Calendar of Religious Holidays

JULY 2014


Martyrdom of the Bab (Baha'ism)

Marks the execution of The Bab (The Gate), the founder of the Baha'i faith. The Bab was executed on July 9, 1850. To celebrate this day, Baha'is read special prayers at noon, the time at which The Bab was killed. This is also a day of rest, no work is to be done.


St. Benedict Day (Catholic Christianity)

This day recognizes St. Benedict of Nursia, who lived from 480-547 AD. St. Benedict was the founder of Western Christian Monasticism, and started twelve communities for Monks in his lifetime.


Asalha Puja Day (Buddhism)

This day remembers the Buddha's first sermon, The Wheel of Truth, given in Deer Park. In Thailand, Asalha Puja is a government holiday and work is suspended. Buddhists observe the day by giving offerings at temples and listening to sermons.


Obon (Ullambana)(Japanese Buddhism)

Obon is the Japanese celebration similar to Ullambana - or Ancestor Day. It celebrates the reunion of passed ancestors with their living family. Extended families often reunite to return to ancestral places, and visit ancestor's graves.


Saint Vladimir's Day (Christianity)

Saint Vladimir, celebrated on this day in Orthodox and Catholic traditions, was born an illegitimate prince, who defeated his stepbrothers to become the sole leader of Russia in 980 AD. Known for his barbarism and immortality in his younger years, Vladimir later became interested in the Christian faith and converted himself and the people of Russia. He is the patron saint of Russia.


Laylat al-Qadr (Islam)

Meaning loosely "the night of power," this is identified as the night in which God first revealed the Qur'an to Prophet Muhammad. It is believed that this day holds more power in prayer than one-thousand months; thus many Muslims spend the whole day in prayer and reading the Qur'an. Sunni Muslims traditionally observe Laylat al-Qadr on the 27th day of Ramadan, while Shi'is believe the 23rd day to be the most important. Since the specific day of the revelation is uncertain, many Muslims spend the last 10 days of Ramadan focused on prayer.


Haile Selassi I Birthday (Rastafarianism)

This day celebrates Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974, who was believed to be an incarnation of God, or Jah, for Rastafarians. Thus, Haile Selassi is seen as part of the Holy Trinity.


Pioneer Day (Mormon Christianity)

Pioneer Day commemmorates the arrival of the first Mormon wagon train into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Some Latter-Day Saints recognize this holiday by walking the Pioneer trail and reinacting the events of '47. Although Pioneer Day started as a celebration for Mormon pioneers, this day is now a state holiday in Utah that recognizes pioneers from all faith and cultural backgrounds. Celebrations include fireworks, food, rodeos, intertribal powwows, and more.


St. James the Great Day (Christianity)

July 25th is the feast day for St. James the Great, the patron saint of Spain. One of the twelve apostles, James was also known for being a valiant knight and for preaching the gospel in Spain. He was executed by sword in Jerusalem - by order of Agrippa I - and thus became the first martyred saint. His body was returned to Spain, where many make pilgrimages to visit.


Vassa (Buddhism)

This date marks the start of a three-month retreat for monks during the rainy season in Asia. Worshippers often donate candles and other necessary supplies to temples.


Eid al Fitr (Islam)

Eid al Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. Ramadan recognizes Muhammad's divine revelation from Allah, as recorded in the Qur'an. During this period, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and time is focused on prayer, charity and self-reflection. On Eid al Fitr, Muslims celebrate the end of fasting, and give thanks to Allah for giving them the strength to practice self-control during Ramadan.