As we approach a season of celebrations for many, let’s remember there are a variety of traditions and holidays recognized by a variety of cultures. The University of Central Oklahoma is a highly diverse institution, especially its student body. It is important that we practice inclusion through awareness of and respect for the celebrations and observances our community members hold dear. This may mean adjusting schedules, due dates, and expectations for students, faculty and staff.
If you want to honor these important days, we recommend you send a general survey out to your department to collect feedback on the traditions/holidays that are important to them, the dates they are observed on, and how they are observed. Discover if, when and how your colleagues or students want to observe those dates that may be important to them. Never assume an individual celebrates a specific holiday or tradition. See sample language at the end of this article for how to request feedback from your colleagues or students.
Following is a list of important dates to consider as you plan your curriculum, meetings, assignments, etc. Please note that these dates are subject to change based on the moon phases. Also note that this is not an exhaustive list of important dates.
* Asterisk symbol indicates the observance begins at sundown the day before.
^ Circumflex accent symbol indicates adherents may be fasting and therefore have less stamina.
~ Tilde symbol indicates the tradition may require adherents to miss work or class.
- 1 All Saints Day [Catholic, Protestant]
- 1 Samhain * [Wiccan/Pagan]
- 2 All Souls Day [Catholic]
- 11 Veterans Day [Federal]
- 15 Nativity Fast Begins ^ (goes thru Dec. 25) [Orthodox Christian]
- 24 Thanksgiving ~ [Federal]
- 26 Day of the Covenant * [Bahá’í]
- 28 Ascension of ʻAbduʼl-Bahá * [Bahá’í]
- 1-24 Advent [Catholic, Protestant]
- 8 Bodhi Day [Buddhist]
- 8 Immaculate Conception of Mary [Catholic]
- 16-24 Las Posados [Hispanic/Latinx Catholic, Protestant]
- 18-26 Hanukkah [Jewish]
- 21 Yule / Winter Solstice (North Hemisphere) [Wiccan/Pagan]
- 25 Christmas * ~ [Catholic, Federal, Mormon, Protestant]
- 26 Kwanzaa ~ (goes thru Jan. 1) [Cultural Observance]
- 1 New Year’s Day ~ [Federal]
- 1 Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God [Catholic]
- 1-3 Gantan-sai / Shogatsu ~ [Shinto]
- 5 Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji [Sikh]
- 6 Epiphany / Theophany / Dia De Los Reyes ~ [Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox Christian]
- 6 Christmas ~ [Armenian Orthodox Christian]
- 7-9 Feast of the Nativity / Orthodox Christmas ~ [Orthodox Christian]
- 7 Mahayana New Year (celebration on first full moon of year) ~ [Buddhist]
- 8 Bodhi Day [Buddhist]
- 13-14 Lohri – Maghi [Hindu, Sikh]
- 14 Orthodox New Year [Orthodox Christian]
- 15 Makar Sankranti [Hindu]
- 15 World Religion Day [Bahá’í]
- 17 Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday observed ~ [Federal]
- 19 Feast of the Epiphany ~ [Orthodox Christian]
- 20 Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji [Sikh]
- 22 Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) ~ [Buddhist, Interfaith]
- 27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day [Federal]
Sample language for collecting feedback on traditions/holidays that are important to your colleagues or students
It is important that the many cultures represented at UCO are recognized and appreciated. To that end, I would like to collect important dates that you recognize, whether they be general holidays, religious observances, or culture-specific traditions. Please list the names of the traditions/holidays, the dates on which they are observed, and how they are celebrated or observed. This is completely voluntary. You will NOT be penalized for choosing NOT to participate in this survey.
The Office of Inclusive Community is always here to provide support. Please reach out if there is anything we can do for you; InclusiveCommunity@uco.edu or 405-974-2953.
Awesome article with practical ways to include people! Culture and diversity is one of UCO’s greatest strengths.