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 20, 2020


Bodhi Day Thursday, January 2, 2020
Losar (Tibetan New Year) February 24-26, 2020
Vesak Thursday, May 7, 2020
All Saints Day Friday, November 1, 2019
Epiphany (Orthodox) Monday, January 6, 2020
Ash Wednesday Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Clean Monday (Orthodox) Monday, March 2, 2020
Good Friday April 10, 2020
Easter Sunday Sunday, April 12, 2020
Holy Friday Friday, April 17, 2020
Easter (Orthodox) Sunday, April 19, 2020
Ganesh Puja Monday, September 2, 2019
Navaratri September 29-October 8, 2019
Diwali Sunday, October 27, 2019
Maakar Sankrantri Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Shivaratri Friday, February 21, 2020
Holi March 9-10, 2020
Ram Navami Thursday, April 2, 2020
Hanuman Jayanti   Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Islamic Holidays*  
Eid-Al-Adha July 30-31, 2020
al Hijra August 19-20, 2020
Aashoraa Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Mawlid al Nabiy Sunday, November 10, 2019
Ramadan April 23 - May 23, 2020
Eid al-Fitr Sunday, May 24, 2020
Jewish Holidays (holidays begin at sundown of the previous day)  
Rosh Hashanah September 29-October 1, 2019
Yom Kippur Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Sukkot October 14-20, 2019
Shemini Atzeret October 21-22, 2019
Simchat Torah Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Chanukah December 23-30, 2020
Purim Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Pesach April 9-16, 2020

May 29-30, 2020

Tisha B'Av Wednesday, July 30, 2020
Vaisakhi Monday, April 13, 2020

* 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: