Religious Holidays

Please refer to this page for information on Religious Observance requests including absenses for religious holidays and dietary needs for religious purposes. Please note that some information has recently changed. 

In keeping with Goucher College’s commitment to “champion an inclusive community,” the Office of Religious & Spiritual Life seeks to support all students in practicing their sincerely held religious traditions or spiritual paths. The college will make every effort to accommodate religious diversity when possible, including respect for the observance or accommodation of religious holy days such as: holidays, festivals, feast days, fasts, High Holidays, or Holy Days of Obligation.

When possible, faculty and managers should make every effort to provide reasonable religious accommodations to students or student staff who request them.

Religious Holy Days 2023-2024 (PDF)

For Students

We know that many religious holy days fall during the academic year and that class schedules, sporting events, or other required activities may interfere with your ability to practice your religion fully. At times, this may mean communicating your needs to faculty, staff, or coaches in order to assure we can support your needs in order to fully practice your faith traditions. 

To receive support for religious observances, students must submit the Religious Observance Request form (blue button below) at the beginning of the semester or, if possible, no later than two weeks before the day(s) for which accommodation is needed.

Religious Observance Request Form


Goucher College prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion. Our Diversity Statement is as follows:

"We at Goucher College are dedicated to social justice, diversity, and multiculturalism as fundamental components of our mission and ethos. We champion an inclusive community, embrace and respect different perspectives, and value diversity in all its forms and intersections, including ability, age, culture, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, nationality, race, religious and spiritual belief, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Understanding that power, privilege, and other forces of inequality play a role in shaping our individual and collective experiences and identities, we are committed to productive dialogue and meaningful action in addressing our differences. We approach this ongoing work with courage, integrity, care, and respect."


Find more information on Goucher's commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice.

Read Goucher College’s Nondiscrimination Policy


For Faculty

Below you will find a list of the Religious Holy Days that may impact your calendars in the 2023-2024 academic year. Please keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list. The holidays included are those that may have a significant impact on observant students and could present a conflict with academic requirements. Please avoid scheduling programs, fieldtrips, events, exams, or major projects on these days, as some members of our community could be fasting, limiting work, or observing the holiday in other ways. Keep in mind that some observances require additional time for preparation or travel before and after the actual holy day.

An instructor would not ordinarily ask a student for proof of their religious practice or spiritual path, or whether they are sincerely held beliefs in determining religious accommodation. It is recommended to be in contact with the Office of the Chaplain regarding a student’s stated religious belief for additional guidance and support.

The Chaplain is not responsible for determining if a student should or should not be provided religious exceptions in the form of absences or other requests. Final decisions regarding attendance are at the discretion of the instructor.

Due to the varied nature of holy day requirements, and the dates for holy days fall outside of a student’s control (especially as some faiths celebrate several days in succession that might take students out of class for more dates than is permissible in a course’s attendance policy), we recommend that an instructor consider utilizing the following suggestions in the hopes of developing a plan for a student to both honor their religious traditions and be an active participant in their coursework and course requirements.

Students should be provided support for religious observances to the extent that it is reasonably practical. This could include:

  • Making available to each student absent the opportunity to make up any examination (including rescheduling an exam), required work or assignments, or altering the time of a student’s presentation
  • Allowing for extra credit to substitute for missed class work or participation
  • Visiting an instructor during their office hours for missed lecture and/or instruction
  • Provision of flexible due dates for course assignments
  • Viewing recordings of class sessions (if applicable or available)
  • Be provided make-up assignments equivalent to the material missed
  • Or, in some cases, attending class with the understanding that no participation will take place until the religious holiday has concluded.

You may contact the Office of the Chaplain at any time for clarification or guidance.


List of Holy Days for 2023-2024

Note: This is a list of holidays that will impact a large number of our Goucher Community and is not an exhaustive list of all religious holidays. 


September 2023

Rosh Hashanah

Sept. 15-17

(Work Restricted)

Yom Kippur

Sept. 24-25

(Work Restricted)

Mawlid (Birth of Muhammad)

Sept. 27-28



Sept. 29-Oct. 6

(Work Restricted 9/29-10/1)

October 2023

Shemini Atzeret

Oct. 6-7

(Work Restricted)

Simchat Torah

Oct. 7-8

(Work Restricted)

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Oct. 9


November 2023

All Saints Day

Nov. 1

(Holy Day of Obligation)


Nov. 12


December 2023


Dec. 8-15


Immaculate Conception

Dec. 8

(Holy Day of Obligation)


January 2024

Epiphany/Dia de Reyes

Jan. 6

(Services Required)


February 2024

Lunar New Year

Feb. 10


Ash Wednesday (Beginning of Lent)

Feb. 14

 (Services Required)

March 2024


Mar. 10-Apr. 9

(Fasting during daylight hours, additional prayers and services)

Ta’anit Esther

Mar. 21



Mar. 23-24


Holi (Festival of Colors)

Mar. 25


Holy Week (Western)

Mar. 24-30

(3/29 may include daytime services and fasting)

Easter (Western) (End of Lent)

Mar. 31

(Holy Day of Obligation)

April 2024

Laylat al-Qadr

Apr. 5-6


Eid al-Fitr

Apr. 10

(Services Required)

Pesach (Passover)

Apr. 22-30

(Work Restricted 4/22-4/24 and 4/28-4/30)

Holy Week (Orthodox)

Apr. 28-May 4

(5/3 may include daytime services and fasting)

May 2024

Easter (Orthodox)

May 5

(Services Required)

Yom HaShoah
(Holocaust Remembrance Day)

May 6


Ascension of Jesus

May 9

(Holy Day of Obligation)

Pentecost (Western)

May 19

(Holy Day of Obligation)

BACCALAUREATE (Goucher College)

May 23



June 2024


Jun. 11-13

(Work Restricted)

Eid al-Adha

Jun. 16-17

(Services Required)

Pentecost (Orthodox)

Jun. 24

(Services Required)