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 2019-20 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 Friday, August 09, 2019
Eid-a-Adha Islam August, 12-15, 2019
Rosh Hashanah Jewish September 30 - October 1, 2019
Dasara Hindu Tuesday, October 08, 2019
Yom Kippur Jewish Wednesday, October 09, 2019
Birth of the Báb Baha'i Sunday, October 20, 2019
Simchat Torah Jewish Tuesday, Ocotber, 22, 2019
Diwali Hindu Sunday, October 27, 2019
Bodhi Day (Rohatsu) Buddhist Sunday, December 8, 2019
Feast of Immaculate Conception of Mary Christian Sunday, December 08, 2019
Hanukkah Jewish December 23-30, 2019
Christmas Christian Wednesday, December 25, 2019
Solemnity of Mary Christian Wednesday, January 01, 2020
Feast of the Epiphany (Orthodox) Christian Monday, January 06, 2020
Mahayana New Year Buddhist January 10-12, 2020
Nirvana Day Buddhist Saturday, February 08, 2020
Magha Puja Day Buddhist Monday, March 09, 2020
Holy Week (Orthodox) Christian April 5-11, 2020
Good Friday Christian Friday, April 10, 2020
Therevadin New Year Buddhist April 9-11, 2020
Passover Jewish April 8-16, 2020
Easter Christian Sunday, April 12, 2020
Easter (Orthodox) Christian Sunday, April 19, 2020
Festival of Ridvan Baha'i Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Yom Ha Shoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Jewish April 20-21, 2020
Buddha Day (Visakha Puja) Buddhist Thursday, May 07, 2020
Declaration of the Bab Baha'i Saturday, May 23, 2020
Ascension of Bahá-u'lláh Baha'i Friday, May 29, 2020
Ascension Day (Orthodox) Christian Friday, May 29, 2020
Shavuot Jewish May 29-30, 2020