Religious Observance & Holidays


Students are permitted by university policy to be absent from class to observe a religious holiday. This policy reflects the University’s commitment to being responsive to our increasing diversity and to enabling students’ spiritual development. Accordingly, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and the Pratt School of Engineering have established procedures to be followed by students for notifying their instructors of an absence necessitated by the observance of a religious holiday.  

Students who miss class to observe a specified religious holiday are expected to make prior arrangements with their instructor to make up any work missed, as follows.


  • At the beginning of each semester, you should notify each of your instructors of any religious holiday(s) that will necessitate your absence from classes that semester.  Instructor policies regarding class attendance vary widely; you are responsible for being aware of individual faculty policies and for communicating any intended absences for religious observance.
  • During a semester, as a religious holiday approaches, you should send an official notification to your instructor that you will miss class in order to observe a religious holiday by completing and submitting this form.  The form should be sent no later than one week prior to the date of the holiday.


  • When you submit this form, your instructor will be notified by e-mail and a copy will be sent to you.  A copy will also be placed in a file which your academic dean may access.  In completing the form, you may find it useful to consult DukeHub, where you can view your class schedule to obtain the name and number of the course and the name of the course instructor.
  • Because religious holidays are scheduled in advance, instructors have the right to insist, where feasible, that you complete the course work prior to the anticipated absence in accordance with the course attendance policy.
  • Since absence from class due to observance of a religious holiday is excused according to University policy, no dean's excuse is required. If an instructor is unwilling or unable to excuse your absence from class, you should consult your academic dean.  It is the responsibility of each instructor to communicate the University policy to his or her students and to accommodate reasonable requests.
  • Your electronic signature on the form affirms your compliance with the Duke Community Standard.

This procedure cannot be used during the final exam period, given the time limitations inherent in completing end-of-semester assignments or making up a missed final exam. You are expected to take final examinations at the scheduled times and to complete end-of-semester work by the deadlines set by the instructor.  In the event that a religious holiday should fall during exam week, contact your academic dean well before the scheduled assignment or exam.

Religious Holidays

The university recognizes that the various religious traditions observed by our diverse student body include more holidays than can easily be included on a list. Not all holidays require students to miss class or reschedule assignments. Moreover, we recognize that observances vary by tradition and country and, in some faiths, in accordance with the lunar calendar. However, as a guide to faculty and students in the planning of their courses and assignments, members of the campus ministry have identified the dates of major religious holidays that occur when classes are being held during the academic year. This list is neither all-inclusive nor a formal designation of religious holidays recognized by the University; it is merely an aid for planning purposes. Students should take care to verify possible conflicts as early in the semester as possible and arrange appropriate accommodations well in advance. 

Baha’I (holidays begin at sundown the previous day)

Naw Ruz   Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Bodhi Day Friday, December 8, 2017
Losar (Tibetan New Year) Friday, February 16, 2018 
Vesak Tuesday, May 29, 2018
All Saints Day Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Epiphany (Orthodox) Saturday, January 6, 2018
Ash Wednesday Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Clean Monday (Orthodox) Friday, February 19, 2018
Good Friday Friday, March 30, 2018
Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018
Holy Friday (Orthodox) Friday, April 6, 2018
Easter (Orthodox) Sunday, April 8, 2018
Ganesh Puja Friday, August 25, 2017
Navaratri September 21-30, 2017
Diwali Thursday, October 19, 2017
Maakar Sankrantri Sunday, January 14, 2018
Shivaratri Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Holi Friday, March 2, 2018
Ram Navami Sunday, March 25, 2018
Hanuman Jayanti   Saturday, March 31, 2018
Islamic Holidays*  
Eid-Al-Adha Friday, September 1, 2017
al Hijira Friday, September 22, 2017
Aashoraa Sunday, October 1, 2017
Mawlid al Nabiy Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Ramadan May 15 - June 14, 2018
Eid al-Fitr Saturday, June 15, 2018
Jewish Holidays (holidays begin at sundown of the previous day)  
Rosh Hashanah September 21-22, 2017
Yom Kippur Saturday, September 30, 2017
Sukkot October 5-11, 2017
Shemini Atzeret Thursday, October 12, 2017
Simchat Torah Friday, October 13, 2017
Chanukah December 13-20, 2017
Purim Thursday, March 1, 2018
Pesach March 31 - April 7, 2018
Shavuot May 20-21, 2018
Tisha B'Av Sunday, July 22, 2018
Vaisakhi Saturday, April 14, 2018

* All Islamic and certain Hindu and Buddhist holidays are calculated on a lunar calendar and are approximate.

Traditional Jews also observe a work-free Sabbath, beginning every Friday night shortly before sundown, and lasting for 25 hours.

See also: