Religious Holiday Celebrations in Public Schools – Important Reminders | Iowa Department of Education



2021-22 DATES

Eid al-Adha **
Festival of Sacrifice. The day of Arafat marks the end of Hajj.
Islam Jul. 19-23, 2021
10th of Muharram**
The date of the Emigration of Muhammad and his followers to Medina in 622 CE Islamic New Year.
Islam Aug. 18, 2021
There is an optional fast this day. The Shi’a observance is based on the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Husayn, martyred on this day in 683/684 CE after the battle of Karbala. The Sunni observance is related to numerous Biblical and Qur’anic events.
Islam Aug. 18-19, 2021
Krishna Janmashtami
Commemoration of the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of god Vishnu.
Hindu Aug. 30, 2021
Rosh Hashanah #
Jewish New Year. A time of introspection, abstinence, and prayer.
Jewish Sept. 6-8, 2021
Fast of Gedaliah
The Fast of Gedaliah is a fast day to commemorate the assassination of Gedaliah, the official charged with overseeing the Jewish population in Judah.
Jewish Sept. 9, 2021
Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) #
The most solemn and holy day of the year in which Jews spend a day in fasting and prayer.
Jewish Sept. 15-16, 2021
Mabon/Autumn Equinox**
Mabon is the arrival of autumn and with it the reaping of the harvest. It celebrates the abundance, the fruit of the labor put in throughout the year and signals preparations for the winter soon to come.
Pagan-Wiccan Sept. 21, 2021
Sukkot #
Also known as the Feast of Tabernacles – celebrates the harvest and the protection of the people of Israel as they wandered in the wilderness dwelling in tents.
Jewish Sept. 20-27, 2021
Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah #
Completion of the annual cycle of reading of the Torah.
Jewish Sept. 27-29, 2021
Mawlid-al-Nabi / Birth of the Prophet Muhammad**
Commemoration of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam, about 570 CE. Not universally observed.
Islam Oct. 19, 2021
Samhain is one of the most important festivals of the year. It is considered a very powerful time and is great to ask for guidance, help, clearing of negativity and starting of the new year in a positive light.
Pagan-Wiccan Oct. 31–Nov. 1, 2021
Bandi Chhor Divas
Observed as a “Day of Liberation” commemorating the release from prison of Guru Hargobind circa 1612.
Sikh Nov. 4, 2021
Festival of lights symbolizing the human urges to move toward the light.
Hindu Nov. 4, 2021
Birthday of the Bab #
Baha’i observance of the anniversary of the birth in 1819 of Siyyid, “the Bab,” the prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, in Shiraz, Persia.
Bahá’í Nov. 6, 2021
Birthday of Bahá’u’lláh #
Anniversary of the birth in 1817 of Baha`u`llah, prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, in Nur, Persia.
Bahá’í Nov. 7, 2021
Birth of Guru Nanak
Celebrates the birth of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, circa 1469, observed on the full moon day of November.
Sikh Nov. 30, 2021
Ascension of Abdul Baha
The Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Baha´ commemorates the death on Nov. 28, 1921—and, retrospectively, the life—of ‘Abdu’l-Baha´
Baha’i Nov. 27-28, 2021
Hanukkah (Chanukah)
A Jewish festival commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. It is also known as the Festival of Lights.
Jewish Nov. 28-Dec. 6, 2021
Yule / Winter Equinox
Yule is held during the winter equinox when days become shorter. It is the time in which last preparations are made for the coming cold months. It is also a time to remind oneself of the warmth and life-giving source of the Sun or fire.
Pagan-Wiccan Dec. 21, 2021
Christmas #
Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Observed by prayers, exchanging of gifts and family parties (per Gregorian Calendar).
Christian Dec. 25, 2021
The weeklong celebration honoring African heritage in African-American culture.
Interfaith/African-American Dec. 26-Jan 1, 2022
Feast of the Epiphany
Celebrates the revelation of God incarnates as Jesus Christ.
Christian Jan. 6, 2022
East Orthodox Christmas
Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Observed by prayers, exchanging of gifts, and family parties (per Julian Calendar).
Orthodox Christian Jan. 7, 2022
Lunar New Year & Tet
Begins a fifteen-day festival for Chinese people of all religions. Family reunions with thanksgiving and remembrance of departed relatives take place. Traditionally a religious ceremony honors Heaven and Earth.
Feb. 1, 2022
Imbolc / The Promise of Spring
A joyous occasion, it symbolized the promise of the return of spring. This is a time in which both crops and animals are blessed to ensure an abundant year, that all would be healthy and new life would spring forth soon.
Pagan-Wiccan Feb. 1, 2022
Ash Wednesday / Lent
Lent begins in Western Christianity.
Christian Mar. 2, 2022
East Orthodox Beginning of Lent
First day of the forty days of the Great Lent period, beginning on Clean Monday followed by distinct periods of fasting, Lazarus Saturday, and Palm Sunday, culminating in Holy Week.
Orthodox Christian Mar. 7, 2022
Fast of Esther (Purim)
Commemorating the three-day fast observed by the Jewish people in the story of Purim.
Jewish Mar. 16-17, 2022
Hola Mohalla
Begins a three-day Sikh festival that takes place on the first of the lunar month of Chet.
Sikh Mar. 18-20, 2022
Nowruz #
Celebrating the first day of the new year, this is one of the nine Bahá’í holy days on which work is to be suspended. It is generally observed with a meeting for prayer and celebration.
Bahá’í / Zoroastrianism Mar. 20, 2022
Ostara / Spring Equinox
Celebrating the arrival of spring and new life.
Pagan-Wiccan March 20, 2022
The holiest period of the Islamic Year commemorating the Prophet Muhammad’s reception of the divine revelation the Qur`an. A month of introspection, prayer, and devoted fasting from dawn to sunset. Intentional consumption of drink, food, or any injection which has nutritional value is forbidden during fasting hours.
Islam April 2 – May 1, 2022
Baisakhi (Vaisakhi)
Birth of Khalsa brotherhood, the Sikh New Year festival commemorating the year Sikhism was born as a collective faith.
Sikh Apr. 14, 2022
Good Friday
Commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary.
Christian Apr. 15, 2022
Fast of Bechorot
Commemorates the miracle which spared the firstborn Jewish sons from the plague.
Jewish Apr. 15, 2022
Passover (Pesach) #
Celebration of the deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery to freedom.
Jewish Apr. 15-Apr. 23, 2022
The holiest of Christian Sacred days. The day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his death by crucifixion.
Christian Apr. 17, 2022
Ridvan #
Commemorate the twelve days when Baha`u`llah, the prophet-founder, resided in a garden called Ridvan (Paradise) and publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s messenger for this age. The first, ninth, and twelfth days are celebrated as holy days when Baha’i I’s suspend work.
Bahá’í Apr. 21-May 2, 2022
Eastern Orthodox Good Friday
Christian remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus and related events.
Orthodox Christian Apr. 22, 2022
Eastern Orthodox Easter
The holiest of Christian Sacred days. The day commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from his death by crucifixion.
Orthodox Christian Apr. 24, 2022

