Religious Holy Days

June 2018

For Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, June marks Miso’o, the season of Sockeye salmon, which is the most important food source for the coming year.  In Arizona, this is also the season of the Hopi Kachina Dances, in which long lines of dancers (representing various spirit-powers) perform in the open plazas of Hopi pueblos.


Sunday, June 3
Corpus Christi – Christianity [Roman Catholic]
Named for the Latin phrase “Body of Christ,” this festival is a time when Catholic Christians express their faith in Christ’s real presence in the elements of Holy Communion.

Monday, June 4
All Saints – Christianity (Eastern churches)
Celebrating the lives of those saints, known and unknown, whose prayers and exemplary lives have a positive influence on the lives and Christian faith of others.  Western Christian churches celebrate this festival on November 1st.

Tuesday, June 5
Núr – Bahá’í 
The beginning of the fifth month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “light.”

Friday, June 8
Jum’at al-Wadā [Farewell Friday] – Islam
As the last Friday in the month of Ramadān and the Friday immediately preceding Eid al-Fitr, this day is not a festival day, but it is still considered special by many Muslims.
Sacred Heart  – Christianity [Roman Catholic]
A devotional feast during which Catholic Christians reflect on God’s compassionate love, symbolized by Christ’s heart.

Saturday, June 9 
Laylat al-Qadr [Night of Power or Destiny] – Islam
A festival commemorating the first revelation of the Qur’ān to the Prophet Muhammad in 610 C.E., at the age of forty.  Often fixed as the 27th day of the Islamic month of Ramadān, Sunnis may also observe it on the 21st, 23rd, 25th or 29th. Shi’ites observe it on the 19th, 21st or 23rd of Ramadān. The festival begins at sundown.   

Thursday, June 14
Eid al-Fitr – Islam
This is the Breaking of the Fast that celebrates the end of the month of Ramadān.  Usually lasting three days, this festival begins with communal prayer and may also include charitable acts, visiting family and friends, preparing special foods, dressing in new clothes, and giving gifts.

Saturday, June 16
Martyrdom of Gurū Arjan Dev Ji – Sikhism [Nanakshahi tradition]
The first Sikh martyr and the fifth gurū, Arjan (1563 – 1606 C.E.) built the Harimandir (Temple of God) in the town of Amritsar with door facing all four directions, in order to emphasize that the Sikh way was open to all regardless of their socio-economic status.  He also compiled the Sikh scriptures known as the Gurū Granth Sahib.   

Monday, June 18
Anniversary of Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö – Buddhism [Tibetan tradition]
A celebration of the Tibetan lama (ca. 1893 – 1959) whose mastery of several lineages and insights have had a profound effect on numerous currently teaching lamas.

Tuesday, June 19
Enlightenment of Kwan Yin Bodhisattva – Buddhism [Mahāyāna Pure Land tradition]
A celebration of the enlightenment of the bodhisattva of compassion—an enlightened being who vows to attain final, supreme enlightenment in order to save all sentient beings from suffering.  In the Pure Land tradition, this bodhisattva frequently accompanies Amida Buddha in icons and other depictions.
New Church Day – Swedenborgian Christianity (Church of the New Jerusalem) 
Annual commemoration of the visionary document The True Christian Religion, written by Emanuel Swedenborg in 1770 C.E.

Thursday, June 21  Summer solstice
Summer Feast – Native American spirituality
A day to honor the coming and going of the seasons, celebrated with songs, prayers, and story-telling.

Litha [Midsummer’s Eve] – Wicca
A celebration of the consummation of the sacred marriage, in which the male divine energy is poured out in the service of life.

Sunday, June 24
Rahmat – Bahá’í
The beginning of the sixth month of the Bahá’í year, Rahmat means “mercy.”

Wednesday, June 27
Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Joseph Smith – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Recalling the assassination of the prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum while they were incarcerated in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844 C.E.

Friday, June 29
Ghambar Maidyoshem begins – Zoroastrianism
A celebration of the creation of water, the sowing of the summer crops, and the harvesting of grain.  This festival continues through Tuesday, July 3rd.

Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul – Christianity (both Western and Eastern churches)
Celebrates the two apostles who preached the Christian gospel in Rome.  In Eastern churches this festival begins at sundown.
July 2018

For Native Americans, July marks the season of the Mountain Spirit Dances for the Mescalero Apache people of New Mexico; the Hopi Snake Dances, marking a sixteen-day ritual of purification; the Green Corn Ceremony or Stomp Dance, performed by Seminole and other Oklahoma tribes as a time of renewal and purification; and the Sun Dance, observed by Plains peoples (Arapaho, Cheyenne, Shoshone, Arikara, Crow, Sioux, and others) as a time of penitence and sacrifice.  It is also known as Xmaay, the season of big berries when summer fruit is ripe for harvesting.


Sunday, July 1
Jashn-e Tirgan – Zoroastrianism
The festival of water.

Tuesday, July 3
Ghambar Maidyoshem ends – Zoroastrianism
Ending the celebration of the creation of water, the sowing of summer crops, and the harvesting of grain.  

