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   Friday, March 19 - Saturday, March 20, 2021


Bodhi Day Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Losar (Tibetan New Year) February 12-14, 2021
Vesak Wednesday, May 16, 2021
All Saints Day Monday, November 1, 2021
Epiphany (Orthodox) Wednesday, January 6, 2021
Ash Wednesday Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Clean Monday (Orthodox) Monday, March 15, 2021
Good Friday Friday, April 2, 2021
Easter Sunday Sunday, April 4, 2021
Holy Friday Friday, April 2, 2021
Easter (Orthodox) Sunday, May 2, 2021
Ganesh Puja Friday, September 10, 2021
Navratri October 7 - October 15, 2021
Diwali Thursday, November 4, 2021
Maakar Sankrantri Thursday, January 14, 2021
Shivaratri Thursday, March 11, 2021
Holi Sunday March 28 - Monday, March 29, 2021
Ram Navami Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Hanuman Jayanti   Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Islamic Holidays*  
Eid-Al-Adha July 19-23, 2021
al Hijra August 9-10, 2021
Aashoraa Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Mawlid al Nabiy Monday, October 18 - Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Ramadan April 12 - May 12, 2021
Eid al-Fitr Wednesday ,May 12 - Thursday, May 13, 2021
Jewish Holidays (holidays begin at sundown of the previous day)  
Rosh Hashanah September 6 - 9, 2021
Yom Kippur Wednesday, September 15 - Thursday, September 16, 2021
Sukkot September 20 - 27, 2021
Shemini Atzeret September 27-29, 2021
Simchat Torah Tuesday, September 28- Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Chanukah Sunday, November 28 - Monday, December 6, 2021
Purim Thursday, February 25th - Friday, February 26, 2021
Pesach March 27 - April 4, 2021

May 16 - 18, 2021

Tisha B'Av  July 17 - 18, 2021
Vaisakhi Wednesday, April 14, 2021

* 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: