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Skidmore College
Religious and Spiritual Life

Holidays and Religious Observances

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Conscientious Religious Observance Policy

If religious observances cause absence from class, campus employment, athletic practice, and/or game days or necessitates accommodations, students should notify their faculty, coaches, or supervisors prior to the date(s) of their absence. New York State policy and Skidmore College policy mandates that students be allowed to make up academic work and/or campus employment requirements without penalty. These accommodations should not reduce the overall expectations of a course nor unduly burden the student requesting accommodation. Faculty must permit students to take a makeup examination without any penalty if they have to miss an examination due to religious observances. Similarly, faculty must permit students to submit missed assignments by an agreed upon due date, without penalty.

Although not required, the College highly recommends that students submit written notification of the pending religious observances at the start of the semester or at least one week before the date. As an option, students may use this form [here]. Distributing the written notification during the first week of classes, campus employment, or the start of the athletic season gives students, faculty, coaches, or supervisors time to prepare for the absence.

If a student, supervisor, coach, or faculty member feels the policy is being violated, they should contact the Dean of Faculty Office at 518-580-5705 (Palamountain 416), the Dean of Students Office at 518-580-5760 (Case Center 313), or Human Resources at 518-580-5800 (Barrett Center first floor).


Fall 2020     Spring 2021 

About the Calendar:  This Calendar is a work in progress. It does not contain every holiday or observance that may be important to members of our community and suggestions are welcome.  If you have questions, corrections, or additions regarding this calendar, please contact our office

Dates change every year: The dates we use for the Academic Calendar and most other aspects of life in the United States is the Georgian Calendar. Many religious observances are set by other calendars, which results in holidays "moving" from year to year. 

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly observances: This page does not include dates and times of daily, weekly, monthly, and other regular observances. We recommend checking the ORSL weekly schedule, asking for feedback from potential participants, and announcing dates and times as early as possible to accommodate these practices. We are happy to discuss potential accommodations including dietary considerations, prayer space, schedules for all-day events, alternative service times, and access to off-campus gatherings.  

fall semester 2020


  • 19-29: First 10 days of Muharram, Ashura: Muslim, traditions are very different depending on the stream of Muslim tradition, community, and other circumstances. The month of Muharram begins the evening of August 19th of the Georgian calendar. Some communities attend the mosque for special prayers and services for the first nine or ten days of the month. The tenth day, Ashura, is a day of special, but varied importance in specific Muslim communities. 
  • 19 - September 18:
    • Month of Elul: Jewish, beginning the evening of Wednesday August 19th.  observances of this month include the blowing of the Shofar and other preparations for the High Holy Days. 
  • 23: Samvastsari, Kshamavani: Jain (Shwetambar and Digambara, respectively), a day of forgiveness, sometimes observed by participating in a retreat and/or fasting. 


  • 18-20 Rosh Hashanah: Jewish, evening Friday September 18th - evening Sunday September 28th
    • Observances including attendance at multiple services beginning on the first evening
    • at Skidmore: Services are available on and off campus. On campus services are held in partnership with Temple Sinai of Saratoga Springs, a Reform congregation. 
  • 27-28 Yom Kippur: Jewish, evening Sunday September 27th - Monday September 28th
    • Observances include fasting (abstaining from food and drink) and attendance at multiple services beginning on the first evening. 
    • At Skidmore: Services are available on and off campus. On campus services are held in partnership with Temple Sinai of Saratoga Springs, a Reform congregation. 
    • Note for FALL 2020: Due to academic scheduling constraints, there will be classes on Monday, September 28th, 2020. Students are allowed to be absent from class for religious observance and should notify their professors, supervisors, and coaches ahead of time. Contact the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life with questions or concerns about relevant policies or assistance requesting accommodations. 


  • 2-9 Sukkot: Jewish, evening of Friday October 2nd - evening of Friday October 9th 
    • At Skidmore: Sukkah erected on Case Green, services and programming available on and off campus. 
  • 9-10 Shmini Atzeret: Jewish, evening of Friday October 9 - evening of Saturday October 10th 
  • 10-11 Simchat Torah: Jewish, evening of Saturday October 10th - evening of Sunday October 11th 
  • 17-26 (Sharada) Navaratri, Dussehra, Durga Puja: Hindu and related traditions, dates may vary by community. Observance also varies by community but may include fasting, feasting, and attendance at temples. 
  • 20 Birth of Guru Granth: Sikh, 