Thursday, July 5
Birthday of Gurū Hargobind Sahib Ji – Sikhism
Celebrating a renowned martial artist who was named the 6th of the 11 Sikh Gurūs (1595 – 1644 C.E.).

Friday, July 6
Birthday of the XIVth Dalai Lama – Tibetan Buddhism
Celebrating the 83rd birthday of His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, born in 1935 C.E. in northeastern Tibet.  The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan government in exile and is revered as the fourteenth in a succession of manifestations of Avalokiteśvara, the enlightened being (bodhisattva) who embodies compassion in Buddhist practice.

Tuesday, July 10
Martyrdom of the Báb – Bahá’í 
Anniversary of the martyrdom of the Báb, the forerunner of Báhá’u’lláh, in Persia in 1850 C.E.  The Báb and 20,000 of his followers were killed because of their religious convictions throughout the mid-1800’s.  Work is suspended on this day.

Wednesday, July 11
Feast Day of St. Benedict – Catholic Christianity  
Celebrating the life of St. Benedict of Nursia (480 – 547 C.E.), the founder of Western Christian monasticism whose Rule is still widely read and practiced even now.

Friday, July 13
Kalimát – Bahá’í 
The beginning of the seventh month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “words.”

Ullambana – Buddhism
A day when Buddhists make offerings to the Triple Gem—the Buddha, the Dharma [teachings], and the Sangha [monastic community]—on behalf of their ancestors.   

Obon – Buddhism
A Japanese festival to honor deceased ancestors, usually involving the lighting of bonfires, traditional meals, paper lanterns, and folk dancing.  Locally this festival is celebrated at various times in July and August.

Saturday, July 14
Feast Day of St. Kateri Tekakwitha – Catholic Christianity and Native American spirituality
Celebrating the life and ministry of Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 – April 17, 1680), a Mohawk-Algonquin woman who is the first Native American to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church.  She was so recognized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, over three hundred years after her death.

Saturday, July 21
Tisha B’Av – Judaism
A solemn day of mourning and fasting for the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, as well as other tragedies in Jewish history coinciding with this date, beginning at sundown.

Sunday, July 22
Feast of St. Mary Magdalene – Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran Christian churches
Also known as the Penitent, Mary Magdalene is celebrated as one of Jesus’ earliest and most faithful disciples, after being healed by him.  She is also recognized as a witness to Jesus’ death and the first recorded witness of his resurrection on Easter.

Monday, July 23
Chaturmas – Hinduism and Jainism
This day marks the beginning of a four-month period (ending in November) during which time devotees observe some form of vow.  Penance, fasting, and other religious observances mark this period.  It is considered an inauspicious time for weddings or thread ceremonies.

Birthday of Emperor Haile Salassi I – Rastafari
Celebrating the birth of Ras [prince or chief] Tafari Makonnen (1892 – 1975 C.E.), who ruled as Emperor of Ethiopia from 1916 to 1974 (officially from 1930 to 1974), and who is professed by faithful Rasta believers as God incarnate.

Birthday of Gurū Har Krishan Sahib Ji – Sikhism
Marking the birth of the 8th and youngest of the 11 Sikh Gurūs (1656 – 1664 C.E.) in the Nanakshahi calendar.

Khordad Sal – Zoroastrianism
The birth anniversary of the prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster), according to the Qadimi calendar.

Tuesday, July 24
Pioneer Day – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Celebrated annually as the anniversary of the entry of LDS pioneers into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, in Utah in 1847 C.E., after a historic trek across 1,300 miles of wilderness.

Friday, July 27
Gurū Purnima – Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism
This day celebrates the ancient Hindu sage Krishna Dvaipayana, also known as Veda Vyāsa, who is credited as the compiler of the sacred Vedas, the author of the Eighteen Puranas (supplementary texts), and credited with writing the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata.  The term “gurū” refers to a teacher or remover of darkness.  Jains and Buddhists also mark this day as an opportunity to thank their teachers.

Saturday, July 28
Dharma Day (Asalha Puja Day) – Buddhism
This day commemorates the historical Buddha’s first sermon, called “Turning of the wheel of Dharma (Dhamma),” following his own enlightenment.  The following day marks the beginning of the three-month Vassa or “Rains Retreat” for Theravadin Buddhist monks and nuns.  This period is a time for training in Dharma studies, meditation practice, and giving religious services to the people.

Sunday, July 30
Oharai-taisai – Shinto
A purification ceremony to cleanse believers from offenses committed during the first half of the year.  A large ring of woven grasses and reeds is placed at the entrance to Shinto shrines, and people walk through the ring as a symbol of inner purification.

Thank you

Thank you to ACPE Certified Educator Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark at UCSF Medical Center Spiritual Care Services, San Francisco, CA, for compiling this list each month. Email him for more information.  

Also our thanks to the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, the Multifaith Action Society of British Columbia (Canada), BBC’s Religion Website, Peel Schools District Board (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), the Arizona State University Provost’s Office, the NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad, the Anti-Defamation League, Project Interfaith (Omaha, NE), the University of Victoria Faculty of Law (British Columbia, Canada), and www.interfaithcalendar.org

To subscribe to this calendar and sync it with your Google, Outlook, or iCal calendars, visit ucsfspiritcare.org and select the “Resources” menu.