Holy Days this year

ARRCC is grateful to the Faith Communities Council of Victoria for their diligent work putting together this calendar.


The following are major holy days and festivals for Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism and Sikhism. Whilst this list is not exhaustive it is comprehensive to represent each of the religions in good faith.

* Holy days (mainly Jewish, Islamic and Baha'i) which begin at sundown on the previous day listed.

** Local or regional customs may use a variation of this date.  






Thursday 5

Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji



Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708), the 10th and final Sikh master, created the Khalsa (the

Community of the Pure) and declared the Scriptures (Guru Granth Sahib) to be the Sikh's Guru from that time on.


Friday 6




Signifying the end of the 12 days of Christmas, Epiphany celebrates the visit of Three Kings to the infant Jesus as the occasion of the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles.


Saturday 7

Nativity [Orthodox]



Nativity is the Orthodox celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who is considered by Christians to be the Son of God, and the savior of all people.


Sat 7 – Mon 9

Mahayana New Year **



The Buddhist New Year depends on the country of origin or ethnic background of the people. In Mahayana countries the new year starts on first full moon day in January. A time to reflect on the past & cleanse oneself from prior year's sins, making a fresh start.


Friday 13




Maghi commemorates the sacrifice of the Chali Mukte (the Forty Liberated Ones), who sacrificed their own lives defending an attack by the imperial army in pursuit of Guru Gobind Singh. This took place in Khidrane di Dhab, on 29 December 1705.


Sun 15 – Wed 18




Pongal is a four-day harvest festival celebrated by Tamil people in India and Sri Lanka, dedicated to the Hindu Son of God Surya, thanking Surya for agricultural abundance.


Thursday 19

Epiphany [Orthodox]



Also known as The Feast of Theophany, this observance commemorates Christ's baptism by John the Baptist in the River Jordan.




Sunday 22

Chinese New Year



Also known as Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China and for Chinese people around the world. Celebrated by Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist practitioners.


Wednesday 15

Nirvana Day **



Nirvana Day (or Parinirvana Day) is a Mahayana holiday which celebrates the day when the Buddha is said to have achieved Parinirvana (complete enlightenment) upon the death of his physical body.


Saturday 18

MahaShivaratri **



MahaShivaratri (or ‘Great Night of Shiva’) is a festival celebrated in honour of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva, one of the deities of the Hindu Trinity.


Saturday 18

Lailat al Miraj *



Observance of Prophet Muhammad’s night journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and his ascension (al Miraj) to heaven and return the same night. Also known as ‘Night of Journey’ (al Isra).


Tue 21 – Thu 23

Tibetan New Year



The Tibetan New Year, also known as Losar, is a three-day festival where people visit monasteries, make offerings, receive blessings and take part in various activities symbolizing purification and welcoming in the new.


22 Feb – 6 Apr

Lent begins



Lent is the period of 40 days (not including Sundays) which comes before Easter, traditionally a time of fasting and reflection. The 40 days represents the time Jesus spent in the desert overcoming temptation by Satan. In Western Christianity, it begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Maundy Thursday.


27 Feb – 7 Apr

Great Lent [Orthodox]



Great Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter, traditionally a time of fasting and reflection. The 40 days represents the time Jesus spent in the desert overcoming temptation by Satan. In the Orthodox Church, Great Lent starts on Clean Monday and ends on the Friday before Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday.


Monday 6

Magha Puja Day **



Celebration of the presentation of teachings by the Buddha to a spontaneous gathering of 1250 arahants (holy men). Also known as ‘Great Assembly Day’ or ‘Sangha Day’.


Tuesday 7

Purim *



Commemorates the time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination by the courage of a young Jewish woman, Queen Esther. Preceded by the Fast of Esther, Purim is a joyous holiday.


Wednesday 8

Holi **



A joyous Hindu festival that celebrates love, spring and the victory of good over evil. People throw colored water or colored powder in celebration. Holika Dahan, the burning of an effigy of a mythical demoness named Holika, is performed the night before.




Wednesday 8

Lailat al Bara'ah *



On this night, God approaches the Earth to call humanity and to grant forgiveness of sins. Shia and Sunni interpretations may vary on the meaning of this date.


Wednesday 8

Hola Mohalla



An annual festival started by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, as a gathering of Sikhs for military exercises and mock battles.


Tuesday 21

Naw Ruz *



Naw Ruz is the Baha’i New Year which coincides with the vernal equinox. The inception of the Baha’i calendar was on 21 March 1844 CE with the declaration of the Bab, the Prophet-Herald of the Baha'i Faith.


23 March – 21 April

Ramadan * (**)



The holy month of Ramadan begins with the first light of dawn commemorating the revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet Muhammad. Throughout this month Muslims fast during daylight hours, celebrate an evening meal with family and friends, pray fervently and show charity to the poor.


Saturday 25




The Annunciation marks the visit of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, during which he told her she would be the mother of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.


Thursday 30

Rama Navami **



Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu and hero of the religious epic poem ‘The Ramayana’.


Sun 2 – Sat 8

Holy Week



Holy week is the last week before Easter. It begins with Palm Sunday (commemoration of the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem) and includes Maundy Thursday (commemoration of the first Lord’s Supper), Good Friday (commemoration of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ) and finishes on Easter Saturday (the one full day that Jesus Christ's body laid in the tomb).


Tuesday 4

Mahavir Jayanti



Celebrates the birth of Lord Mahavira, the 24th and last Tirthankar (enlightened spiritual Master) in Jainism. Images of Lord Mahavira are paraded through the streets while performing rituals and preaching about Lord Mahavira’s teachings.


Thu 6 – Sat 8

Theravada New Year



The Buddhist New Year depends on the country of origin or ethnic background of the people. In Theravadin countries (i.e., Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Lao) the new year is celebrated for three days from the first full moon day in April.


Thu 6 – Thu 13

Pesach *



An eight-day festival for families and communities to remember the time when Hebrew slaves were led by Moses out of Egypt to freedom. The festival begins with the Seder meal during which time the story of their deliverance is told. The first and last two days

are holidays. Also known as Passover.


Friday 7

Good/Holy Friday



Commemoration of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ




Sunday 9




The resurrection of Jesus Christ following his death by crucifixion.


Friday 14

Good/Holy Friday [Orthodox]



Commemoration of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.


Friday 14




Baisakhi (Vaisakhi) marks the founding of the Khalsa (the Brotherhood of the Pure) in 1699 CE by Guru Gobind Singh. The Khalsa is the collective body of all baptised Sikhs who carry the five articles of the faith - Kesh (uncut hair), Kirpan (ceremonial sword), Kara (steel bracelet), Kanga (comb) and Kaccha (undershorts).


Sunday 16

Easter/Pascha [Orthodox]



The resurrection of Jesus Christ following his death by crucifixion.


Monday 17

Lailat al Qadr *



First revelation of Qur'an (Islamic scriptures) to Prophet Muhammad in 610 CE. Also known as ‘Night of Power/Destiny’.


Tuesday 18

Yom HaShoah *



Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) is a day set aside to remember the six million Jews who died as victims of the Nazis during World War II and emphasizes respect for human dignity. Observed by many people of Jewish and other faiths.


21 Apr – 2 May

Ridvan *



Baha’i commemoration of the twelve-day period that Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i faith, spent in the Garden of Ridvan in the last days of his exile in Baghdad, and publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s messenger for this age. The first, ninth and twelfth days are celebrated as holy days and work is suspended.


Saturday 22

Eid ul Fitr *



An important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that celebratesthe end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Also known as the festival of the ‘Breaking of the Fast’.


Friday 5

Vesak / Buddha Day **



Vesak (Wesak) is the major Buddhist festival, celebrating the birth, enlightenment, and death of the Buddha. Also known as ‘Vishakha Puja’ or ‘Buddha’s Day’. The dates of this celebration vary significantly among Buddhist cultures and communities.


Wednesday 24

Declaration of the Bab *



The Baha’i commemorates when the Bab, the herald of the Baha’i Faith, announced in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran), that he was the herald of a new messenger of God.


Fri 26 – Sat 27

Shavuot *



Shavuot, also known as Feast of Weeks, commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah and Commandments to the nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai. Marks the conclusion of the seven weeks following Pesach. Originally a harvest festival.




Sunday 28




Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus seven weeks (50 days) after the Resurrection (Easter). It also commemorates the founding of the Christian Church, which begins on this day. [Celebrated on 12th of June by Orthodox Christians].


Monday 29

Ascension of Baha'ullah *




Baha’is observe the anniversary of the death in exile of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i faith, on May 29, 1892, outside Akko (now northern Israel).


Friday 16

Martyrdom of Guru Arjun Dev Ji



Guru Arjan Dev (1563-1606), the 5th Guru, was the first martyr-guru. He was responsible for the compilation of the Sikh scriptures in 1604 CE. He also helped to build the Golden Temple at Amritsar and emphasized that the Sikh way was open to all, regardless of caste.


Thursday 29

Eid Al Adha *



Commemorates Ibrahim’s (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of submission to God’s command. Also known as ‘Feast of Sacrifice’. One of the two main Islamic festivals (the other being Eid al Fitr).