  • October 31 - Nov 2: Varied traditions
    • Samhain: Wiccan/Neo-Pagan - evening of October 31 - evening of November 1
    • Day or Days of the Dead: Primarily Mexican origin, observances vary and include indigenous and Christian beliefs and practices. 
    •  All Saints, All Souls: Christian, Western - number and name of days vary by community, some observances on the nearest Sunday. November 1st is All Saints Day and a Holy Day of Obligation for Latin Rite Catholics in the US and elsewhere. 
  • 1 Loi Krathong:  Thai cultural, various religious practices. Name varies by region,  including observances in other Southeast Asian countries and related communities. 
  • 14 (-16) Diwali: Hindu, Jain, Sikh, and related communities. Dates and duration may vary. Observance may include attendance at temples and other gatherings 
  • 6 Birth of the Báb: Bahá’í
  • 7 Birth of the Bahá’u’lláh: Bahá’í
  • 25 Day of the Covenant: Bahá’í
  • 26 Thanksgiving (US): USA cultural, some religious observance on or near the date
  • 27 Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Bahá’í
  • 30 Birth of Guru Nanak: Sikh 


  • 8 Immaculate Conception: Christian, Roman Catholic - Holy Day of Obligation for Latin Rite Catholics, US
  • 10-18 Hanukkah: Jewish, evening of Thursday, December 10th - evening of Friday, December 18th (eight nights of candle lighting are the 10th - 17th)  
  • 24-25 Christmas Eve and Christmas: Christian, Western 
    • Observances include attendance at services on the evening of the 24th and/or during the day on the 25th 
    • Holy Day of Obligation for Latin Rite Catholics, US
  • 26 - January 1 Kwanzaa: African American and some other African diaspora communities, including some religious and spiritual observances 

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spring SEMESTER 2021



  • 1 New Year's Day: Traditions vary, including some religious observances 
    • Holy Day of Obligation for Latin Rite Catholics, US
  • 6 Epiphany: Christian, Western
  • 6-7 Christmas: Christian, Eastern - evening of Monday January 6th - Tuesday January 7th 
  • 28 Tu Bishvat: Jewish, evening of Wednesday, January 28th - evening of Thursday, January 29th 


  • 12  Lunar New Year: Chinese lunisolar calendar and related calendars, including Chinese, Korean, Mongolian (Tsagaan Sar), and Vietnamese (Tết). Dates of New Year observance vary widely between communities, regions, and traditions, including between different lunar calendars. 
  • 16 Shrove Tuesday: Christian (Western), additional communities and traditions 
  • 17 Ash Wednesday: Christian (Western)
    • Observances include attendance at services
    • At Skidmore: services are available on and off campus, including an ecumenical service on campus traditionally led by Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy. 
  • February 17 - April 3 Lent: Christian (Western)
    • Observances may include abstention from certain foods and drinks, often including meat. Traditions around fasting vary and include both daily and weekly practices. 
  • 25-26 Purim: Jewish, evening of Thursday February 25th - evening of Friday February 26th  
  • 25-28 Ayyám-i-Há: Bahá’í
  • February 28 - March 19 Month of ‘Alá’: Bahá’í, evening of February 28th - evening of March 19th. 
    • Observances include fasting by abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to suset 

MARCH 2021

  • 1-2 Imbolc: Wiccan Sabbat
  • February 28 - March 19 Month of ‘Alá’: Bahá’í, evening of February 28th - evening of March 19th. 
    • Observances include fasting by abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset 
  • 11 Maha Shivaratri: Hindu
  • March 15 - May 1 Great Lent: Christian (Eastern)
    • Observances may include abstention from certain foods and drinks, often including meat. Traditions around fasting vary and include both daily and weekly practices. 
  • 19 - 20 Naw-Rúz: Bahá’í
  • 20: Spring Equinox, 5:37pm
  • 20 Ostra: Wiccan Sabbat
  • March 27 - April 4 Passover: Jewish, evening Monday March 27th - evening Sunday April 4th. 
    • Observances scheduled primarily on the first two and last two days, including seder gatherings the evenings of March 27th and 28th. 
    • Dietary practices include abstention from leavened bread and other grain products
    • at Skidmore: Traditionally a first night seder is held on campus and second night seders hosted on and off campus. Chametz-free dining options are available at the Dining Hall and for catered events.
  • 28 - 29 Holi: Hindu
  • 28 Palm Sunday: Christian, Western 

APRIL 2021

  • March 27 - April 4 Passover (see above)
  • 1 Maundy Thursday: Christian, Western 
  • 2 Good Friday: Christian, Western
    • Observances may include attendance at services and fasting. This is a Holy Day of Obligation for Latin Rite Catholics, US
  • 3 Holy Saturday: Christian, Western 
  • 4 Easter: (Christian, Western) 
    • Observances include attendance at services on Saturday evening (3rd) and/or Sunday (4th)
  • April 12 - May 12 Ramadan: anticipated days
  • April 30 - May 1 BeltaneWiccan Sabbat

MAY 2021

  • 2 Pascha/Easter: Christian, Eastern 
    • Observances include attendance at services 
  • 13 Ascension of Jesus: Christian (Western Liturgical) - Holy Day of Obligation for Roman Catholics
  • 16-18 Shavuot: Jewish, evening of Sunday May 16 - evening Tuesday May 18

JUNE 2021

  • 10 Ascension: Christian, Eastern
  • 20 Pentecost: Christian, Eastern 
  • 20 Lithia: Wiccan Sabbat