Interfaith Calendar: Religious and Cultural Observances

Read The Spirit reports on major holidays, festivals, milestones and other observances that shape community life around the world. As we approach these special dates, our columnist Stephanie Fenton reports fresh stories about the way each milestone is marked. Please remember: DATES and OBSERVANCES VARY. Contact us if you notice an error—or want to suggest a holiday we should include in our coverage.

Here is our 2019 list …

JANUARY   2019

Ring-shaped cake with colorful candied fruits on top

A ring-shaped Epiphany cake, decorated with candied fruits. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

1—Mary, Holy Mother of God (Catholic Christian)

1—Feast of St. Basil (Orthodox Christian)

1—Gantan-sai (New Year) (Shinto)

5—Twelfth Night (Christian)

5, 13—Guru Gobind Singh birthday (Sikh)

6—Epiphany (Christian) / Feast of the Theophany (Orthodox Christian) / Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings Day)

7—Feast of the Nativity (Orthodox Christian, Julian Calendar)

8—Feast of the Holy Family (Catholic Christian)

13—Maghi (Sikh)

13—Baptism of the Lord (Christian)

14—Lohri (Hindu)

14, 15—Makara Sankranti (Hindu)

18-25—Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Christian)

19—Timkat (Ethiopian Orthodox Christian)

Black-and-white photo of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in suit with microphones, speaking outdoors

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

20—World Religion Day (Baha’i)

20—sundown, Tu B’Shvat (Jewish)

21—Mahayana New Year (Buddhist)

21—Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (U.S.)

25—Conversion of St. Paul (Christian)

27—International Holocaust Remembrance Day



1—National Wear Red Day (U.S.)

1—St. Brigid of Kildare (Celtic Christian)

2—Candlemas / Presentation of Christ in the Temple / The Presentation of the Lord (Christian)

2—Imbolc / Lughnassadh (Wicca, Pagan)

Groundhog on ground looking away from camera

Prediction of an early spring—or an extended winter—lies in the presence of the groundhog’s shadow on February 2. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

2—Groundhog Day (U.S.)

3—Sestuban-sai (beginning of spring) (Shinto)

3—Four Chaplains Sunday (Interfaith)

5—Chinese New Year

9/10—Vasant Panchami (Hindu, Jain)

10—Cheesefare Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

11—Our Lady of Lourdes (Catholic Christian)

14—St. Valentine’s Day (Christian)

15—Nirvana Day (Buddhist) (Note: Some Buddhists observe on February 8, but most observe on February 15)

17—Triodion begins (Orthodox Christian)

18—Washington’s Birthday / Presidents Day (U.S.)

25—sundown, Ayyam-i-Ha (Intercalary Days) begins (Baha’i)

MARCH   2019

1—sundown, Nineteen-Day Fast begins (Baha’i)

3—Meatfare Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

3—Transfiguration Sunday (Christian)

Priest places ashes on forehead of woman

Receiving Ashes as Christians prepare for Lent.

3—Hinamatsuri (Girls’ Day) (Japan)

4—Maha Shivaratri (Hindu)

5—Shrove Tuesday / Fat Tuesday (Christian)

6—Ash Wednesday (Christian)

8—Ramakrishna Jayanti (Hindu)

10—Cheesefare Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

10—Daylight Savings Time begins

11—Clean Monday (Great Lent begins) (Orthodox Christian)

13—Birthday of L.Ron Hubbard (Scientology)

17—St. Patrick’s Day (Christian)

17—Feast of Orthodoxy / Orthodox Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

19—St. Joseph’s Day (Christian)

Triangle-shaped pastries, filled with jam, on white plate with red cloth beneath

Haman’s pockets, a traditional treat made for Purium. Photo by ulterior epicure, courtesy of Flickr


20—Ostara / Mabon (Wicca)

20— Holika Dahan (Hindu)

20—Fast of Esther (Jewish)

20—sundown, Purim (Jewish)

20—sundown, Naw-Ruz (New Year) (Baha’i)

20/21—Holi (Hindu, Sikh, Jain)

21—International Day of Nowruz / Norooz (Zoroastrain)

21—Hola Mohalla (Sikh)

21—Magha Puja Day (Buddhist)

25—The Annunciation/ Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary / Annunciation of Our Lady / Annunciation of the Lord (Catholic Christian)

April 2019

Large marble statue of man sitting with legs crossed, hands in lap, eyes closed, meditating

A marble depiction of Lord Mahavir in Delhi, India. Jains count the years of this era as having begun with Lord Mahavir’s attainment of moksha (nirvana). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons

2—sundown, Laylat al Miraj (Islam)

6—Ugadi (Hindu)

13/14—Rama Navami (Hindu)

14—Baisakhi/Vaisakhi (Sikh)

14—Palm Sunday (Christian)

17—Mahavir Jayanti (Jain)

18—Maundy Thursday (Christian)

19—Theravadin New Year (Buddhist)

19—Lord’s Evening Meal (Jehovah’s Witness Christian)

19—Good Friday (Christian)

19—Fast of the Firstborn; sundown, Passover begins (Jewish)

19—Hanuman Jayanti (Hindu)

20—Lazarus Saturday (Orthodox Christian)

20—sundown, First Day of Ridvan (Baha’i)

20—sundown, Lailat al Bara’ah (Islam)

21—Easter Sunday (Christian)

Woman with baby, surrounded by other figures, in iconic ilustration

An Eastern Orthodox Christian depiction of the Nativity. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

21—Palm Sunday (Orthodox Christian)

22—Easter Monday (Christian)

22—Earth Day

26—Holy Friday (Orthodox Christian)

28—Pascha (Orthodox Christian)

28—sundown, Ninth Day of Ridvan (Baha’i)

MAY  2019

1—Beltane / Samhain (Wicca, Pagan)

1—sundown, Yom HaShoah (Jewish)

1—sundown, Twelfth Day of Ridvan (Baha’i)

2—National Day of Prayer (U.S.)

5—Cinco de Mayo

Mosque lit at night with people gathered

Muslims gather for a Quran reading during Ramadan in Iran. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

5—sundown, Ramadan begins (Islam)

7—sundown, Yom HaZikaron (Jewish)

7—Akshaya Tritiya (Jain)

8—sundown, Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Jewish)

12—Mother’s Day (U.S.)

19—Vesak (Buddhist)

22—sundown, Lag BaOmer (Jewish)

23—sundown, Declaration of the Bab (Baha’i)

27—Memorial Day (U.S.)

28—sundown, Ascension of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i)

30—Ascension of Jesus/the Lord (Christian) (Note: The ecclesiastical provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha and Philadelphia will observe today; all other ecclesiastical provinces of the U.S. have transferred this Solemnity to Sunday, June 2.)

31—sundown, Laylat al Qadr (Islam)

JUNE   2019

Stalk of wheat in field of wheat

Wheat—one of the ‘First Fruits’ of ancient Israel—has long been offered during Shavuot. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

1—sundown, Yom Yerushalayim (Jewish)

3—sundown, fasting ends and on the morning of June 4 Eid al Fitr prayers are held (Islam)

6—Ascension of Jesus (Orthodox Christian)

8—sundown, Shavuot (Jewish)

9—Pentecost (Western Christian)

9—St. Columba of Iona (Celtic Christian)

10—Whit Monday (Christian)

14—Flag Day

16—Guru Arjan martyrdom (Sikh)

16—Trinity Sunday (Christian)

16—Father’s Day (U.S.)

19—New Church Day (Swedenborgian Christian)


Group of people dressed in traditional clothing walking down street

A Corpus Christi procession. Photo courtesy of Max Pixel

20—Feast of Corpus Christi (Catholic Christian)


20-24—Litha/Midsummer/Yule (Wicca, Pagan, varies by hemisphere)

23—Sunday of All Saints (Orthodox Christian)

24—Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (Christian)

28—Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Catholic Christian)

JULY   2019

Time magazine cover with black-and-white photo of young Emperor Haile Selassie

When news of Haile Selassie’s coronation reached Jamaica—the Rastafari religious tradition was born. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

4—Independence Day (U.S.)

8—at sunset, Martyrdom of the Bab (Baha’i)

13—Obon (Ullambana) (Buddhist/Shinto)

16—Asalha Puja Day (Buddhist)

20—sundown, 17th of Tammuz (The Three Weeks begins) (Jewish)

23—Birthday of Haile Selassie (Rastafari)

24—Pioneer Day (Mormon Christian)

AUGUST   2019

1—Lammas (Christian)

1—Lughnassadh / Imbolc (Wicca, Pagan)

1—Fast in Honor of Holy Mother of Jesus (Orthodox Christian)

6—Transfiguration of the Lord (Orthodox Christian)

9—World Indigenous Peoples’ Day

9—Beginning of the Hajj (Islam)

Great wall of angular stones, Western Wall, with line of Jews in front, in prayer and conversation

