Remember faith dates when planning this spring

Remember faith dates when planning this spring

March 7, 2014


By Communications Staff

As the winter semester draws to a close, it is important to remember key faith dates for which community members may need accommodation regarding scheduling of meetings, events and course requirements.

“Spring is an important time of renewal and celebration for people of diverse spiritualities. Being inclusive means respecting this faith diversity as well as meeting human rights obligations to accommodate as required,” says Queen’s Chaplain Kate Johnson.

Accommodating faith requirements can be accomplished proactively by not scheduling meetings, events or tests on important holy days, or by working with staff and students to provide appropriate accommodation on request when scheduling conflicts are unavoidable.

Several faith dates for which members of the community may require some form of accommodation take place over the next few weeks and should be kept in mind.

A number of communities will soon be observing the start of their new year. Friday, March 14 marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year. Nowruz will be celebrated on Friday, March 21 by Iranian, Zoroastrian, Baha’i and other Middle Eastern and South Asian community members. On Sunday April 13 and Monday April 14, Saka New Year is celebrated by Buddhist community members. The Hindu spring festival, Holi, will be observed on Monday, March 17.

Several important Jewish and Christian observances take place in the month of April. Members of the Jewish community observe the eve of Pesah on Monday, April 14 at sundown as well as the first and second and then the second last and final day of Pesah – April 15, 16, 21 and 22, respectively. Holy (Maundy) Thursday is observed by Christians on Thursday, April 17. Good Friday and Easter Sunday, observed on April 18 and 20 for Christians, are not expected to cause many scheduling difficulties as these are not normal operating days for the university. Some Christians may require accommodation on Easter Monday, April 21.

In addition, observant members of Sikh, Baha’i, Buddhist, Jewish, Aboriginal, Wicca, and Muslim communities may require consideration for the following observances/holy days:

• Sikhism: Vaisakhi (Monday, April 14)
• Baha’i: Ridván (Monday, April 21, Tuesday, April 29, Friday, May 2); Declaration of The Báb (Friday, May 23); Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh (Thursday, May 29)
• Buddhism: Wesak – Buddha Day (Wednesday, May 14)
• Judaism: Shavuot (Tuesday, June 3 to Thursday, June 5)
• Aboriginal spirituality/cultures: National Aboriginal Day (June 21)
• Wicca: Litha (June 21)
• Islam: Beginning of Ramadān (June 29)

Detailed information about faith dates requiring accommodation is available on the Chaplain’s Office website by clicking on the “faith dates” tab. Users may click on each particular faith date within the Multi-faith Calendar for more information about the observance.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to consult with the Chaplain's Office for guidance if they have questions about addressing requests for faith accommodation. While extensive, the multi-faith/cultural calendar listings are not exhaustive. Individuals and groups may celebrate holy days that do not appear on the calendar or may find it necessary to observe a particular festival on a different day than the one listed on the calendar (e.g. on the nearest weekend). Conversely, not all days listed in the calendar will require accommodation in the form of absence from the workplace or classroom.