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Knox College Spiritual Celebrations & Observances


Daniel Marlin

Spiritual Life

2 E. South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401


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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Knox College would like for students, faculty, and staff to be aware of a broad range of religious/spiritual holy days observed by many in our community.

Faculty should consider the manner in which holy days might impact student class attendance or their ability to complete assignments on respective due dates. Administrative and Academic Units, as well as Student Organizations, should consider holy days when scheduling department-wide or college-wide events and programming.

Students interested in holy day accommodations for class and lab assignments, attendance, or athletic practice/competition should contact faculty or coaches well in advance with such requests. 

This list is not meant to be comprehensive, but provide an overview. Also, please note that the dates for some holy days may vary from year to year. 

If you have questions, please contact the Division of Student Development at


A Druid, Pagan or Wiccan celebration of the beginning of the harvest.

Tisha B’Av
Commemorates a series of Jewish tragedies including the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem.

Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu celebration in Shravana month during full moon day or Purnima day. A day to acknowledge siblings and their relationships.

Krishna Janmashtami
A two-day festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, a widely-worshiped Hindu god. Krishna is considered to be a warrior, hero, teacher, and philosopher.

Ganesha Chaturthi
In Hinduism, this 10-day festival marks the birth of the elephant-headed deity Ganesha.


Mabon/Alban Elfed/Autumn Equinox
Druid, Pagan or Wiccan holiday also referred to as Harvest Home, the Feast of the Ingathering, and Meán Fómhair. Mabon is the second celebration of the harvest, a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth, and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months.

Rosh Hashanah
The day of judgment and remembrance; the Jewish calendar celebrates the New Year in the seventh month (Tishrei) as a day of rest and celebration ten days before Yom Kippur.


Yom Kippur
Considered the holiest day of the year in the Jewish tradition, the day is dedicated to atonement and abstinence.

A week-long Jewish celebration that begins with the building of Sukkah for sleep and meals; Sukkot is named for the huts Moses and the Israelites lived in as they wandered the desert before reaching the promised land.

Shemini Atzeret
Also known as Atzereth, this is a Jewish fall festival, which includes a memorial service for the dead and features prayers for rain in Israel.

Simchat Torah
The completion of the Jewish annual cycle of the reading of the Torah in the synagogue and the beginning of the new cycle.

Diwali/Kali Puja
The Hindu “festival of lights” is an extremely popular holiday for multiple religions throughout Southern Asia. Diwali extends over five days, and celebrates the victory of good over evil. Fireworks, oil lamps, and sweets are common, making this a favorite holiday for children. The lamps are lit to help the goddess Lakshmi find her way into people’s homes.

Birth of Bahá’u’lláh
The birthday of Bahá’u’lláh is one of the Baha’I faith’s most important figures. For Bahá’ís, the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh is a Holy Day celebrating the rebirth of the world through the love of God. Comparable to what Christmas is for Christians.

One of the four “greater Sabbats and considered by some to be the Wiccan New Year. A time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, welcome those born during the past year into the community, and reflect on past relationships, events and other significant changes in life.


All Saints’ Day
Also known as All Hallows’ Day, or Hallowmas, is a Christian celebration in honor of all the saints from Christian history.

All Souls’ Day
Known simply as “the Day of the Dead,” it’s a day for Christians to remember all the dearly departed: friends, relatives, and ancient ancestors.


Bodhi Day
Celebrates the day in which Siddhartha Gautama sat underneath the Bodhi tree and attained enlightenment. This one defining moment would become the central foundation upon which Buddhism has been built upon for the last 2,500 years. It is a day on which followers can renew their dedication to Buddhism; reaffirm themselves to enlightenment, compassion, and kindness to other living creatures.

The Jewish festival of lights lasts for eight days. Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish struggle for religious freedom. The history of the holiday involves a historic military victory in which a Jewish sect called the Maccabees defeated the Syrian Greeks. The celebration commemorates a miracle in which a sacred temple flame burned for eight days on only one day’s worth of oil.

Winter Solstice/Yule
The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world.

Christmas Eve
Also known as the Vigil of Christmas, is perceived as the culmination of the Advent season.

A Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus, has evolved into a worldwide religious and secular celebration, incorporating many pre-Christian and pagan traditions into the festivities.

An African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community, Kwanzaa brings a cultural message which speaks to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Given the profound significance Kwanzaa has for African Americans and indeed, the world African community, it is imperative that an authoritative source and site be made available to give an accurate and expansive account of its origins, concepts, values, symbols and practice.


