Religious Holy Days


May 2020

May 2
12th Day of Ridvan (Baha'i)
Beginning on April 21 and concluding on May 2, Baha'is celebrate the period when the religion's founder, Baha'u'llah, resided in a garden in Baghdad. Baha'u'llah called it the Garden of Ridvan, as Ridvan translates to paradise. It was during his time in the garden that Baha'iuíllah proclaimed that he was the messenger of God for this age.

May 7 
Visakha Puja (Buddhism)
Also known as Vesak or Buddha Day, it marks the birth, spiritual awakening and death (nirvana) of the historical Buddha. (This date may vary based on region or sect.)

May 11 
Lag B’Omer (Judaism) (Begins at sundown on the 11th)
Celebrates the end of a divine-sent plague and/or Roman occupation during Rabbi Akiva’s lifetime (died c. 135 CE). Lag B'Omer is the 33rd day between the second day of Passover and the holiday of Shavuot. There is altogether a span of 49 days between the two holidays; a time that is traditionally a period of mourning the death of Rabbi Akiba’s 24,000 students over 2,000 years ago. By contrast, however, Lag B’Omer is a break in the mourning period and is therefore a time for celebration. 

May 13 
Midfeast (Eastern Orthodox Church)
A feast day which occurs during the Paschal season in the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite. Mid-Pentecost celebrates the midpoint between the Feasts of Pascha (Easter) and Pentecost. Specifically, it falls on the 25th day of Pascha. At the feast of Mid-Pentecost, a Small Blessing of the Waters is traditionally performed after the liturgy of the feast.

May 19 
Laila Al-Qadr (Islam)
Commemorates the night that the Qur'an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. It is known as the “Night of Power.” Often set on the 27th day of Ramadan, Sunnis may observe it on the 21st, 23rd, 25th or 29th and Shīʿite (Shiite) observe it on the 19th, 21st or 23rd day of Ramadan.

May 21 
Ascension Day (Christianity)
Celebrated 40 days after Easter/Pascha, it commemorates the ascension of Jesus into Heaven.

May 21 
Nowruz (Zoroastrian)
A traditional ancient Iranian festival celebrating the first day of Spring and the Iranian New Year. Also celebrated as New Year’s Day in Baha’i tradition (Naw-Ruz). (This date may vary based on region or sect.)

May 23 
Declaration of the Bab  (Bahá’í)
Commemoration of May 23, 1844, when the Báb, the prophet-herald of the Bahá’í Faith, announced in Shíráz, Persia, that he was the herald of a new messenger of God. The Baha'i Faith is considered to have begun on May 23, 1844, which was the day that the individual known as “The Bab” declared his mission. The world's 5 million Baha'is have basic principles that include belief in the oneness of the human race, the unity of religions, equality of the sexes, and universal peace. Baha’is are followers of Baha'u'llah, who was born in Persia in 1817. 

May 23 (Begins at sundown on the 23rd)
Eid al-Fitr (Islam)
The “Feast of the Breaking of the Fast” marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting from dawn until dusk. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. Ramadan recognizes Muhammad's revelation from God, as recorded in the Qur'an. During this period, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and time is focused on prayer, charity and self-reflection. On Eid al-Fitr, Muslims celebrate the end of fasting, and thank God for giving them the strength to practice self-control during Ramadan.

May 28 
Ascension of Christ (Orthodox Christianity)
Falling forty days after Easter, this date marks the conclusion of Jesus's time on earth. Acts 1:9-11 state that the disciples witnessed Jesus's ascension into heaven from the Mount of Olives. The day is celebrated with prayer and special church services, and is often marked with music. It is one of the oldest celebrations of the tradition.

May 29
Ascension of Baha'u'llah (Baha'i)
Baha'is believe in the oneness of the human race, the unity of religions, equality of the sexes, and universal peace; they abstain from alcohol, gambling, and gossip. Baha’is are followers of Baha'u'llah, who was born in Persia in 1817. This day, which commemorates Baha'u'llah's death and ascension to heaven, is one of nine holy days in the year. Baha'is do not work on their holy days, which for many is considered a sacrifice. Celebrations on such days are generally quiet observances. Baha'u'llah's ascension may be celebrated by a picnic, or a gathering at which prayers are said, or songs are sung from Baha'u'llah’s writings.

May 28–30 
Shavuot (Begins at sundown on the 28th)  (Judaism)
The “Feast of Weeks” celebrates the covenant established at Sinai between God and Israel, and the revelation of the Ten Commandments.

May 31 
Pentecost  (Christianity)
Also known as Whitsunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter/Pascha commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and women followers of Jesus. Marks the birth of the Christian Church.