Jews gather at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a remnant of the wall encircling the Second Temple. Tisha B’Av mourns the loss of the First and Second Temples. Photo courtesy of WIkipedia Commons

10—sundown, Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) (Jewish)

10—sundown, Waqf al Arafa (Islam)

10—sundown, Eid al-Adha (Islam)

15—Raksha Bandhan (Hindu)

15—Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Catholic Christian)

15—Dormition of the Theotokos (Orthodox Christian)

15—sundown, Tu B’Av (Jewish)

17—Birth anniversary of Marcus Garvey (Rastafari)

24—Krishna Janmashtami (Hindu)

27—Paryushan Parva (Jain)

29—Beheading of Saint John the Baptist (Christian)

30—sundown, Hijri (New Year) (Islam)


Pink elephant statue close-up with bangles and jewels and paint

Lord Ganesha. Photo by Kaushal Jangid, courtesy of Flickr

1—Ecclesiastical year begins (Orthodox Christian)

2—Ganesh Chaturthi (Hindu)

2—Labor Day (U.S.)

3—Paryushan Parva (Jain)

8—Nativity of the Virgin Mary (Christian)

8—sundown, Ashura (Islam)

11—Patriot Day (U.S.)

11—Enkutatash (Ethiopian and Eritrean New Year) (Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Christian)

12—Anant Chaturdashi (Hindu)

14—Elevation of the Holy Cross (Orthodox Christian)


23—Mabon / Ostara (Wicca, Pagan)

27—Meskel (Ethiopian Orthodox Christian)

29—Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas) (Christian)

29—Navaratri (Hindu)

29—sundown, Rosh Hashanah (Jewish)

OCTOBER   2019

Old manuscript of Jewish prayer

The Kol Nidrei prayer of Yom Kippur. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

4—Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (Blessing of the Animals) (Christian)

8—Dasara/Dussera (Hindu)

8—sundown, Yom Kippur (Jewish)

13—sundown, Sukkot (Jewish)

14—Thanksgiving (Canada)

14—Columbus Day (US, observances vary)

20—Installation of the Scriptures as Guru Granth (Sikh)

20—sundown, Shemini Atzeret (Jewish)

21—sundown, Simchat Torah (Jewish)

27—Diwali (Sikh, Hindu, Jain)

28—New Year (Jain)

28—sundown, Birth of the Bab (Baha’i)

29—sundown, Birth of Baha’u’llah (Baha’i)

31—Reformation Day (Protestant Christian)

31—All Hallows Eve


Turkey float going down street in parade

A turkey float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photo by martha_chapa95, courtesy of Flickr

1—All Saints Day (Christian)

1—Samhain/Beltane (Wicca, Pagan)

2—All Souls Day (Christian)

3—Daylight Savings Time ends

9—Kristallnacht anniversary

9—sundown, Mawlid an-Nabi (Islam)

11—Veterans Day (U.S.)

15—Nativity Fast begins, although some church calendars begin the fast on November 28 (Orthodox Christian)

23—Thanksgiving (U.S.)

24—Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur (Sikh)

24—Feast of Christ the King (Christian)

25—sundown, Day of the Covenant (Baha’i)

27—sundown, Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha (Baha’i)

28—Thanksgiving (U.S.)


Cookie in shape of bishop St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas cookies are popular across Europe. Photo by Turku Gingerbread, courtesy of Flickr

1—Advent begins (Christian)

6—Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)

8—Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) (Buddhist)

8—Immaculate Conception of Mary (Catholic Christian) (Note: In 2019, December 8 is the Second Sunday of Advent; therefore, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is transferred to Monday, December 9. The obligation to attend Mass, however, does not transfer.)

12—Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Catholic Christian)

13—St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr (Christian)

16—Posadas Navidenas begins (Hispanic Christian)


21—Yule/Litha (Wicca, Pagan)

22—sundown, Hanukkah begins (Jewish)

24—Christmas Eve (Christian)

25—Christmas (Christian)

25—Feast of the Nativity (Orthodox Christian)

Plate of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, cooked collard and other fried foods in dimly lit room

Soul food is common at the Kwanzaa table. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

26—Feast of Saint Stephen (Christian)

26—Kwanzaa begins

26—Zarathost Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra) (Zoroastrian)

28—Feast of the Holy Innocents (Childermas) (Christian)

29—Feast of the Holy Family (Catholic Christian)

31—Watch Night (Christian)

31—New Year’s Eve




We continue to update this list, month by month. As you read the list, you may discover we have missed a fascinating observance or detail. If so, please email us at

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