dates.
January 5 Guru Gobindh Singh birthday – Sikh
Anniversary of the birthday of the tenth and last human Guru of the Sikh religion.
January 5 Twelfth Night – Christian
Christian observance of the close of Christmastide and prelude to Epiphany which begins the next day.
January 6 Epiphany – Christian
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.
January 6 Feast of Theophany – Orthodox Christian (Eastern Church Observance)
Orthodox Christian Feast to recall the revelation of the Holy Trinity in the baptism of the Lord.
January 7 Nativity of Christ – Orthodox Christian
An Orthodox Christian celebration of the Nativity of Christ.
January 7 Mahayana New Year – Buddhist
Mahayana is one of three main existing branches of Buddhism.
January 8 Baptism of Lord Jesus – Christian
Christian commemoration of the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus.
January 13 Maghi – Sikh
Commemoration of a battle in which forty Sikhs died for Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
January 15 World Religion Day – Baha’i
Baha’i sponsored day dedicated to the unity and oneness of all world religions.
January 18 – January 25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - Christian
Christian observance with a prayer for the restoration of unity among the churches of the faith.
January 19 Timkat – Ethiopian Orthodox Christian
Ethiopian Orthodox Christian epiphany celebration of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.
January 22 Chinese New Year – Chinese
Festival celebrating the beginning of the new year based on the lunisolar and solar Chinese calendar. The holiday is a time to honor household and heavenly deities as well as ancestors and includes feasting together as a family.
January 25 Conversion of St. Paul – Christian
Christian observance of the experience of Paul when he was confronted by a vision of Jesus while on his way to persecute Christians and became a leading Apostle of Jesus.
January 26 Vasant Panchami – Hindu
A North Indian celebration is associated with Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning, and Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. Yellow is associated with this festival.


February 1 Imbolc (Candlemas) - Wicca/Neo Pagan
Festival commemorating the beginning of spring. It is held in the middle of the winter solstice and spring equinox.
February 2 Candlemas – Christian
Christian celebration of the presentation of young Jesus in the temple to the aged Simeon. New beginnings are recognized. Candles are lighted.
February 3 Setsubun-sai – Shinto
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.
February 5-6 Tu B’shevat – Jewish
The 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.
February 14 St. Valentine’s Day – Christian (Western Church)
Christian celebration of the love of God presented in Jesus and in the lives of Christian believers. St. Valentine was a 3rd-century martyr. Widely observed in the USA as a secular celebration of love. Note: The easter Orthodox church observes this holiday on July 6th. They also observe it on July 30th.
February 15 Parinirvana Day - Buddhist – Jain
A regional observance of the Buddha achievement of Nirvana. Note: Some celebrate this holiday on the 8th of February.
February 18 Maha Shivaratri – Hindu
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.
February 18 Lailat al Miraj – Islam
Islamic observance of Mohammed’s night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascension to heaven.
February 19 Transfiguration Sunday - Christian
Commemoration of the event in which Jesus is transfigured in front of three of his apostles and turns radiant in glory.
February 19 Meatfare – Orthodox Christian
Orthodox Christian Sunday observing the last day to eat meat before the Lenten fast.
February 21 Shrove Tuesday – Christian
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.
February 22 Ash Wednesday – Lent begins – Christian
In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day of the season of Lent, 40 days of preparation for Easter. Many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, moderation, and spiritual discipline.
February 25 – March 1 Intercalary Days – Baha’i
Baha’i insertion of days into the calendar in order to maintain their solar calendar.
February 25 – March 1 Nineteen Day Fast – Baha’i
Baha’i Fast to be observed by adult Baha’is in good health from sunrise to sundown (along with mandatory prayer).


