Religious Observances

August 21, 2017

Cal Lutheran Faculty and Staff,

In a few short days we will be welcoming new and returning students to Cal Lutheran. Our students, faculty and staff come from multi-faceted gender, cultural, ethnic, philosophical and religious identities that make this a rich and diverse community of learning. We have an ongoing opportunity to enter into the religious realm of our neighbors and friends learning from them about their deeply held values.

During this time of anxiety and lament over racism and violence, in our country, world, and also within our own lives, how important it is for us to recommitment ourselves to fostering inclusion and equity within the Cal Lutheran community and work across lines of difference. One of the animating values that directs our common life is a commitment to being a community of inclusion that values individual differences and respects each person’s dignity.

I use this note as a reminder to please be aware and respectful of the traditions and celebrations that your colleagues, students, friends and neighbors may choose to honor throughout the year.

As has been the case in prior years, I ask that faculty acknowledge the spiritual needs of our students by not requiring attendance on the major holidays of their religious tradition.

I also encourage staff to speak with their supervisors about taking vacation time to observe their religious holidays that are not a part of the Cal Lutheran holiday schedule. Supervisors are asked to consider these requests with compassionate attention.

Below please find a list of a few, but not all, additional holidays which may be celebrated by members of the Cal Lutheran community during the 2017-2018 academic year. 


2017 - 2018 Observances

Eid al Adha (Islam)

Begins evening of September 1 through September 5

Rosh Hashanah (Judaism)

Begins evening of September 20 through evening of September 22

Navaratri (Hindu)

September 21 through September 29

Buddha’s Return from Heaven Day Celebration (Buddhism)

September 22

Yom Kippur (Judaism)

Begins evening of September 29 through evening of September 30

Dassera (Hindu)

September 30

Diwali (Hindu, Jain, Sikh)

Begins October 19

Birth of the Báb (Baha’i)

Begins evening of October 19 through evening of October 20

Je Tsongkhapa’s Enlightenment Day (Buddhism)

October 25

Hannukah (Judaism)

December 12 through December 20


Gantan-sai (Shinto)

January 1

Lunar New Year (Buddhist, Daoism, Confucianism)

February 16

Vaisakhi (Sikh)

April 14

Buddha’s Enlightenment Day (Buddhism)   

April 15


Shavuot (Judaism)

May 19 through May 21

Declaration of the Báb (Baha’i)

Begins evening of May 23 through evening of May 24

Ramadan (Islam)

Begins evening of May 16 through evening of June 14


Each tradition celebrates holidays and observances according to their own calendar. A resource that can assist us in learning about a variety of 2017 observances is available at the Anti-Defamation League’s Calendar of Observances. Observances held within the 2018 calendar year are available here.

I want to take this opportunity to invite the Cal Lutheran community to experience and respect the Sabbath Hour on the Thousand Oaks campus, Thursdays from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. This is a gift of time when no classes or labs are scheduled so one can pause and reflect. All offices are to be closed during this time so that students, faculty and staff may have the chance to attend University Chapel or utilize this time for mindful reflection. At Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, weekly Eucharist is held on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m.

Additionally, on the Thousand Oaks campus, the Wennes Interfaith Meditation Chapel is open every day all day for mindful reflection. Printed resources from many faith traditions are available as are meditation cushions, prayer rugs, incense, and icons. You can meet at the back gate of the Facilities building Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. for a hike up to the cross.  You can walk the path of the labyrinth located behind Samuelson Chapel for reflection or prayer.

While we are a community that is increasingly varied in its religious expressions, we remain joined together by values that celebrate our very differences. Thank you for your support in recognizing the many traditions and practices represented within this community.

Melissa Maxwell-Doherty

Vice President, Mission and Identity