Monday 3

Asalha Puja **



Asalha Puja commemorates Buddha’s first teaching (the Wheel of Dharma). Also known as ‘Dharma/Dhamma Day’, it is recognized as the beginning of Buddhism and the monastic Sangha (community of Buddhist monks and nuns).


Monday 10

Martyrdom of the Bab *



Baha’i commemoration of the anniversary of the execution of the Bab (Siyyid ‘Ali- Muhammad), the herald of the Baha’i Faith, by a firing squad on July 9 1850, in Tabriz, Persia (now Iran).


Wednesday 19

Hijra *



The Islamic year is marked by the event known as Hijra which occurred in 622 CE, when the Prophet Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina, where the first Islamic community was established.


Thursday 27

Tisha B'Av *



Tisha B’av (Fast of Av) is a day of mourning to remember events such as the destruction of the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem.


Friday 28

Ashura *



A voluntary day of fasting which commemorates the day Noah left the Ark, and the day that Moses was saved from the Egyptians by God. For Shia Muslims, Ashura is a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammad, in 680 AD at Karbala (now Iraq).




Tuesday 15

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary



Commemorates the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven - at the end of her life, Mary, the mother of Christ, was taken body and soul (i.e. both physically and spiritually) into Heaven. Also known as the Feast of the Assumption.


Wednesday 30




Ullambana, also known as Ancestor Day or Obon, is a Mahayana Buddhist ritual of making merit for the deceased. Lay devotees make offerings on behalf of their ancestors and dedicate the merit towards relieve of their suffering.


Wednesday 30

Raksha Bandhan **



‘Raksha' means protection and 'Bandhan' means to tie - a holy thread tied to the brother’s wrist by their sister defines the strong bond between them. Also known as Rakhi, this Hindu festival celebrates a brother-sister like relationship between relatives or biologically unrelated.


Wednesday 6

Krishna Janmashtami **



Krishna Janmashtami (or Jayanti) is the annual commemoration of the birth of the Hindu deity Krishna, the eighth avatar of the God Vishnu. Worship of Krishna is characteristically expressed in dance and song.


Mon 11 – Tues 19

Paryushana **



‘Paryushana’ means ‘to stay in one place’, signifying a time of reflection and repentance for nuns and monks. For lay Jains (Swetamber sect), this eight-day festival is an inward journey of reflection, a time for fasting, taking vows, and imposing restrictions on oneself to keep the mind firmly fixed on spirituality.


Sat 16 – Sun 17

Rosh Hashanah *



Jewish New Year festival, marked by the blowing of the horn (shofar) which begins the ten days of penitence culminating in Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). It is the beginning of the holiest time of the year for Jews, and the anniversary of the creation of the world.


Tuesday 19

Samvatsari **



Known as the Festival of Forgiveness, Samvatsari is celebrated on the last day of Paryushana. On this day, Jains (Swetamber sect) offer and seek forgiveness for their actions committed knowingly or unknowingly.


Tuesday 19

Ganesh Chaturthi **



Ganesh Chaturthi is a Hindu festival celebrating the birthday of Lord Ganesh, one of the major Hindu deities. Ganesh has the head of an elephant and is known as the remover of obstacles.


Tue 19 – Thu 28

Daslakshana **




Daslakshana is a ten-day festival celebrated by Jains (Digambara sect), honouring the ten cardinal virtues of the soul: forgiveness, humility, straight forwardness, contentment, truth, sensual restraint, austerities, charity, non-possessiveness, and celibacy.




Wednesday 20




Known as "Forgiveness Day", Kshamavani is celebrated on the last day of Daslakshana. On this day, Jains (Digambara sect) offer and seek forgiveness for actions committed knowingly or unknowingly.


Monday 25

Yom Kippur *



Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, characterized by repentance and forgiveness. Jewish people traditionally observe this holy day with fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services.


30 Sep – 6 Oct

Sukkot *



Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Booths, is an eight-day Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest. The name refers to the booths (sukkot) used by Israelites during the 40 years of wandering in the desert after the giving of the Torah atop Mt Sinai. Sukkot is celebrated 5 days after Yom Kippur.


Saturday 7

Shemini Atzeret *



Literally the “8th day of assembly,” this holiday marks the end of Sukkot with an annual prayer for rain.


Sunday 8

Simchat Torah *



Simchat Torah is a joyous festival in which the annual cycle of reading the Torah is over, and the cycle begins again for the year. The celebration typically includes singing, dancing, and marching with Torah scrolls.