March 6 Magha Puja Day – Buddhist
Magha Puja Day is a holy day of homage to The Buddha.
March 6-7 Purim – Jewish
This merry holiday celebrates a time when Jewish people in Persia were saved from destruction. Joyful, carnival-like celebrations and it is customary to hear the reading of the Book of Esther, eat, drink, give gifts of food and drink.
March 7 Lailat al Bara’ah – Islam
Islamic Night of Forgiveness. A night of prayer to Allah for the forgiveness of the dead. Preparation for Ramadan through intense prayer.
March 8 Holi – Hindu
A colorful and joyous festival that welcomes Spring. Referred to as the Festival of Colors, it is celebrated with people throwing colorful powder and colored water. Generally celebrated over two days.
March 8 Mid-Sha'ban-Muslim
Muslim holiday to celebrate the sunset on the 14th day. A night when the fortunes of individuals for the upcoming year are determined and Allah could forgive sinners.
March 8-10 Hola Mohalla – Sikh
A three-day festival following Holi; the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, started it as a time for military preparedness exercises. Today, mock battles are followed by music competitions and festivities.
March 17 St. Patrick’s Day – Christian
A day to celebrate the life of Saint Patrick (cultural and religious Holy Day).
March 20 Equinox-Ostara-Wiccan/Pagan
Celebration of new life; a time of renewal and rebirth.
March 21 Nowruz (New Year) – Zoroastrian
Celebrates the renewal of the world and the creation of fire. Zarathustra received his revelation on this day.
March 22-April 21 Ramadan Begins – Islam
Holiest period of the Islamic Year. Commemoration of Muhammad’s reception of the divine revelation recorded in the Qur’an. Authorities in Saudi Arabia sight the new moon of the 9th month of the Islamic calendar.
March 30 Rama Navami – Hindu
Hindu celebration of the birth of Lord Rama, the hero of the religious epic poem, The Ramayana. It involves telling stories and going to the temple.


April 2 Palm Sunday – Christian (Western Church)
Celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Note: The Eastern Church observes this holiday on April 17th.
April 4 Mahavir Jayanti – Jain
Festival honoring Lord Mahavira on the founder’s birthday. Shrines are visited and teachings are reviewed and reflected upon.
April 5* Lord’s Evening Meal – Jehovah’s Witness Christians
This was first observed by Jesus Christ on Jewish Passover in 33 C.E. It is observed only once per year.  Celebrants partake of bread and wine which are symbols of Christ’s body and blood.
April 5 – 13 Pesach  (Passover) – Jewish
Pesach, which means to pass through, commemorates the Exodus from Egypt and the Holy One passing over the Jewish homes when the first-born Egyptians were slain.
April 6 Holy (Maundy) Thursday –Christian (Western Church)
The Thursday before Easter commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the gospels. Mass or services may include the symbolic washing of the feet. Note: The Eastern Church observe this holiday on April 21st.
April 6 Hanuman Jayanti – Hindu
This event celebrates Hanuman, one of the most popular Hindu idols, the ape that helped Lord Rama fight evil. Hanuman represents the inherent and rarely used power that lies within all.
April 6 Theravadin New Year – Buddhist
Buddhists of the Theravada tradition celebrate the New Year with symbolic elements often found at the beach: sand and water.
April 9 Easter – Christian (Western Church)
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year and includes a joyous celebration of Mass or a Service of Christ’s Resurrection. Note: The Eastern Church observes this holiday on May 2nd.
April 14 Vaisakhi – Sikh
The anniversary of the birth of the Khalsa and is important for Sikhs because on this day in 1699, the clerical system was removed from Sikhism.
April 16 Easter/Pascha – Orthodox Christian
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated with a feast in the Orthodox Christian church. Recognizes Christ’s power over death and the gift of restoration, transformation, and life everlasting.
April 17 Lalat ul Qadr – Islam
Islamic Night of Destiny. First revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet Mohammed. Observed during the last ten days of Ramadan. Prayers to Allah for a good destiny.
April 17 Yom HaShoah – Jewish
Also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, this day offers remembrance for persons who died in the Shoah, actions against the Jewish people during World War II.
April 21 First day of Ridvan – Baha’i
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.
April 21-22 Eid al Fitr – Islam
Islamic event marking the close of Ramadan. It is a festival of thanksgiving to Allah for enjoying the month of Ramadan. It involves wearing the finest clothing, saying prayers, and fostering understanding with other religions.
April 29 Ninth Day of Ridvan – Baha’i
Baha’i commemoration of the twelve-day period in 1863 when Baha’u’llah declared that he was God’s messenger for this age. Note: Work is to be suspended on days 1, 9, and 12 of the festival.


