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In keeping with the Lutheran tradition of respecting and valuing religious expression, and in support of the University’s commitment to diversity, we are pleased to announce a broader, more inclusive policy to support the observance of religious holidays.

Beginning in January 2017, employees who wish to observe religious holidays may take up to two personal observance days. In addition, if classes are scheduled on religious holidays, including Good Friday, we encourage faculty to be understanding and accommodating to students who are observing them. These accommodations reflect our institutional values and will help to ensure that all students – regardless of their faith traditions – feel welcome here.

Here is list of major religious holidays for this academic year. Scroll down for additional information about meaning and practice associated with these holidays.


  • Eid al-Adha: Evening of Friday, September 1, 2017 - Tuesday, September 5
  • Islamic New Year: Evening of September 22
  • Ramadan: Evening of May 15 to June 14, 2018


  • Rosh Hashanah: Wednesday night, September 20, 2017, Thursday and Friday, September 21 and 22, 2017
  • Yom Kippur: Friday night, September 29 – Saturday night, September 30
  • Passover: Friday, March 30 – Saturday, April 7


  • Christmas: December 25
  • Good Friday/Easter: March 30 - April 2

More information on Muslim holidays

What is Eid al-Adha? Eid al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, is celebrated by Muslims to mark the occasion when Allah (God) appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, to demonstrate his devotion to the Almighty. Ignoring the advice of the Devil, who tried to tempt Ibrahim into disobeying God by saying he should spare Ishmael, Ibrahim was about to press ahead with the sacrifice when Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb to kill instead. Today, the story is commemorated on Eid by the sacrifice of a sheep, or sometimes a goat.

Eid al-Adha is one of the two most important festivals in the Muslim calendar.

What should I expect with my students? Expect that some Muslim students will take the day off of classes for this day of celebration. We are working to develop a celebration on campus. Muslim students may also seek out family or more substantial Islamic communities as they celebrate this day.

What is Islamic New Year? The new year is the first day of the Islamic month of Muharran.

What is Ramandan? The holy month of fasting, introspection and prayer.

More information on Jewish holidays

What are the High Holy Days? Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is one of Judaism’s holiest days. Meaning “head of the year” or “first of the year,” the festival begins on the first day of Tishrei, which falls during September or October. Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the two “High Holy Days” in the Jewish religion.

What should I expect with my students? Many students will be taking the entire day off of classes and extracurricular activities. Some students will take off from Sunday evening until Tuesday evening. Others will take off the evening of Oct. 2 and morning and afternoon on Oct. 3 and 4. Many students may also take off for Yom Kippur. Please work with students to plan out how they can do class work so they are not working on it during these holidays.

What is Passover? One of the Jewish religion’s most sacred and widely observed holidays, Passover (Hebrew: Pesach) commemorates the story of the Israelites’ departure from ancient Egypt, which appears in the Hebrew Bible’s books of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, among other texts. Jews observe the weeklong festival with a number of important rituals, including traditional Passover meals known as Seders, the removal of leavened products from their home, the substitution of matzo for bread and the retelling of the Exodus tale.

What should I expect with my students? Most Jewish students will celebrate Passover with 1-2 Seder meals with family, or join in on our Passover Seder on campus. Many Jewish students will eat special food for the entire holiday which occurs from: Monday April 10th–Tuesday April 18th. The two traditional Seder Dinners occur on Monday and Tuesday, April 10 and 11 2017. Please be sensitive in scheduling major programming on these evenings.

More information on Christian holidays

What are Good Friday and Easter? Good Friday and Easter are days Christians remember the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The entire week leading up to Easter is known as Holy Week, marking the events of the last week of Jesus’ life.

What should I expect of my students? Students maybe travelling home to celebrate the holiday with family.

What is Christmas? The date on which Christians celebrate the birth of Christ.