Lehigh University
Lehigh Universiy

You are here

Religious Holidays: Policy and Calendar

Below find a memo sent from the University Provost and the University Chaplain to all entering students explaining Lehigh University's "Accommodation Policy" regarding religious holidays.  A calendar of religious holidays follows the policy statement. 

Religious Holidays


Lehigh University extends hospitality to all persons regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic or social background, and the Religious Accommodation policy expresses the University’s respect for diversity in religious matters.

Although non-sectarian, Lehigh University honors the free exercise of religion. People from a wide variety of religious traditions live and work at Lehigh, and the University acknowledges that the demands of religious observance in some traditions may cause conflicts with classroom and work schedules. Like many other colleges and universities, Lehigh has adopted a policy to accommodate those who encounter conflicts between the demands of religious observance and the demands of work or study. This "accommodation policy" acknowledges the right of those who live and work and study at Lehigh to engage in religious observances, and the University is pledged to honor the exercise of that right.

This accommodation policy governs religious holidays. The university policy is to support any member of the Lehigh community who requests an absence due to the demands of religious holiday observance. Of course, nothing in this policy exempts a student from meeting course requirements or completing assignments, so the student will have to negotiate with the instructor any make-up work.

Faculty should be aware that in the fall semester students from various traditions may request accommodations as they refrain from work or ordinary secular activities, and this may include time spent traveling home for holiday observance.  How specific holidays are observed varies within traditions and even among families, and as a courtesy to the campus we note Jewish holidays that might affect the regular work and study activities of members of our community.  Please note that Jewish holidays begin the evening before the listed date, at sundown, and include important observances during those evenings.

Accommodations are to be dealt with on the basis of individual requests from students. Recall that religious holidays are numerous, and no holiday is privileged above another for the purposes of the Lehigh policy. For more information you may consult the calendar of religious holidays found on this website (see below). 

If you encounter a schedule conflict with your course work due to the demands of religious observance, here is what you should do:

 1.  Talk  with your instructor and indicate that you will be absent from class due to observance of religious holidays.

 2.  Arrange with the instructor to complete assignments.

 3.  If you run into difficulties, including a refusal to grant you an excused absence, please call the University Chaplain, Dr. Lloyd Steffen, at x83877 or e-mail him at lhs1.  The  Chaplain will speak with the faculty person, explain the accommodation policy adopted by the University and enforced by the Provost, and work to resolve any difficulties.

Lehigh’s Religious Accommodation Policy is published in the Student Handbook and all students have access to an online copy. Any questions about the Religious Accommodation policy should be directed to the University Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Lloyd Steffen (lhs1@lehigh.edu).

Thank you in advance for your continued cooperation in abiding by this policy.

_________________________                ___________________________ 
Patrick V. Farrell                                         Lloyd Steffen 
Provost                                                       University Chaplain 

Other Policies Regarding Religious Life at Lehigh

The University Chaplain's Office is responsible for all issues regarding Religious Life at Lehigh.  This designation of responsibility has been made by Lehigh University, a private institution of higher learning with no sectarian bias.  The University Chaplain, the Rev. Dr. Lloyd Steffen, reports to the Provost of the University in his role as University Chaplain. Questions about religious group activities, aid with programs, and other information or assistance should be directed to the University Chaplain's Office at x83877.  To assist students and visitors to campus, the following policy guidelines are observed:

1.  Questions regarding Religious Life, including those arising from religious groups and clubs, should be directed to the Chaplain's Office.

2.  Groups that invite visiting clergy or other religious professionals to campus should inform the University Chaplain's Office so that these visitors may receive a formal invitation from the University and thus be present on campus in conjunction with a religious activity.  As a private institution, Lehigh University could request that individuals not officially invited to campus be asked to leave.

3.  Religious materials may be distributed on campus, but the mode of distribution must be worked out in consultation with the Chaplain's Office.  The University observes a non-intrusion policy with respect to living quarters.  Religious group advisers must meet with students elsewhere than in residence halls, fraternities and sororities; and student residences on campus are not to be entered for purposes of distributing religious materials by any advisor or off-campus person.  The Chaplain's Office can assist in the effort to distribute materials in a non-intrusive way and arrange for alternative spaces for meetings, including the Dialogue Center.