June 2020

June 4 
Feast Núr (Baha’i)
The Baha’i calendar has nineteen months, all named after attributes of God. This day is the first day of the fifth month in the Bahá’í year, called Núr, meaning light.  

June 6
Saturday of Souls 4 (Greek Orthodoxy)
Saturday of Souls is a day set aside for the commemoration of the dead. Saturday is a traditional day of prayer for the dead, because Christ lay dead in the Tomb on Saturday. This day is devoted to prayer for departed relatives and others among the faithful who would not be commemorated specifically as saints.

June 7 
Trinity Sunday (Christianity)
This feast celebrates the Holy Trinity, or the three persons that constitute God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christians recognize this day with special church services.

Pentecost (Orthodox Christianity)
On Pentecost, Christians celebrate the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles of Jesus. The word itself comes from the Greek word for "fiftieth," since the feast day takes place the 50th day after Easter. In Italy, it has been customary to drop rose leaves from the ceilings of churches, to signify the descent of the spirit. The French tended to sound trumpets, signifying the sound of the “mighty wind” that is said to have accompanied the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the apostles. Pentecost is usually celebrated with a special church service and or special prayers.

June 9
Saint Columba of Iona (Celtic Christianity)
This day commemorates Saint Columba (521-597 AD), one of the twelve apostles of Ireland. He led evangelizing missions in Ireland and Scotland, and was credited, with the Celtic Church, for bringing a revival of Christianity to Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.

June 11 
Corpus Christi (Catholic Christianity)
Corpus Christi, or the Feast of the Most Holy Body of Christ, is a day to honor the Holy Eucharist, and to commemorate the Last Supper. Catholics receive Communion on this day, accepting wine and bread in memory of the blood and body of Christ.

June 14 
All Saints Day (Orthodox Christianity)
All Saints Day is observed on the first Sunday after Pentecost. The feast of All Saints Sunday commemorates all the saints of the church who have remained anonymous. It falls the Sunday after Pentecost. Orthodox Christians pray to the saints for help of various kinds.

June 15
Apostles fast begins (Orthodox Christianity)
The Apostles fast lasts 14 days in 2020. The Holy Apostles Fasting duration varies every year. It begins on Monday following Sunday of all Saints and ends on June 29. Thus, it may last from zero days, if Pascha falls on May 3 or later to twenty nine days, if Pascha falls on April 4 to May 2.

June 16
Guru Arjan Dev Martyrdom (Sikhism)
This day commemorates Guru Arjan Dev, the first Sikh martyr. Until the early 1600s, Sikhs had a peaceful history, but the new Mughal Emperor, Jahangir, was a Muslim who had Guru Arjan Dev arrested and tortured. A few days later, when taken to bathe in the Ravi River, Guru Arjan Dev disappeared. 

June 19
New Church Day (Swedenborgian Christianity)
The 18th century theologian and scientist Emanuel Swedenborg founded the New Church after a course of divinely inspired revelations. He wrote 35 volumes, which he called The True Christian Religion, to reveal hidden meaning in the Bible and address the mysteries of human life. This day celebrates the book's publication in 1770.

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Catholic Christianity)
This feast day commemorates Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque's (1647-1690) visions of Jesus and his instruction to her that she serve as the instrument for spreading devotion to his sacred heart. The feast celebrates Jesus's gift of the Eucharist and urges believers to pray for the sins of the world.

June 21 
Solstice Litha (Neo-Paganism)
Also known as the Summer Solstice, Litha is the celebration of the arrival of summer- when the days are most full of daylight, and there is abundance and fertility in the earth.

June 23 
Feast day Rahmat (Bahai) 
The Baha’i calendar has nineteen months, all named after attributes of God. Raḥmat is the Arabic word for mercy.

June 24
Nativity of John the Baptist (Christianity)
John was a Jewish preacher who called upon people to repent, amend their lives and renew their relationship with God. He was a strong believer that the coming of the Kingdom of God was imminent. John baptized Jesus in the River Jordan, which is said to mark the beginning of Jesus's public ministry. 

June 29
Ghambar Maidyoshem (Zoroastrianism)
This is the second of six Ghambar festivals during the Zoroastrian year. This particular festival celebrates the creation of water, the harvest of grain, and the sowing of summer crops.

Festival of Peter and Paul (Catholic Christianity)
This feast commemorates Peter and Paul, two apostles of Jesus. Both were martyred in Rome, and their remains are still there. Their feast day, established as early as 258, was supposedly chosen because it marks the anniversary of the date that their remains were moved to the catacombs near where the Roman church San Sebastiano fuori le Mura stands today. The feast day is celebrated with liturgy and prayers.