May 1 Beltane – Wiccan/Pagan
Beltane celebrates the fertility and abundance of the earth.
May 2 Tweflth Day of Ridvan – Baha’i
Baha’i commemoration of the twelve-day period in 1863 when Baha’u’llah declared that he was God’s messenger for this age. Note: Work is to be suspended on days 1, 9, and 12 of the festival.
May 4 National Day of Prayer – USA – Interfaith
Day of observance established by the United States Congress to encourage Americans to pray on this day.
May 9 Lag B’Omer – Jewish
The Jewish observance of the counting of the days – the link – between Pesach and Shavout.
May 18 Ascension of Jesus – Christian (Western Church)
Christian recognition of the departure of Jesus from the earth after the resurrection. It’s perhaps the earliest observed celebration in Christianity. Observed with worship including prayers and music. Note: The Eastern Church observes this holiday on June 10th.
May 23 Declaration of the Bab- Baha’i
This day recognizes the declaration in 1844 by Ali Muhammed that he was the anticipated “Coming One” of all religions. Work is suspended on this day.
May 25 – 27 Shavuot – Jewish
The Jewish celebration of Moses’ descent from Mt. Sinai with the ten commandments. Begins the evening of June 4th. Plants and flowers are used in decorations.
May 28 Pentecost – Christian (Western Church)
Celebration of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ disciples, the birth of the church, following His resurrection. Occurs seven weeks after Easter Sunday and is celebrated with baptism liturgies and joyous services. Note: The Eastern Church observes this holiday on June 12th.
May 29 Ascension of Baha’u’llah – Baha’i
Marks the anniversary of the death of the founder of the Baha’i faith.


June 4 Visakha Puja – Buddhist
This festival celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Buddha. The day includes the preparation of sweets for the monks, sermons, and a candle-lighting ceremony.
June 4 Trinity Sunday – Christians (Western Church)
Christians honor the belief in one God with a threefold nature.
June 8 Corpus Christi – Catholic Christian
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.
June 16 Guru Arjan Dev Martyrdom – Sikh
Sikh time of remembering those who have suffered for the faith. Observed by reading the Guru Granth Sahib.
June 21 Summer Solstice – Wiccan/Pagan
One of four solar holidays where the sun shines the longest time and reaches the highest height.
June 28 Waqf al Arafa (Hajj Day) – Islam
Islamic observance day during Hajj when pilgrims pray for forgiveness and mercy. Hajj is Islamic pilgrimage rites at Mecca on 7-12th days of the month of Dhu al-Hajj.
June 28 – 29 Eid al Adha – Islam
Islamic festival of sacrifice. The day after Arafat, the most important day in Hajj ritual. A three-day festival recalling Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son in obedience to Allah.


July 3 Asalha Puja Day – Buddhist
Observance of the day when Gautama Buddha made his first public proclamation to five ascetics at Deer Park, Banares. He taught the noble eight-fold path and the four noble truths.
July 4 Independence Day – National Observance
Commemorates the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
July 9 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.
July 17–
August 16
Ramayana – Hindu
Ramayana week begins nine days before Ramanavami, the birthday of Lord Rama. The reading of this epic is done in such a way that the reading ends on the last day of the Karkidakam Month. Fasting during this period is considered highly auspicious.
July 26 Tisha B’Av – Jewish
A day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in ancient times.
July 29 – 30 Hijra (New Year) – Islam
This is the first day of the month of Muharram which marks the time in 622 C.E. when Prophet Muhammad moved from Mecca to Medina.


