For Native Americans, September marks the season of Genuuqwiikw, the season of mountain trails and the beginning of the fall hunt for game; the Iroquois Green Corn Ceremony, a time of renewal involving dances, fasting, offerings, and readings from the code of Handsome Lake; and the Jicarilla Apache Ghost Dance in New Mexico.
Sunday, September 1
• First Parkash – Sikhism
The commemoration of the installation of the Adi Granth, the first edition of the Sikh scriptures, in the Golden Temple by Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh guru, in 1604 C.E.
Monday, September 2
• Ganesh Chaturthi – Hinduism
A festival celebrating the birth of Ganesh, the elephant-headed god and son of Shiva and Parvati who removes obstacles and brings luck.
Tuesday, September 3
• Das Laxanä Parva [Daslakshan Parva] begins – Jainism
The Festival of the Ten Virtues, celebrated over ten days by the Digambara Jains, helps believers to recall and practice forgiveness, tenderness or humility, honesty, contentment or purity, truth, self-restraint, austerities, charity, celibacy, and non-attachment.
Sunday, September 8
• ‘Izzat – Bahá’í
The beginning of the tenth month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “might.”
• Nativity of the Mother of God [Theotokos] or Birth of the Blessed Virgin – Christianity
This festival celebrates the birth of Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth. In Eastern Orthodox churches she is known by the honorific of Theotokos.
Monday, September 9
• ‘Āshūrā’ – Islam
Sunni Muslims celebrate this day as the anniversary of Noah’s departure from the Ark on Mount Ararat and the freedom of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage. Shi’a Muslims mark this date as the anniversary of the martyrdom of Husayn, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, in 680 C.E.
Thursday, September 12
• Ghambar Paitishahem – Zoroastrianism [through Monday, September 16]
This festival celebrates the creation of the earth and the summer harvest.
• Anant Chaturdashi – Jainism and Hinduism
For Hindus this day celebrates Anant, one form of Lord Vishnu. If a devout Hindu vows to honor Vishnu and keeps that vow for 14 years, it is believed that she or he will see wealth. This is also the last day of Ganesh Utsav, a 10-day Hindu celebration. Statues of Lord Ganesha are carried to bodies of water to be submerged, accompanied by devotional songs and dancing. Jains celebrate this day with special worship services and processions to the community’s main temple.
• Ethiopian New Year – Rastafari
A sacred day for Rastafarians because they consider Ethiopia to be their spiritual homeland, to which they aspire to return.
Saturday, September 14
• Elevation or Exultation of the Holy Cross – Christianity
This day recognizes the Cross as a symbol of Christ’s love for humankind and God’s victory over death. It also marks the finding of the Holy Cross by St. Helen after it had been stolen in the 7th century C.E. Orthodox churches begin their commemoration at sundown on the preceding day. In the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition, this day is known as Meskel and is marked on September 27th.
• Pitr-paksha or Mahalay Paksha – Hinduism
The beginning of a two-week period during which Hindu adherents perform shraddha rites to gratify the spirits of their deceased ancestors, including giving food or other donations as a form of charitable service.
Sunday, September 15
• Ksamavani – Jainism
A day of universal forgiveness, in which Jains ask forgiveness of others for wrongs committed during the previous year, and they also forgive those who have caused them suffering.
Monday, September 23 autumn equinox
• Shuki-sorei-sai – Shinto
A memorial service similar to the March equinox service (Shunki-sorei-sai), this day is marked by the cleaning and purification of gravesites and the reverence of ancestors as kami, or divine spirits.
• Ohigon – Buddhism
A celebration of the equinox that is of particular importance to Japanese, Korean, and Tibetan Buddhists. During this festival, the six Paramitas [virtues] are emphasized: generosity, morality, wisdom, honesty, endeavor, and patience.
• Autumn Feast – Native American spirituality
A day to honor the harvest end and the coming and going of the seasons, including prayers, songs, and the telling of tribal stories.
• Mabon [Harvest Home] – Wicca
Marking the second or continuing harvest, this festival celebrates life’s encapsulation as a seed to survive the cold winter, as well as the Harvest of the Vine, which symbolizes the divine power to transform the nectar of youth into the wine of elders’ wisdom and spiritual maturity.
Thursday, September 27
• Mashí’yyat – Bahá’í
The beginning of the eleventh month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “will.”
Saturday, September 28
• Birth of Confucius – Confucianism
The birthday of the philosopher Confucius [K’ung-tzu] in 551 B.C.E. in the Chinese state of Lu, known today as Shandong Province.
Sunday, September 29
• Rosh Hashanah begins – Judaism
Beginning at sundown is New Year’s Day for the year 5780 and the anniversary of the creation of the world. Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah with the blowing of the shofar (ram’s horn) and apples and honey, marking it as the first of the Ten Days of Awe [or Repentance].
• St. Michael and All Angels – Christianity
A celebration of the archangel Michael and all angels (from the Greek angelos, “divine messenger”) mentioned in the Bible.
• Navaratra or Navaratri Dusserha – Hinduism
The beginning of a nine-day festival of the divine mother, honoring Shiva’s wife Durga and seeking her blessings. It is also observed as a celebration recalling the days of Lord Krishna. Fasting and prayer are practiced.