Laylat Al-Qadr**
This is the Night of Destiny or Night of Power. It marks the revelation of the Qur’an to the Prophet Muhammad.

Islam Apr. 29, 2022
9th Day of Ridvan #
Symbolizes the reunification and strength of the bond of family and by extension the unity of the entire human family.
Bahá’í Apr. 29, 2022
Beltane / Festival of Fire, Mayday
Beltane is the halfway point between Spring and Summer. It is a time to give gratitude and thanks to the fertility of spring, festivities start on the eve of May 1st.
Pagan-Wiccan May 1, 2022
12th Day of Ridvan #
Commemorates the eve of Baha’u’llah’s departure from Baghdad.
Bahá’í May 2, 2022
Eid al-Fitr (date can vary by a day)
Marks the end of Ramadan. It is a festival of thanksgiving to God.
Islam May 2, 2022
Vesak (Visakha Puja) – Buddha Day # **
Marking of the birth, enlightenment, and death (attainment of Nirvana) of Lord Buddha.
Buddhism May 6, 2022
Declaration of the Báb**
Commemoration of May 23, 1844, when the Bab, the prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith, announced he was the herald of a new messenger of God.
Bahá’í May 24, 2022
Ascension Day
The fortieth day of Easter commemorating Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven.
Christian May 26, 2022
Ascension of Baha’u’lláh**
Observance of the anniversary of the death in exile of Baha`u`llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith.
Bahá’í May 29, 2022
Shavuot #
One of the three pilgrimage holidays commemorating the giving of the Torah (5 Books of Moses).
Jewish Jun. 4-6, 2022
Christian observation of the day when the God the Holy Spirit came to the disciples in the forms of tongues of fire and rushing wind. It is a traditional day for baptism and confirmation of new Christians.
(RC, P, O)
Jun. 5, 2022
Litha / Summer Solstice
Litha is a celebration of the longest day of the year.
Pagan-Wiccan June 21, 2022
Lughnasadh / First Harvest
The midway point between summer and autumn, it is the first harvest of grains and fruits. It celebrates and gives gratitude to the new harvest of breads and fresh fruits.
Pagan-Wiccan August 1, 2022

Symbols have been added to some observances for further context:

  • #  These holidays have been designated non-work days by the religions that celebrate them.

  • ** Some of these dates are not fixed to a calendar but based on the actual sighting of the moon and therefore there may be some variance by a day.

  • Jewish and Islamic holy days begin and end at sundown on the first and last days listed.

  • Every Friday from sundown until Saturday at sundown is the Jewish Sabbath.