Orthodox New Year
The Old New Year or the Orthodox New Year is an informal traditional holiday, celebrated as the start of the New Year by the Julian calendar.

Mahayana New Year
In countries where Mahayana Buddhism is the most dominant religion, January is the month of celebration.

Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year
The Chinese New Year’s Day is the new moon day of the first lunar month. According to the Chinese Lunar calendar the first lunar month is the second new moon after the lunar month contains Winter Solstice.

Tu Bishvat
An ancient and authentic Jewish “Earth Day” that educates Jews about the Jewish tradition’s advocacy of responsible stewardship of God’s creation as manifested in ecological activism.

Isra and Mi’raj
This event commemorates the Prophet Muhammad’s journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascent into heaven.


Maha Shivaratri
“The Great Night of Shiva” is the most significant event in India’s spiritual calendar. Sadhguru explains what makes this night so important, and how we can make use of it.

Imbolc is a pagan holiday celebrated from February 1 through sundown February 2. Based on a Celtic tradition, Imbolc was meant to mark the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox in Neolithic Ireland and Scotland.

Ash Wednesday
The first day of Lent, the period of forty days before Easter in which many Christians sacrifice ordinary pleasures to reflect on Christ’s sacrifice.

Magha Puja Day
Commemorates an important event in the life of the Buddha, in which the four disciples traveled to join the Buddha.


Commemorates the time when the Jews were living in Persia and were saved by the courage of a young Jewish woman called Esther.

Also known as the “Festival of Colors,” Holi can be traced to Hindu scriptures commemorating good over evil. This date is also a celebration of the colorful spring and a farewell to the dull winter.

Ostara/Alban Eilir/Spring Equinox
Regarded as a time of fertility and conception. In some Wiccan traditions, it is marked as the time when the Goddess conceives the God’s child, which will be born at the winter solstice.

Naw Ruz
The Baha’i New Year, a traditional celebration in Iran adopted as a holy day associated with Baha’i. It is a celebration of spring and new life.

Ramadan (Feb/March/April)
Ramadan is an occasion to focus on faith through fasting and prayer, and is one of the most important Muslim holidays. Ramadan is notable because the Qur’an was first revealed during this month, and Muslims see the Qur’an as the ultimate form of guidance for mankind.

Palm Sunday (March/April)
Palm Sunday is a commemoration of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as crowds lined his path with palm fronds.

Pesach/Passover (March/April)
Pesach is a week-long observance commemorating the freedom and exodus of the Israelites (Jewish slaves) from Egypt during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramses II.

Good Friday (March/April)
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter, commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ; among some sects of Christianity and in many countries marks a day of fasting.


Hanuman Jayanti
In Hinduism, Hanuman Jayanti celebrates the birth of Lord Hanuman. Hanuman was the son of Anjana, a female spirit of the clouds and waters, and Desari, the chief of the vanara, a group of powerful monkey people who lived in the forests. The wind god Vayu also played a role in the conception and birth of Hanuman.

Easter Sunday (March/April)
Easter is the annual commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Orthodox Good Friday (March/April)
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter, commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ; among some sects of Christianity and in many countries marks a day of fasting.

Orthodox Easter (March/April)
Easter is the annual commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Yom HaSho’ah (April/May)
Holocaust Remembrance Day; a day to remember the lives and names of Jewish victims and activists of the Holocaust.

Eid al-Fitr (March/April)
Eid al-Fitr means “break the fast,” and is the last day of Ramadan, marking the end of a month of fasting for muslims.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut (April/May)
Yom Ha’atzmaut is Israel’s Independence Day. It is celebrated on the fifth day of the month of Iyar, which is the Hebrew date of the formal establishment of the State of Israel, when members of the “provisional government” read and signed a Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv. The original date corresponded to May 14, 1948.

Shavuot (May/June)
In Judaism, Shavuot commemorates receipt of the Torah on Mount Sinai (two of three pilgrimage festivals).


Ascension of the Bahá’u’lláh
Bahá’u’lláh commemorates the death of the founder of the Baha’i faith; Bahaullah died on May 29, 1892.

Beltane/May Day
This pagan holiday celebrates spring at its peak, and the coming summer. Beltane also sometimes goes by the name May Day.


Eid al-Adha
Eid al Adha is a Muslim observance that commemorates both the devotion of Abraham and the survival of his son Ishmael.

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Printed on Monday, May 20, 2024