4.  Reserving space on campus for religious life activities must be made through the Chaplain's Office.  The Dialogue Center at 661 Taylor Street is the preferred space for clubs that wish to meet for religious life activities, and requests for other space on campus must be made through the Chaplain's Office.  The Dialogue Center at 661 Taylor Street is available to religious life advisers for meetings with students, and the Dialogue Center may be scheduled for religious group meetings by contacting Terri Ball-Nicholas at 610-758-3877 or tlb311.

5.  Funding support requests for group events must be made through the Chaplain's Office prior to purchase, registration or commitment.  Forms are located on the "Document" page of the Chaplain's Office website.  Submit completed Funding Support Request Forms for approval to Terri Ball-Nicholas, The Dialogue Center at 661 Taylor Street, 610-758-3877 or tlb311@lehigh.edu.

        Religious Holidays  2017


Note: 1. * Holy days usually begin at sundown the day before this date. 
       2. ** Local or regional customs may use a variation of this date.

Bold titles are primary holy days of a tradition.

(from www.interfaithcalendar.org)




  • 1
    • Religious year begins - Orthodox Christian
  • 1-4
    • Eid al Adha * - Islam
  • 8
    • Nativity of Virgin Mary - Christian
  • 14
    • Elevation of the Life Giving Cross (Holy Cross) - Christian
  • 21-22
    • Rosh Hashanah * - Jewish
    • New Year - Hijra * - Islam
  • 21-29
    • Navaratri ** - Hindu
  • 22  Equinox
    • Mabon * - Wicca/Pagan northern hemisphere
    • Ostata * - Wicca/Pagan southern hemisphere
  • 25
    • Ganesh Chaturthi ** - Hindu
  • 27
    • Meskel - Ethiopian Christian
  • 29
    • Michael and All Angels - Christian
  • 30
    • Yom Kippur * - Jewish
    • Dasara - Hindu

OCTOBER   2017


  • 1
    • Ashura * - Islam
  • 4
    • St Francis Day - Catholic Christian
    • Blessing of the Animals - Christian
  • 5-11
    • Sukkot * - Jewish
  • 9
    • Thanksgiving - Canada - Interfaith
  • 12
    • Shemini Atzeret * - Jewish
  • 13
    • Simchat Torah * - Jewish
  • 18
    • St. Luke, Apostle & Evangelist - Christian
  • 19
    • Diwali - Deepavali ** - Hindu - Sikh - Jain
  • 20
    • Birth of the Báb * - Baha'i
    • Installation of Scriptures as Guru Granth - Sikh
    • Jain New Year - Jain
  • 28
    • Milvian Bridge Day - Christian
  • 29
    • Reformation Day - Protestant Christian
  • 31
    • All Hallows Eve - Christian
    • Reformation Day ** - Protestant Christian



  • 1
    • All Saints Day - Christian
    • Samhain - Beltane * Wicca/Pagan Northern and Southern hemispheres
  • 2
    • All Souls Day - Catholic Christian
  • 4
    • Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib - Sikh
  • 12
    • Birth of Baha'u'llah * - Baha'i
  • 15
    • Nativity Fast begins - ends Dec. 24 - Orthodox Christian
  • 23
    • Thanksgiving- Interfaith USA
  • 24
    • Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahdur - Sikh
  • 26
    • Christ the King - Christian
    • Day of the Covenant * - Baha'i
  • 28
    • Ascension of  'Abdu'l-Baha * - Baha'i
  • 30
    • St. Andrew's Day - Christian



  • 1
    • Mawlid an Nabi * - Islam
  • 3-24
    • Advent - Christian
  • 6
    • Saint Nicholas Day - Christian
  • 8
    • Bodhi Day  (Rohatsu) ** - Buddhist
    • Immaculate Conception of Mary - Catholic Christian
  • 12
    • Feast day - Our Lady of Guadalupe - Catholic Christian
  • 13-20
    • Hanukkah * - Jewish
  • 16-25
    • Posadas Navidenas - Hispanic Christian
  • 21  Solstice
    • Yule - Christian
    • Yule * - Wicca/Pagan northern hemisphere
    • Litha * - Wicca/Pagan southern hemisphere
  • 24
    • Christmas Eve - Christian
  • 25
    • Christmas * - Christian
    • Feast of the Nativity ** - Orthodox Christian
  • 26
    • Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra) ** - Zoroastrian
    • St Stephen's Day - Christian
  • 28
    • Holy Innocents - Christian
  • 31
    • Watch Night - Christian
    • Holy Family - Catholic Christian

Updated: September 6, 2017