August 1 Lammas – Christian
Christian first fruits celebration observed by placing bread baked from the first harvest on the altar. From the Celtic Christian tradition. Note: The Southern Hemisphere observes this holiday on February 1st.
August 1 – 2 Lughnassad (Imbolc) – Wiccan/Pagan
Wicca observance of the first harvest of the year involving agricultural festivals and prosperity magic. The Christian name of Lammas is sometimes used.
August 6 Transfiguration Sunday – Christian
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.
August 8 Ashura – Islam
The Day of Ashura commemorates, for Shi’a Muslims, a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad.
August 14-15 Obon – Shinto
Japanese Buddhist festival to honor deceased ancestors. Involves lighting of bonfires, traditional meals, paper lanterns, and folk dances.
August 15 Dormition of the Mother of God – Orthodox Christian
Begins the Orthodox Christian 14 day fasting period in preparation for the celebration of the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.
August 23 Paryushan Parv – Jain
8-day festival for forgiveness and compassion.
August 30 Raksha Bandhan – Hindu
Hindu festival honoring the loving ties between brothers and sisters in a family.


September 6 Labor Day – National Observance
Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashana is the first of the High Holydays or Days of Awe; it is a time of prayer, reflection, and services.
September 7 Krishna Janmashtami – Hindu
Hindu commemoration of the birth of Krishna – the 8th incarnation of the god Vishnu who took the form of Krishna to destroy the evil king Kansa.
September 8 Nativity of Mary – Christian
This holiday, celebrated in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, celebrates the birth date of Mary, mother of Jesus.
September 14 Holy Cross Day – Christian
A Christian day of recognition for the cross on which Jesus was crucified as a central symbol of the Christian religion.
September 15 – 17 Rosh Hashanah – Jewish
Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashana is the first of the High Holydays or Days of Awe; it is a time of prayer, reflection, and services.
September 18 Ganesh Chaturthi – Hindu
A Hindu festival honoring the god of prosperity, prudence, and success (Lord Ganesha).
September 22 Fall Equinox (Mabon) – Wiccan/Pagan
Mabon, falling in September in the Northern Hemisphere, is a celebration of the second harvest during the autumn equinox. A time of gratitude and celebrating with others.
September 24 – 25 Yom Kippur – Jewish
Jewish day of atonement. This holiest day of the Jewish year is observed with strict fasting and ceremonial repentance.
September 26 – 27 Mawlid an-Nabi – Islam
Islamic commemoration of the birthday of the prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, in about 570 c.e. The prophet’s teachings are read and religious meetings are held.
September 27 Meskel – Ethiopian Orthodox Christian
Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Christian commemoration of the discovery of the True Cross by Queen Eleni (St. Helenea) in the 4th-century a.d.
September 29 – October 6 Sukkot – Jewish
Jewish Feast of Tabernacles celebrates the harvest and the protection of the people of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness dwelling in tents. One of the three Pilgrimage Festivals for which Israelites were commanded to take a pilgrimage to the Temple at Jerusalem.


October 6 – 7 Shemini Atzeret – Jewish
Jewish completion of the annual cycle of the reading of the Torah.
October 7 – 8 Simchat Tora – Jewish
Jewish day to celebrate the reading of the Law. Celebrates the conclusion of the annual cycle of Torah readings.
October 11 National Coming Out Day – LQBTQ+ national observance
A national day to celebrate coming out and promote LGBTQ individuals to live openly and honestly.
October 15 – 24 Navaratri – Hindu
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.
October 20 Birth of the Bab – Baha’i
Baha’i honoring the founder of the Babi religion, the forerunner to Baha’u’llah and the Baha’i faith.
October 24 Dasara – Hindu
Hindu celebration of victory and valor. Lord Rama is remembered as winning a victory over evil.
October 31 Reformation Day – Protestant Christian
Anniversary of tradition and its emphasis on the place of the Bible and religious freedom. Public observation is the Sunday before October 31.
October 31 All Hallow’s Eve – Christian
Christian celebration of mystery combining prayers and merriment involving children and families. It is a prelude to All Saint’s Day.


November 1 Samhain – Wiccan/Pagan
Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of the winter half of the year.
*November 1 All Saints Day – Christian and Eastern Orthodox
The Catholic and Protestant churches celebrate all believers, known and unknown, alive and dead. Note: The Eastern Church observes this holiday on a different date.
November 2 All Soul’s Day (Day of the Dead) – Catholic Christian
Christian day of prayers, remembrance, and intercession for the dead. Prayers of the faithful are seen as helping to cleanse the souls for the beatific vision of God in heaven.
November 11 Veterans Day –National Observance
Federal Holiday celebrating military veterans.
November 12 Diwali – Hindu – Jain – Sikh
The Festival of Lights commemorates the triumph of the Good over the Evil and Light over Darkness. *Note: Different branches of this religion celebrate on different days.
November 12 Birth of Baha’u’llah – Baha’i
Baha’i celebration of the birth of their founder and teacher. Baha’u’llah is the Messenger of God. His teachings create the foundation of the Baha’i practice, which is the unity of people of all races and backgrounds.
November 23 Thanksgiving – Interfaith USA
Interfaith Celebration of the created earth. Celebrated in the USA.
November 24 Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom – Sikh
Time of remembering the execution of Teg Bahadur by the Moghul Emperor in India.
November 26 Day of the Covenant – Baha’i
Baha’i celebration of the covenant given in the last will and testament of Baha’u’llah.
November 27 Guru Nanak Dev Sahib’s Birthday – Sikh
Day honoring the birth of the first Sikh teacher who lived from 1469-1539 c.e. There are sacred readings, prayers, hymns, and meals taken together.
November 30 Saint Andrew’s Day – Christian
Christian observance of the coming of Christianity to the area now known as Scotland. The martyrdom of St. Andrew is remembered as the season of advent is about to begin.


December 3 – 24 Advent – Christian
Time of preparation for observing the birth of Jesus Christ. Advent is observed with the lighting of candles, display of wreaths, and special ceremonies. Advent anticipates the coming again to earth of Jesus Christ.
December 6 Saint Nicholas Day – Christian
Celebration of the birth of Saint Nicholas, 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.
December 7 – 15 Hanukkah – Jewish
Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 B.C.E. and the subsequent liberation and “rededication” of the Temple in Jerusalem.
December 8 Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) – Buddhist
Rohatsu is the celebration of the enlightenment of the Buddha.
December 8 Immaculate Conception of Mary – Catholic Christian
The Immaculate Conception of Mary is the conception of the Virgin Mary without, according to the Roman Catholic Church, any stain of original sin.
December 12 Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Catholic Christian
Catholic Christian honoring of the legendary appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531 c.e.
December 16 – 24 Posada Navidenas – Christian
The Hispanic Christian feast of The Lodgings commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem in preparation for the birth of Jesus.
December 21 Winter Solstice – Wiccan/Pagan
Yule is the time of greatest darkness and the longest night of the year. This time is celebrated as the “return of the Sun God” when He is reborn of the Goddess.
December 24 Christmas Eve – Christian
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.
December 25 Christmas – Christian
Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. Note: Churches from different parts of the world celebrate it during January.
December 26 Zarathosht Diso – Zoroastrian
Anniversary of the death of the Prophet Zarathushtra.
December 26 - January 1 Kwanzaa – African American
A celebration of family, community, and culture.
December 28 Holy Innocents – Christian
Christian day of solemn memory of male children killed by King Herod in the attempt to destroy Jesus.