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Guidance on Religious Holidays

Denver Public Schools is committed to upholding an inclusive culture where students and team members can show up as their authentic and best selves. We depend on our Shared Core Values to help us build upon this culture and hold us accountable for doing so.

As expressed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, everyone in the United States has the right to practice their own religion, or no religion at all. As a public school district, we hold a shared commitment of respect for individual religious beliefs and cultural practices expressed in the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty. This means that we will neither promote nor inhibit religious belief or nonbelief.

We encourage all leaders and team members who are scheduling activities and meetings to ensure that they are familiar with the nature and needs of the religious groups in their school and in our community. The list below has been created to support you in planning your calendar, activities and meetings.

This list is limited to religious holidays that may affect a student’s, team member’s or community member’s ability to participate in school or district activities, and is not intended to be an inclusive list of all religious and cultural observances. We have noted when an observance has been designated a non-work day by the community that celebrates it. If you have questions or would like to request an addition to this list, please email dpsequity@dpsk12.org. 

PLEASE NOTE: Symbols have been added to some observances for further context:

Holiday/Observance Religion/Faith 2019-20 SY Date(s) 2020-21 SY Date(s)
Eid al-Adha  **

Festival of Sacrifice. The day of Arafat marks the end of Hajj.

 Islam  Aug. 11–12, 2019 Jul. 30-31, 2020
Krishna Janmashtami 

Commemoration of the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of god Vishnu.

Hindu Aug. 23, 2019 Aug. 11, 2020
Rosh Hashanah #

Jewish New Year. A time of introspection, abstinence, and prayer.

 Jewish  Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2019 Sept. 18-20, 2020
10th of Muharram**

The date of the Emigration of Muhammad and his followers to Medina in 622 CE Islamic New Year.

 Islam Sept. 10, 2019 Aug. 20, 2020
Fast of Gedaliah

The Fast of Gedaliah is a fast day to commemorate the assassination of Gedaliah, the official charged with overseeing the Jewish population in Judah.

 Jewish  October 2, 2019 Sept. 21, 2020
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) # 

The most solemn and holy day of the year in which Jews spend a day in fasting and prayer.

Jewish Oct. 8–9, 2019 Sept. 27-28, 2020
Ashura
There is an optional fast this day. The Shi’a observance is based on the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Husayn, martyred on this day in 683/684 CE after the battle of Karbala. The Sunni observance is related to numerous Biblical and Qur’anic events.
Islam
Sept. 9–10, 2019 Aug. 28-29, 2020
Mabon/ Autumn Equinox**

Mabon is the arrival of autumn and with it the reaping of the harvest. It celebrates the abundance, the fruit of the labor put in throughout the year and signals preparations for the winter soon to come.

Pagan-Wiccan Sept. 21–24, 2019 Sept. 21-24, 2020
Sukkot # 

Also known as the Feast of Tabernacles – celebrates the harvest and the protection of the people of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness dwelling in tents.

Jewish  Oct. 13–20, 2019 Oct. 2-9, 2020
Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah # 

Completion of the annual cycle of reading of the Torah.

Jewish  Oct. 20–22, 2019 Oct. 9-10, 2020
Birthday of the Bab # 

Baha’i observance of the anniversary of the birth in 1819 of Siyyid, “the Bab,” the prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, in Shiraz, Persia.

Bahá’í  Oct. 29, 2019 Oct. 18, 2020
Samhain**

Samhain is one of the most important festivals of the year. It is considered a very powerful time and is great to ask for guidance, help, clearing of negativity and starting of the new year in a positive light.

Pagan-Wiccan Oct. 31–Nov. 1, 2019 Oct. 31–Nov. 1, 2020
Diwali** 

Festival of lights symbolizing the human urges to move toward the light.

 Hindu Oct. 27, 2019 Nov. 14, 2020
Bandi Chhor Divas

Observed as a “Day of Liberation” commemorating the release from prison of Guru Hargobind circa 1612.

