The increasingly pluralistic population of the United States creates diverse communities, student bodies and employees. To enhance mutual understanding and respect among the various religious, ethnic and cultural groups, the Anti-Defamation League offers a Calendar of Observances as a tool to increase awareness and sensitivity about religious obligations as well as ethnic and cultural festivities that may affect students, colleagues and neighbors.
This multi-faith calendar includes significant religious observances of the major faiths represented in the United States. Thus, it can be used as a resource when planning:
- School activities
- Workplace activities
- Community Events
- School exam timetables and sporting events
In addition, the calendar notes U.S. holidays that are either legal holidays or observed in various states and communities throughout the country.
A third component is the inclusion of important national and international observances that may be commemorated in the U.S.
The dates of secular holidays are based on the Gregorian calendar, which is commonly used for civil dating purposes.
Many religions and cultures follow various traditional calendar systems that are often based on the phases of the moon with occasional adjustments for the solar cycle. Therefore, specific Gregorian calendar dates for these observances will differ from year to year.
In addition, calculation of specific dates may vary by geographical location and according to different sects within a given religion.
Baha’i, Jewish and Islamic holidays begin at sundown the previous day and end at sundown on the date listed.