Guidance for D-Term Holy Days


Guidance for D-Term Holy Days   

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 Collegiate Religious Center know by email diversity@wpi.edu.    

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During D-Term, we recommend a few Holy days in which no major University sponsored events should be scheduled. We also ask that our community be aware of how these sacred periods of observance might require changes in eating patterns or fasting, which is not limited to one faith tradition in practice. With these lifestyle changes, changes in sleeping, eating, and physical activity levels are consequently affected. These changes can also affect the health and nutritional status of students and employees. Thus, our students and colleagues may be hungry, tired, lethargic, or dehydrated periodically throughout their day.  

 

For our Christian community, Ash Wednesday (February 14) will commemorate the period of time leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Ash Wednesday will begin this period of The Great Lent (February 14 – March 30) celebrated by Christians. Orthodox Christians and Western Christians share the belief that Jesus is believed to be the Savior, the Son of God. This period of time is a time of fasting and repentance in remembrance of the account of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert. People will enter into a time of contemplation, which can include a conscious review of spiritual life and journey. Classes will be held during the Lenten Season. Students and employees are likely to abstain from eating and drinking during the day from dawn to sunset. With this lifestyle change, changes in sleeping, eating, and physical activity levels are consequently affected. The Lenten Season ends with Easter celebrations ((C) – March 31th, (P) - March 31th (O) May 5th)) and students are likely to travel home or off campus during the sacred time.  

We also have a few recommendations for supporting the WPI Community:   

  • Be aware that many people may fast or give up certain foods or activities during Great Lent. This may not be a good time for large celebrations centered on food.  

  • If food is provided, vegetarian and pescatarian options are advised. 

  • Some Orthodox Christians may observe Ash Wednesday. 

For this year’s Lent, Dining Services will be providing support for Dietary Needs. Please reach out to Christian Carrasquillo at ccoredero@wpi.edu for more information. 

 

For our Islam community, Ramadan (March 10) begins the holy month. Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic lunar calendar. It is a month of fasting, worship, service, communal gathering, and spiritual development. Classes will be held during the Ramadan Season, and students and employees are likely to abstain from eating and drinking during the day from dawn to sunset, eating only within a short overnight period. With this lifestyle change, changes in sleeping, eating, and physical activity levels are consequently affected. Some may declare the month to begin a day before or after the predicted date. Likewise, the holiday commemorating the end of fasting, most often called Eid al-Fitr (April 10th) may fall on different days according to varying family, cultural, or interpretive preferences in D-Term. 

We also have a few recommendations for supporting the WPI Community:   

  • Be aware when Ramadan begins and ends.  

  • Assuming they are in good health, Muslim staff members, faculty members and students may be fasting during Ramadan. It is good to bear this in mind when planning activities, parties, etc., that involve food or beverages.  

  • Muslims may want to pray more frequently during Ramadan, so providing a private space for prayer is important. Many may want to take time off for the conclusion of Ramadan, called Eid al-Fitr. This is a time of celebration with gift giving and traditional foods.  

  • Muslim students/employees will fast during daylight hours, which may result in less stamina.  

  • Avoid scheduling important academic deadlines, events, and activities on Eid al-Fitr.  

  • For evening events, provide food accommodations as requested (Islamic dietary restrictions apply).   

For this year’s Ramadan, Dining Services will be providing meals are available in Morgan Hall from March 10 through April 9. Please reach out to Christian Carrasquillo at ccoredero@wpi.edu for more information. A survey has also been created to reflect information about this, which can be found at  

Link: Dine On Campus at Worcester Polytechnic Institute || Ramadan 

 

For our Jewish community, Passover marks the liberation of the children of Israel from bondage and their subsequent exodus from Egypt in an (8) day (April 22 – 30) celebration. A Passover seder - a meal following a specific ritual order retelling the story of the exodus, and including prayers, songs, and special food - is one of the most observed Jewish practices. In addition to attending seders, many Jewish individuals observe Passover by refraining from eating or benefiting from chametz - bread or wheat/grain products, for the duration of the holiday. *WPI does hold classes during the Passover season. With this lifestyle change, changes in sleeping, eating, and physical activity levels are consequently affected.  Wednesday April 30th marks the end of Passover and students are likely to travel home or off campus during the sacred time.  

We also have a few recommendations for supporting the WPI Community:   

  • Be sensitive to eating situations during Passover (Pesach) and consider providing a Kosher for Passover (Pesach)meal or option for those observing. 

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

  • If planning an event, provide food accommodation as requested (kosher restrictions might apply).

For this year’s Passover, Dining Services will be providing will be providing two meals, lunch and dinner. Students are encouraged to sign up early, especially if they have any allergies or additional restrictions.  A survey has been created to reflect this, which can be found at  

Link: Passover Meal Sign Ups Survey (surveymonkey.com) 

 

For our Hindu community, Holi (March 24 –25), the festival of colors, celebrates the victory of good over evil. It also celebrates the commencement of spring season in India after the winter season. It is celebrated with utmost joy throughout India, as the festival unites Hindus of all backgrounds. People of all ages celebrate Holi by dancing and smearing each other with vivid colors. The colors represent the range of human emotions and the diversity of life’s many experiences. Holi is generally celebrated on “Phalgun Purnima” (last full moon in March per the lunar calendar). On the night before Holi, a bonfire is lit, and people burn their old things, symbolically forgiving people who have hurt them in the past. Holi’s burning fire and colorful play represent the release of stored anger and other negative attitudes by believing in God’s power and keeping faith. Typical observance of Holi includes applying color to the face and spraying others around them with dry powder and colored water. Large bonfires are built, and singing, dancing and celebrations happen all day. *WPI does hold classes during Holi. Students are likely to travel home or off campus during this sacred time. 

We also have a few recommendations for supporting the WPI Community:   

  • Encourage stories from employees and students about the Holi festival. 

  • Remember that Holi is a fun-filled festival for Hindus. 

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

For this year’s Holi, Hindu YUVA will be providing will be providing programming and celebration for the festival. For more information, please reach out to @gr-hinduyuvaexec 

 

While there are Holy Days during D-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.   

"As our community gathers in observance of Lent, Ramadan, Passover, and Holi – we together remember how important it is to have resources for practice and access to nutrient dense foods for our physical and spiritual wellbeing."

Communication is key. The best thing community members can do is ask how individuals observing sacred practice(s) would like to be supported during this time.