Campus Guidance for A-Term High Holy Days

Photo of 'Magi' from Dura Europas

Holy Days or Days of Awe are observed across religious and spiritual traditions. These dates and periods of observance mark sacred time in the practices of those who hold identities around religious and religio-cultural traditions. For our campus community, we strive to make the Holy Days Calendar and guidance as accurate as possible and to describe the holy days, their significance, and the nature of observance correctly. If you find a mistake, please let the Center know by email   

During A-Term, we recommend a few Holy days in which no major University sponsored events should be scheduled. 

 For our Hindu Community, Sri Krishna Janmashtami (September 6-7) is an important festival, particularly in the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism. The celebratory customs associated with Janmashtami include a celebration festival, reading and recitation of religious texts, dance and enactments of the life of Krishna according to the Bhagavata Purana, devotional singing till midnight (the time of Krishna's birth), play of Dahi Handi, and fasting. We also have a few recommendations for supporting the WPI Community:  

  • Hindu students/employees observing this holy day would be fasting, and/or schedule to take some time off for temple visits and to celebrate the festival. 

  • Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, and activities. 


For our Jewish Community, Rosh Hashanah (September 15 –16) is the Jewish New Year, starting at sunset and continuing for two days. On Rosh Hashanah, observers attend religious services and celebratory meals. Rosh Hashanah also marks the beginning of the Ten Days of Repentance, which conclude on Yom Kippur. Following Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur (September 24 – 25) is also known as the Day of Atonement. Jewish community members observe Yom Kippur with a 25 hour fast (this does not include children, or those unable to fast for health/safety reasons) and religious services. We also have a few recommendations for supporting the WPI Community 

  • Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, and activities.  
  • Jewish students and employees may be fasting all day. 


While there are Holy Days during A-Term, these are a few we recommend avoiding in your scheduling. Although students are not automatically excused from class for observance, they may work with their course instructors to make accommodations. Faculty/Staff members may request paid time off for these observances. Supervisors are highly encouraged to support their preference to take leave for their religious observance.  


For our campus community, communication is key. The best thing community members can do is to ask how to support individuals observing holy day(s).        

-Kalvin Cummings (He/Him), Assistant Director for Religion and Spiritual Life

For Religious Diversity Resources and Calendars for Planning Campus Programs, Events, and Activities, please see Religious Holidays and Observances | Worcester Polytechnic Institute (