Religious Holidays and Observances

For many, religious practice and observances are an essential part of personal identity and mental well-being; for some, it is inseparable from cultural identity. UC Santa Cruz observes 14 administrative holidays. Students, faculty and staff may observe religious holidays that are not also official university holidays.

The list included on this page does not include all spiritual and faith traditions, but it does reflect a commonly accepted categorization in the United States of major religious groups. We welcome community feedback in expanding and improving upon this list.

To share your feedback, please email publicaffairs@ucsc.edu.

Accommodation Guidance 

For students, a religious accommodation may include being excused from class or lab time, receiving extensions on assignments, and rescheduling impacted quizzes, tests, or examinations. It may also include limiting or avoiding the use of technology, including virtual learning platforms. Some observances require fasting that may impact performance. Offering a refreshment or other break at sundown can serve to provide comfort and attention to observant students.

While absence from classes or exams for religious reasons does not relieve students of responsibility for completing all required coursework, unless approved by the instructor, instructors are encouraged to work with students observing religious holidays to ensure that they have an equitable opportunity to succeed in class.

Academic and administrative units are encouraged to make reasonable accommodations to help instructors support students in obtaining equitable outcomes when their religious practice conflicts with their academic schedule.

Class and assignments

Students are asked to let their instructors know ahead of time if they are going to miss class or if they need an extension on an assignment due to the celebration and observation of the religious days. It is best to do so in writing to ensure that there is documentation of the request.

Tests and examinations

It is the official policy of the University of California, Santa Cruz to accommodate, without penalty, requests for alternate test or examination times in cases where the scheduled time for the test or examination is in conflict with a student’s religious practice, unless the request cannot be reasonably accommodated.

Requests to reschedule a text or exam should be submitted directly to the instructor of record for the course as soon as possible after the test or examination is announced. 

If a student is unable to reach a satisfactory arrangement with the instructor, they should contact the department chair (or equivalent). If the department chair feels the request cannot be reasonably accommodated, they should consult with the Dean of Graduate Studies or the Dean of Undergraduate Education as appropriate.

See UCSC Final Examination Policies

Guidance for employees

Members of UC Santa Cruz’s vibrant employee community practice many religious and spiritual beliefs. Employees may take time off to observe special or religious holidays that are not included in the official UCSC administrative holiday calendar. Supervisors/managers are encouraged to work with employees to ensure they have an equitable opportunity to engage in their faith. Employees may use accrued vacation, paid time off (PTO) if applicable, or compensatory time off. Taking unpaid leave is also an option.

See University of California – Policy PPSM 2.210: Absence from Work

Fall Move-in Scheduling

UC Policy for Addressing Religious Holiday Conflicts with Residence Hall Move-in Days (2007)

