Religious Holidays

Washington and Lee University values diverse religious perspectives and beliefs. Our students celebrate and value a variety of religious traditions. We are committed to supporting our students in observing their religious holidays, while also maintaining their commitment to their academic efforts. The catalog states the following university policy:

Any student who is unable, because of his or her religious holiday(s), to attend classes or to participate in any examination, study, athletic, or work requirement on a particular day shall be provided an opportunity to satisfy the requirement in a timely manner or shall be excused from the requirement. Specifically,

  • Undergraduate students should reach out to their faculty member, adviser, supervisor, or coach, within the first two weeks of class in fall or winter term, two days in spring term, and again prior to the religious holiday to discuss how best to make up the missed requirement.
  • Law students should reach out to their faculty member within the first two weeks of class in the relevant semester and again prior to the religious holiday to discuss how best to make up the missed requirement.

No adverse or prejudicial effects shall result to any student who makes use of this provision of university policy.

The faculty (including coaches) receive annual reminders of this policy and are encouraged to work carefully with students in anticipating and resolving conflicts to their mutual satisfaction.

As stipulated in the Faculty Handbook, apart from absences for observance of religious holidays, faculty may set their own attendance policies and have discretion to designate absences for other reasons as "excused" or "unexcused" based upon their professional judgement." (Revised policy approved by the faculty January 7, 2019)

A representative list of holy days for the 2020-21 academic year from several major traditions follows. These are only representative holidays and this list is not exhaustive. For a more complete listing, please visit the Interfaith Calendar.

Holiday/TraditionReligionDate(s)
Hajj Day Islam Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Eid-a-Adha Islam Friday, July 31, 2020
Rosh Hashanah Jewish September 18 - September 20, 2020
Dasara Hindu Sunday, October 25, 2020
Yom Kippur Jewish Sunday, September 27, 2020
Birth of the Báb Baha'i Saturday, October 17, 2020
Simchat Torah Jewish Saturday, October 10, 2020
Diwali Hindu Saturday, November 14, 2020
Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) Buddhist Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Feast of Immaculate Conception of Mary Christian Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Hanukkah Jewish December 10-18, 2020
Christmas Christian Friday, December 25, 2020
Solemnity of Mary Christian Friday, January 01, 2021
Feast of the Epiphany (Orthodox) Christian Wednesday, January 06, 2021
Mahayana New Year Buddhist Thursday, January 28, 2021
Nirvana Day Buddhist Monday, February 08, 2021
Magha Puja Day Buddhist Sunday, March 28, 2021
Holy Week (Orthodox) Christian March 28 - April 3, 2021
Good Friday Christian Friday, April 02, 2021
Therevada New Year Buddhist Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Passover Jewish Saturday, March 27 - Sunday, April 4, 2021
Easter Christian Sunday, April 04, 2021
Easter (Orthodox) Christian Sunday, May 02, 2021
Festival of Ridvan Baha'i Friday, April 16, 2021
Yom Ha Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Jewish Thursday, April 08, 2021
Buddha Day (Visakha Puja) Buddhist Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Declaration of the Bab Baha'i Sunday, May 23, 2021
Ascension of Bahá-u'lláh Baha'i Saturday, May 29, 2021
Ascension Day (Orthodox) Christian Thursday, June 10, 2021
Shavuot Jewish Monday, May 17, 2021