Sun 15 – Mon 23

Navaratri **



Navaratri, which literally means ‘nine nights’, is a festival honouring the Goddess/Divine Mother and her energy/power (Shakti). This nine-day festival includes worshipping and dancing as people celebrate various aspects of the feminine.


Monday 16

Birth of the Bab *



The anniversary of the birth in 1819 CE in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran), of Siyyid ‘Ali- Muhammad, who later took the title of ‘the Bab’, meaning ‘the Gate’. The Bab was the herald of the Baha’i faith.


Tuesday 17

Birth of Baha'ullah *



The anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah (born Mirza Husayn-‘Ali) in 1817 CE in Tehran, Persia (now Iran). Baha’u’llah, which means the ‘Glory of God’, is the founder of the Baha’i faith.


Friday 20

Conferment of Guruship to Guru Granth Sahib



This day celebrates Guru Gobind Singh Ji's (10th Guru) passing on guruship to the holy scriptures, henceforth known as the Guru Granth Sahib. The Guru Granth Sahib, comprising of 1430 pages of hymns, presides the most prominent place and shines the light of Truth to all Sikhs or devotees who seek it. (Celebrated on 6th November in amended Nanakshahi calendar]





Tuesday 24




Dussehra (Vijaya Dashami, Dasara) is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. People celebrate Dussehra through special prayer meetings and food offerings to the gods at home or in temples.


Saturday 28

Kathina **



Kathina is a Theravadan Buddhist festival which comes at the end of Vassa, the three- month rainy season retreat. It is a time of giving where the laity express gratitude to the monks and nuns by offering them new robes and other necessities. Also, a time for Buddhists to give money to the poor or needy, called giving alms.


Wednesday 1

All Saints Day



All Saints Day honours exemplary Christians who achieved sainthood, especially those not having a special day. For many Christian denominations, all Saints Day is a remembrance of departed Christian people of any time and place.


Sunday 12

Bandi Chhor Divas (Diwali)



Bandi Chhor Divas, or ‘The Celebration of Freedom’, commemorates the release in 1619 CE from prison of the sixth Sikh guru, Sri Guru Hargobind Ji. Sikhs continue this annual celebration with lamps being lit outside gurdwaras & sweets distributed to all.


Sunday 12

Diwali **



Diwali, also known as Festival of Lights, is one of the most celebrated Hindu festivals, commemorating the victory of good over evil. Diwali means ‘row of lamps/lights’ and refers to the rows of lamps celebrants place around their homes or on top of temples.


Sunday 12 (or 13)

Mahavira Nirvana (Diwali)



This is India’s annual festival of lights, celebrated throughout the nation. In Jainism it has special significance, as on this day Lord Mahavira gave his last teachings and attained ultimate liberation (nirvana).


Friday 24

Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji



Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621-1675) was the 9th Guru of the Sikhs. He was publicly beheaded by the emperor of the day in 1675 for his defense of the Sikh faith and for upholding the right to practice religious freedom.


Sunday 26

Day of the Covenant



The Day of the Covenant is the agreement between the faith's founder, Bahaʼu'llah, and his followers, regarding the succession of leadership and the maintenance of unity. It commemorates Bahaʼu'llah’s appointment of his eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha, as the leader of the Baha'i community after his passing.


Monday 27

Birth of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji



Observes the birth of Guru Sri Guru Nanak Dev Sahib, the founder of the Sikh religion, born in 1469 CE. An accomplished poet, 974 of his hymns are part of the Guru Granth Sahib.




Tuesday 28

Ascension of Abdu’lBaha



Commemorates the passing of Abdu'l-Baha in 1921 in Haifa. Abdu'l-Baha was the eldest son of Baha'u'llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha'i faith, and named the leader of the Baha'i community in his father's will.


Friday 8

Bodhi Day



Bodhi Day is a holiday commemorating the day the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama reached enlightenment around 596 BCE. Prince Gautama took his place under the Bodhi tree vowing to remain there until he attained enlightenment.


Sun 3 – Sun 24




Advent is the period leading up to Christmas. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (Advent Sunday) and continues through to December 24th (Christmas Eve). In Western churches, Advent Sunday marks the beginning of Christian liturgical year.


Fri 8 – Fri 15

Hanukkah *



Hanukkah (Chanukah), also known as the Feast of Lights, is an eight-day festival commemorating the recapture and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem over occupying forces in 165 BCE.


Monday 25




Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who is considered by Christians to be the Son of God, and the savior of all people. [Celebrated on January 7th 2023 by some Orthodox Churches].


* Holy days (mainly Jewish, Islamic and Baha'i) which begin at sundown on the previous day listed.

** Local or regional customs may use a variation of this date.