Calendar of Religious Holidays 2023-24 Academic Year

Official UCSC 2022-23 Academic and Administrative Calendar

Official UCSC 2023-24 Academic and Administrative Calendar

Religious Holidays during the 2023-24 Academic Year

HOLIDAYFAITHWORK RESTRICTIONSFASTINGDATE(S)
Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev SahibSikhismYesFri, Jun 16
Holy Day of Arafah**IslamYesYesTue, Jun 27 – Wed, Jun 28
Eid-al-Adha **IslamYesThu, Jun 29
Asalha Puja/Dharma DayBuddhismMon, July 3
The Seventeenth of TammuzJudaismYesWed, July 5 – Thu, July 6
Eid al-Ghadeer **IslamFri, July 7
Martyrdom of the BábBaha’iMon, July 10
Awal MuharramIslamTue, July 18 – Wed, July 19
Tisha b’AvJudaismYesYesWed, July 26 – Thu, July 27
Krishna JanmashtamiHinduismYesFri, Aug 18 – Sat, Aug 19
Arba’een **IslamTue, Sept 5 – Wed, Sept 6
Rosh Hashanah*JudaismYesFri, Sept 15 – Sun, Sept 17
Fast of GedaliahJudaismYesMon, Sept 18
Yom Kippur*JudaismYesYesSun, Sept 24 – Mon, Sept 25
Birth of the Prophet Muhammad(Sunni) **IslamWed, Sept 27
Sukkot*JudaismYesFri, Sept 29 – Fri, Oct 8
Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah* JudaismYesFri, Oct 6 – Sun, Oct. 8
Birth of the Prophet Muhammad(Shia) **IslamThu, Oct 12
Birth of Báb ***Baha’iYesSun, Oct 15 – Mon, Oct 16
Birth of Bahá’u’lláh ***Baha’iYesMon, Oct 16 – Tue, Oct 17
Diwali**HinduismYesSun, Nov 12
Martyrdom of Guru Tegh BahadurSikhismYesFri, Nov 24
Guru Nanak GupurabSikhismYesMon, Nov 27
Hanukkah *JudaismDuring time candles are litThu, Dec 7 – Fri, Dec 15
Bodhi DayBuddhismFri, Dec 8
The Tenth of TevetJudaismYesFri, Dec 22
ChristmasChristianityMon, Dec 25 (UCSC holidays Mon, Dec 25 and Tue, Dec 26)
KwanzaaInterfaith/African AmericanTue, Dec 26 – Mon, Jan 1
Feast of EpiphanyChristianitySat, Jan 6
Eastern Orthodox ChristmasOrthodox ChristianSun, Jan 7
SankrantiHinduismMon, Jan 15
Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh SahibSikhismYesWed, Jan 17
Birthday of ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib **IslamWed, Jan 24
Tu BiShvatJudaism Wed, Jan 24 – Thu, Jan 25
Lunar New YearInterfaith/National/InternationalSat, Feb 10
Ash WednesdayChristianityWed, Feb 14
Parinirvana BuddhismThu, Feb 15
Magha PujaBuddhismSat, Feb 24
Nineteen-Day FastBaha’iYesFri, Mar 1 – Tue, Mar 19
Maha ShivaratriHinduismYesFri, Mar 8
Ramadan **IslamYesYesMon, Mar 11 – Wed, Apr 10
Ramakrishna JayantiHinduismYesTue, Mar 12
Eastern Orthodox Beginning of LentOrthodox ChristianMon, Mar 18
Naw-Rúz ***Interfaith/Baha’i/ZoroastrianYesTue, Mar 19 – Wed, Mar 20
NowruzPersian New YearYesThu, Mar 21
Fast of EstherJudaismYesSat, Mar 23
PurimJudaismSat, Mar 23 – Sun, Mar 24
Good FridayChristianityFri, Mar 29
EasterChristianitySun, Mar 31
Laylat Al-QadrIslamYesYesFri, Apr 5 – Sat, Apr 6
Eid al-FitrIslamYesYesTue, Apr 9 – Wed, Apr 10
VaisakhiSikhismYesSat, Apr 13
Ridván ***Baha’iYesSat, Apr 20- Thu, May 2
Passover (Pesach) *JudaismYesFirstborn children only. Food restrictions everyone.Mon, Apr 22 – Tue, Apr 30
Eastern Orthodox Good FridayOrthodox ChristianityFri, May 3
Eastern Orthodox EasterOrthodox ChristianitySun, May 5
Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)JudaismSun, May 5 – Mon, May 6
Ascension DayChristianityThu, May 9
Declaration of the Báb ***Baha’iWed, May 22 – Thu, May 23
Vesak BuddhismThu, May 23
Shavuot *JudaismYesTue, June 11 – Thu, June 13
Easter Orthodox Ascension DayOrthodox ChristianityThu, June 13

*Jewish holy days begin and end at sundown on the first and last days listed.

**These holidays are calculated on a lunar calendar and are approximate. Islamic holidays begin and end at sundown on the first and last days listed. 

***The Baha’i day ends and a new one begins at sunset; consequently, the day on which a holy day is observed begins at sunset the day before the Gregorian calendar dates given above.

Sources: A variety of sources were consulted to compile a list that includes religious holidays and observances in widely practiced religions.