Sikh  Oct. 27, 2019 Nov. 14, 2020
Birthday of Bahá’u’lláh # 

Anniversary of the birth in 1817 of Baha`u`llah, prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, in Nur, Persia.

Bahá’í  Oct. 29-30, 2019 Oct. 19-20, 2020
Mawlid-al-Nabi / Birth of the Prophet Muhammad** 

Commemoration of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, about 570 CE. Not universally observed.

Islam  Nov. 9–10, 2019 Oct. 28-29, 2020
Birth of Guru Nanak 

Celebrates the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, circa 1469, observed on the full moon day of November.

Sikh Nov. 12, 2019 Nov. 30, 2020
Ascension of Abdul Baha 

The Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha´ commemorates the death on Nov. 28, 1921—and, retrospectively, the life—of ‘Abdu’l-Baha´

Baha’i  Nov. 27-28, 2019 Nov. 27-28, 2020
Hanukkah (Chanukah)

A Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. It is also known as the Festival of Lights.

Jewish Dec. 22-30, 2019 Dec. 10-18, 2020
Yule / Winter Equinox

Yule is held during the winter equinox when days become shorter. It is the time in which last preparations are made for the coming cold months. It is also a time to remind oneself of the warmth and life-giving source of the Sun or fire.

Pagan-Wiccan Dec 22–Jan. 2, 2020 Dec. 21-Jan. 1, 2021
Christmas #

Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Observed by prayers, exchanging of gifts and family parties (per Gregorian Calendar).

Christian  Dec. 25, 2019 Dec. 25, 2020
Kwanzaa

The weeklong celebration honoring African heritage in African-American culture.

Interfaith/African-American  Dec. 26–Jan. 1, 2020 Dec. 26-Jan 1, 2021
Feast of the Epiphany

Celebrates the revelation of God incarnates as Jesus Christ.

Christian  Jan. 6, 2020 Jan. 6, 2021
 East Orthodox Christmas

Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Observed by prayers, exchanging of gifts, and family parties (per Julian Calendar).

Orthodox Christian  Jan. 7, 2020 Jan. 7, 2021
Lunar New Year & Tet 

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.

Confucianism/

Taoism/

Buddhism 

Jan. 25, 2020 Feb. 12, 2021
Imbolc / The Promise of Spring

A joyous occasion, it symbolized the promise of the return of spring. This is a time in which both crops and animals are blessed to ensure an abundant year, that all would be healthy and new life would spring forth soon.

Pagan-Wiccan Feb. 1, 2020 Feb. 1, 2021
Hola Mohalla

Begins a three-day Sikh festival that takes place on the first of the lunar month of Chet.

Sikh Mar. 10-12, 2020 Mar. 29-31, 2021
Ash Wednesday / Lent

Lent begins in Western Christianity.

Christian Feb. 26, 2020 Feb. 17, 2021
East Orthodox Beginning of Lent

First day of the forty days of the Great Lent period, beginning on Clean Monday followed by distinct periods of fasting, Lazarus Saturday, and Palm Sunday, culminating in Holy Week.

Orthodox Christian  Mar. 2, 2020 Mar. 15, 2021
Fast of Esther (Purim) 

Commemorating the three-day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Purim.

Jewish Mar. 9–10, 2020 Feb. 25-26, 2021
Nowruz #

Celebrating the first day of the new year, this is one of the nine Bahá’í holy days on which work is to be suspended. It is generally observed with a meeting for prayer and celebration.

Bahá’í / Zoroastrianism  Mar. 20, 2020 Mar. 21, 2021
Ostara / Spring Equinox

Celebrating the arrival of spring and new life.

Pagan-Wiccan March 19-22, 2020 March 19-22, 2021
Baisakhi (Vaisakhi) 

Birth of Khalsa brotherhood, the Sikh New Year festival commemorating the year Sikhism was born as a collective faith.

