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Interfaith and Inclusive Holiday Observances for April 2022

Several major religious and holiday observances take place in April. The Office for Institutional Equity recognizes that for many in the Duke community, spiritual beliefs help to create personal identities. We have compiled a non-exhaustive list of major religious and holiday observances occurring this month.

  • Ramadan (April 2-May 2): A month of fasting, reflection, prayer, and community observed by people of Muslim faith. Participating adult Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset. You may also learn more about Ramadan and special programming from the Duke Center for Muslim Life website or @dukecml on Instagram.
  • Holy Week (April 10-April 16): Begins with Palm Sunday (April 10), which commemorates the triumphal arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem and is associated in many churches with the blessing and procession of palms. Religious observation continues with services at noon each day following Palm Sunday. Maundy or Holy Thursday (April 14) commemorates the washing of the feet and the Last Supper of Jesus with the Apostles. It is observed the Thursday before Easter Sunday. Good Friday (April 15) commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Observed on the Friday before Easter Sunday. Holy Saturday or Easter Vigil (April 16) commemorates the final day of Christ’s death and marks the final day of Lent, which is traditionally associated with his triumphant descent into hell. Observed the Saturday before Easter Sunday. Learn more about Holy Week and Easter at Duke Chapel on their website or @dukechapel Instagram.
  • Baisakhi (April 14): Also known as Vaisakhi, is a regional Indian holiday that is celebrated on the 13th or 14th of April each year. Vaisakhi is one of the most important festivals for Sikhs. Millions of Sikhs in India and around the world celebrate the start of the Punjabi New Year. It is traditionally a spring harvest festival for many Indians.
  • Passover (April 15-23): A major Jewish holiday commemorating the exodus of the Israelite people from slavery in Egypt. Passover lasts for seven days and eight nights and is traditionally held with a dinner called a Seder on the first night. You may also learn more about Passover and special programming from Jewish Life at Duke website or @jewishlifeatduke on Instagram.
  • Easter Sunday (April 17): A major Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his burial and crucifixion. Learn more about Holy Week and Easter at Duke Chapel on their website or @dukechapel Instagram.
  • The Festival of Ridván (April 21-May 2): A holiday celebrated by those of the Baha’i Faith, commemorating the 12 days when Baha’u’llah, the prophet-founder, resided in a garden called Ridván (Paradise) and publicly proclaimed His mission as God’s messenger for this age. Bahá’ís suspend work and school on specific Holy Days. Learn more about the Baha’i Faith.
  • Day of Silence (April 22): A student-led national event where people take a vow of silence to highlight the silencing, erasure, harassment, and discrimination of LGBTQ+ people at school. Started in the mid 90’s by two college students, the Day of Silence has expanded to reach hundreds of thousands of students each year. Every April, students go through the school day without speaking, ending the day with Breaking the Silence rallies and events to share their experiences during the protest and bring attention to ways their schools and communities can become more inclusive. Learn more from the Duke Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity website or @duke_csgd on Instagram.
  • Earth Day (April 22): An annual global event that was first held in 1970 to express support for environmental protection. Learn more and find activities to celebrate the day from Duke GardensDuke News.
  • Eastern Orthodox Easter (April 24): Many Greek, Russian and other Orthodox churches will observe Easter on Sunday on April 24 this year.

The Office for Institutional Equity encourages members of the Duke community to check with their respective academic schools, departments, and units about religious accommodations. More information on Duke holidays is available on the Duke HR website.

By Maria Moreno