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Holidays and Cultural Observances: Welcome

Holidays and Cultural Observances

This guide provides information about diverse cultural celebrations and religious holidays. It includes calendars and brief descriptions of the events. The main calendar is arranged by the academic calendar year for the current school year.  Some holidays are based on the lunar calendar--which can vary based on region and practice--and, therefore, vary from year to year. This resource can assist in event planning and classroom activities.

For more information, see ASU's Academic Affairs Manual (ACD) section 304–04: Accommodation for Religious Practices.  

For Faculty and Staff Consideration

Note that some cultures observe traditions with dates that are not released to the public, and may occur throughout the year at different times. Additionally, as awareness and the language used to describe cultural observances expand, you may provide feedback by contacting the Committee for Campus Inclusion with this feedback form: https://inclusion.asu.edu/contact-committee-campus-inclusion

Many religious observances require members to fast, and we encourage you to be aware of those times when students may appear distracted. For example, during Ramadan, your Muslim students may be coming into your courses hungry or dehydrated from a lack of food or water, or extremely tired from late night or early morning prayer sessions. Providing opportunities to flex or opt out of certain classroom activities gives them the space they may need, and makes your classroom more inclusive.

The following language can be used in your syllabus or for onboarding staff to create atmospheres of inclusion while also providing a framework for how to request accommodations.  

For Faculty: consider using the following language, adapted from the University of Pittsburgh, in your syllabi: 

The observance of religious holidays or cultural celebrations and practices (activities observed by a religious or cultural group of which a student is a member) are an important expression of identity and diversity. As your instructor, I am committed to providing equivalent educational opportunities to students of all belief systems. At the beginning of the semester, you should review the course requirements to identify foreseeable conflicts with assignments, exams, or other required attendance. If at all possible, please contact me within the first two weeks of the first class meeting to allow time for us to discuss and make fair and reasonable adjustments to the schedule and/or tasks.

For Administrators and leaders: consider using the following language for all staff reports, especially during the onboarding process: 

The observance of religious holidays or cultural celebrations and practices (activities observed by a religious or cultural group of which an individual is a member) are an important expression of identity and diversity. As your supervisor, I am committed to providing equitable treatment of staff members of all belief systems. For religious and cultural practices you plan to observe, please block off your calendar and communicate with me your needs.

Holidays and Accommodations

As a global institution, Arizona State University emphasizes diversity and global citizenship. When planning activities faculty, staff and students can access this LibGuide for dates of religious holidays and cultural events, as well as to learn about dietary restrictions and recommended accommodations.

Kosher restrictions apply: Jewish dietary guidelines which apply daily throughout the year.  These restrictions include pork, shellfish (fish is allowed) and mixing meat with dairy.

Halal restrictions apply: Islamic dietary laws which apply throughout the year. These restrictions include alcohol and pork.

Occasional dietary restrictions for other religions are listed with the specific event to which they apply.

Credits

This guide is produced in partnership with the ASU Committee for Campus Inclusion (CCI), and The Council of Religious Advisors  (CORA).  The Committee for Campus Inclusion is an advisory group to the provost, promoting a positive, harmonious campus environment that celebrates individual and group diversity, promotes individualism, provides information to the campus community, and resolves issues in such a manner as to respect all persons and their dignity. For more information, please visit our website at https://inclusion.asu.edu/committee-campus-inclusion. Questions or additions to this resource can be submitted at https://inclusion.asu.edu/contact-committee-campus-inclusion.

The Council of Religious Advisors is comprised of campus ministries and faith-based organizations that represent a diverse variety of faiths, traditions, and beliefs. Despite the differences in faiths that exist between them, the group works peacefully and diligently on behalf of the university community to provide religious services, spiritual counseling, education, support, and opportunities for involvement.


This page owes a great thanks to: 

Holly Hubenschmidt

Director, Library Instruction & Research Services

Webster University Libraries

Ms.  Hubenschmidt created the original LibGuide and template on which this guide is based. 

 

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-three Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.