Sikh Apr. 13, 2020 Apr. 14, 2021
Good Friday 

Commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary.

Christian  Apr. 10, 2020 Apr. 2, 2021
Fast of Bechorot

Commemorates the miracle which spared the firstborn Jewish sons from the plague.

Jewish  Apr. 8, 2020 Mar. 25, 2021
Passover (Pesach) #

Celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery to freedom.

Jewish  Apr. 8–16, 2020 Mar. 27-Apr. 4, 2021
Easter

The holiest of Christian Sacred days. The day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his death by crucifixion.

Christian  Apr. 12, 2020 Apr. 4, 2021
Ridvan #

Commemorate the twelve days when Baha`u`llah, the prophet-founder, resided in a garden called Ridvan (Paradise) and publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s messenger for this age. The first, ninth, and twelfth days are celebrated as holy days when Baha’i I’s suspend work.

Bahá’í  Apr. 19–May 1, 2020 Apr. 19-May 1, 2021
Eastern Orthodox Good Friday

Christian remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus and related events.

Orthodox Christian  Apr. 17, 2020 Apr. 30, 2021
Eastern Orthodox Easter

The holiest of Christian Sacred days. The day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his death by crucifixion.

Orthodox Christian  Apr. 19, 2020 May 2, 2021
9th Day of Ridvan #

Symbolizes the reunification and strength of the bond of family and by extension the unity of the entire human family.

Bahá’í  Apr. 27-28, 2020 Apr. 27-28, 2021
Beltane / Festival of Fire, Mayday

Beltane is the halfway point between Spring and Summer. It is a time to give gratitude and thanks to the fertility of spring, festivities start on the eve of May 1st.

Pagan-Wiccan  May 1, 2020 May 1, 2021
12th Day of Ridvan #

Commemorates the eve of Baha’u’llah’s departure from Baghdad.

Bahá’í  Apr. 30-May, 2020 Apr. 30-May 1, 2021
Ramadan

The holiest period of the Islamic Year commemorating the Prophet Muhammad’s reception of the divine revelation the Qur`an. A month of introspection, prayer, and devoted fasting from dawn to sunset. Intentional consumption of drink, food, or any injection which has nutritional value is forbidden during fasting hours.

Islam Apr. 23 –May 23, 2020 Apr. 12-13, 2021
Laylat Al-Qadr**

This is the Night of Destiny or Night of Power. It marks the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad.

 Islam May 19, 2020 May 8, 2021
Vesak (Visakha Puja) – Buddha Day # **

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

Buddhism  May 7–8, 2020 Apr. 8, 2021
Declaration of the Báb** 

Commemoration of May 23, 1844, when the Bab, the prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, announced he was the herald of a new messenger of God.

Bahá’í  May 22–23, 2020 May 22–23, 2021
Ascension of Baha’u’lláh** 

Observance of the anniversary of the death in exile of Baha`u`llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith.

Bahá’í  May 27–28, 2020 May 27–28, 2021
Ascension Day

The fortieth day of Easter commemorating Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven.

Christian  May 21, 2020 May 13, 2021
Eid al-Fitr  (date can vary by a day) 

Marks the end of Ramadan. It is a festival of thanksgiving to God.

Islam May 23–24, 2020 May 14, 2021
Shavuot #

One of the three pilgrimage holidays commemorating the giving of the Torah (5 Books of Moses).

Jewish    May 28–30, 2020 May 16-18, 2021
Pentecost 

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.

Christianity

(RC, P, O)

May 31, 2020 May 23, 2021
Litha / Summer Solstice

Litha is a celebration of the longest day of the year.

Pagan-Wiccan  June 20, 2020 June 21, 2021
Lughnasadh / First Harvest

The midway point between summer and autumn, it is the first harvest of grains and fruits. It celebrates and gives gratitude to the new harvest of breads and fresh fruits.

Pagan-Wiccan  August 1, 2020  August 1, 2021

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