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Requests for Religious Observances

Below is a list of religious observances that was compiled by the Office of Diversity and Equity.  It is a not an exhaustive list and we appreciate your feedback.  We are committed to equity and inclusion in our policies, practices, and protocols for respecting religious observances of all members in the Jayhawk community.

For Students: While this process is not yet formal KU policy*, we highly recommend that you make use of this resource and submit the religious observance form within the first 20 days of the first day of the semester to inform your instructor of the day(s) you intend to be absent due to a religious observance.  This will give you and your professor enough time to prepare accordingly.  The student is responsible for contacting their instructor to discuss and "reach a mutually acceptable solution." (policy 2.1.4)

For Staff and Faculty: Please refer to the list below for more information on religious observances and to learn of the recommended exemptions for students. 

*This process is not mandated or required under formal university policy.  However, the University Senate Rules & Regulations (USRR) policy 1.4.3 prohibits testing and examinations from being held on mandated religious observances, and policy 2.1.4 states that "a student shall not be penalized for absence from regularly scheduled class activities which conflict with mandated religious observances."  There is a plan in progress to propose this submission process as official KU policy in the coming year.

  1. Click on the button below that says "Absence Request for Religious Observance".
  2. Log in to the secured webform using your KU online ID and password.
  3. Fill out the webform, and include the name and dates of the observance for which you are requesting a class exemption.
  4. An email will be sent to notify your instructor. From there, your instructor can either approve, deny, or request more information from you regarding your religious observance.
  5. If you have any questions about this resource or the process for requesting a class exemption for a religious observance, please contact the Office of Diversity and Equity at diversity@ku.edu so that we may refer you to the appropriate resource. 

If you have questions about American Indian Nations observances and/or ceremonies, please contact the Haskell/KU Partnership Specialist, Melissa Peterson (mmpeterson@ku.edu). 

If you would like to submit feedback anonymously, feel free to do so at this KU Qualtrics Survey Link.  Otherwise, email us at diversity@ku.edu.

2020 2021 2022

Lammas/Lughnasadh

A celebration of the beginning of the harvest. One of the eight major annual sabbats or festivals.

Date Details: Celebrated every August 1st.

General Practices: Making and consuming dishes with the first fruits of the harvest.

Recommended Accommodations: None.

Druid, Pagan, Wiccan

August 01, 2020 August 01, 2021 August 01, 2022

Raksha Bandhan

The Rakhi festivity falls in the holy month of Shravan; The origin and history of Rakhi can be dated back to the mythological Pouranik times.

Date Details: Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in Shravana month during full moon day or Purnima day.

General Practices: A day to acknowledge siblings and their relationships.

Recommended Accommodations: None.

Hindu

August 03, 2020 August 22, 2021 August 11, 2022

Krishna Janmashtami

This two-day festival celebrates the birth of Krishna, a widely-worshiped Hindu god. Krishna is considered to be a warrior, hero, teacher, and philosopher.

Date Details: The first day is called Krishan Ashtami or Gokul Ashtami. The second day is known as Kaal Ashtami or more popularly Janam Ashtami.

General Practices: During this festival, Hindus are likely to forgo sleep in order to sing bhajans, traditional Hindu songs. Many Hindus also fast during the first day of the festival. Dances, songs, and plays depicting the life of Krishna are common.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling major academic deadlines on this day, since it is likely that students will be operating on very little sleep.

Hindu

August 11, 2020 to August 12, 2020
August 30, 2021 August 08, 2022

Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha is a major festival that celebrates the willingness to make sacrifices in the name of one’s faith. According to Islamic tradition, the prophet Ibrahim was ordered to sacrifice his son in God’s name. When Ibrahim was prepared to kill his son, God stepped in and gave him a sheep to sacrifice instead. This holiday celebrates Ibrahim’s total faith in God, and Muslims view this holiday as an important annual reminder.

Date Details: Lunar calendars can vary based on region and practice. Begins at sundown on the first day and ends in the evening of the second day.

General Practices: Prayers, gift giving, prayers, and sometimes killing of sheep, with a portion of the meat gifted to the poor.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, and activities on the first day. If planning an evening event, provide food accommodations if requested (halal restrictions apply).

Islamic

July 31, 2020 to August 03, 2020
July 20, 2021 to July 23, 2021

Mabon/Alban Elfed/Autumnal Equinox

Also referred to as Harvest Home, the Feast of the Ingathering, and Meán Fómhair. Mabon is the second celebration of the harvest, a ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth, and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months. One of the eight major annual sabbats or festivals.

Date Details: Falls on the day of the Fall Equinox.

General Practices: At Mabon, day and night are in equal balance. It is a time to offer gratitude for the blessings of the harvest and also to begin to prepare for turning inward. Making dishes with apples, squash and pumpkins as part of ritual celebration is customary.

Recommended Accommodations: None.

Druid, Pagan, Wiccan

September 23, 2020 September 22, 2021 September 22, 2022

Rosh Hashanah

Start of the Jewish New Year, day of judgment and remembrance; the Jewish calendar celebrates the New Year in the seventh month (Tishrei) as a day of rest and celebration ten days before Yom Kippur

Date Details: Begins at the evening of the first day, and ends the evening of the last day.

General Practices: Prayer in synagogue and festive meals.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on this date. If planning an event, provide food accommodation as requested (kosher restrictions apply).

Jewish

September 18, 2020 to September 20, 2020
September 06, 2021 to September 08, 2021
September 25, 2022 to September 27, 2022

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur is often considered the holiest day of the year for Jews, and the day is dedicated to atonement and abstinence.

Date Details: Begins at the evening of the first day, and ends the evening of the last day.

General Practices: Fasting from before sundown until after sunset, and lighting of the Yahrzeit memorial candle at sundown on the night of Yom Kippur.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on this date and after a day of fasting.

Jewish

September 27, 2020 to September 28, 2020
September 12, 2021 to September 13, 2021
October 04, 2022 to October 05, 2022

Sukkot

A week-long celebration which begins with the building of Sukkah for sleep and meals; Sukkot is named for the huts Moses and the Israelites lived in as they wandered the desert before reaching the promised land.

Date Details: Begins at the evening of the first day, and ends the evening of the last day. Work holidays vary by denomination.

General Practices: Families in the United States commonly decorate the sukkah with produce and artwork.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on the first two days. If planning an event, provide food accommodation as requested (kosher restrictions apply).

Jewish

October 02, 2020 to October 09, 2020
September 20, 2021 to September 27, 2021
October 09, 2022 to October 16, 2022

Shemini Atzeret

Also known as Atzereth, this is a fall festival, which includes a memorial service for the dead and features prayers for rain in Israel.

Date Details: Begins at the evening of the first day, and ends the evening of the last day.

General Practices: Jews light a Yahrzeit memorial candle at sundown on Shemini Atzereth (the 8th night of Sukkot). Simchat Torah marks the completion of the annual cycle of the reading of the Torah in the synagogue and the beginning of the new cycle.

Recommended Accommodations: Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, or activities on this date. If planning an event, provide food accommodation as requested (kosher restrictions apply).

Jewish

October 09, 2020 to October 11, 2020
September 27, 2021 to September 29, 2021
October 16, 2022 to October 18, 2022