Equality dates 2017 - 18

We present here a list of equality and diversity dates, including significant religious festivals. The purpose of including these is to give departments and individuals advance notice of the festivals for which staff might reasonably request leave. See www.admin.ox.ac.uk/personnel/during/leave/holiday for further advice.

The University of Oxford is a diverse community, with people from many religious and cultural backgrounds.  While this calendar is intended as a starting point, we  recognise that there may be other dates that are significant to individuals.  We encourage you to make any requests for annual leave in plenty of time.

If we have missed an important date or got something wrong please let us know: equality@admin.ox.ac.uk

February LGBT History Month  LGBT History Month at Oxford & lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/ 
1 Imbolc Celebrated by Pagans midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.
2 Candlemas Christians celebrate the presentation of the child Jesus, Jesus’ first entry into the temple, and the Virgin Mary’s purification (mainly in Catholic churches).
12 Clean Monday A day of strict prayer and fasting for Orthodox Christians. 
13 Maha Shivaratri A Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. 
13 Shrove Tuesday The day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. 
14 Ash Wednesday Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent and a day of penitence for Christians. 
15  Nirvana day Buddhists from the Mahayana tradition remember the death and enlightenment of the Buddha. 
16 Chinese New Year  
20 University LGBT History Month Lecture with Asad Dhunna www.admin.ox.ac.uk/eop/sexualorientation/lgbthm 
March Women's History Month womenshistorymonth.gov 
1 St Davids Day Patron saint of Wales
1 Purim Purim commemorates the time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination by the courage of a young Jewish woman called Esther.
1 - 20 The Nineteen Day Fast Bahá'í's fast from sunrise to sunset and spend extra time in prayer.
2 Holi At Holi Hindus celebrate spring and certain events in Hindu mythology.
8 International Women's day www.internationalwomensday.com
17 St Patrick's Day  Patron saint of Ireland
20 Spring Equinox  Pagans celebrate the rebirth of spring.
21 Noruz  Historically, Noruz is the traditional Iranian new year holiday, and is celebrated by more than one religious group.
25 Palm Sunday
Marking the beginning of Holy Week, Christians remember Jesus's arrival in Jerusalem.
25 Rama Navami  A Hindu celebration of the birth of Lord Rama.
23 Khordad Sal One of the most important festivals in the Zoroastrian and Parsi calendar, when they gather in fire temples for prayer and celebrate with feasting.
29 Maundy Thursday Christians remember the Last Supper which took place on the evening before Jesus's crucifixion.
30 Good Friday Christians remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
30 - 7 April
Passover (Pesach) On of the most important festivals in the year, Jews remember the Israelites' liberation from slavery in Egypt.
31 Hanuman Jayanti Hindu's celebrate the birth of the god Hanuman.

Easter Sunday

Commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in both Christianity and the Orthodox Church

Autism Awareness Day

14 Vaisakhi   A celebration of the founding of the Khalsa, the collective body of baptised Sikhs created in 1699.
20 -2 May Festival of Ridván Remember the 12 days that the Bahá'í founder, Bahá'u'lláh, spent in the Garden of Ridván 
1 Beltane A fire festival when Pagan's celebrate the arrival of summer and the fertility of the coming year. 
1 Lailat al Bara'a Muslims pray and ask God for forgiveness for their sins either at the mosque or at home.
8 - 14 Mental Health Awareness Week   
10 Ascension Day Christians celebrate the day when Jesus Christ is said to have ascended bodily into heaven. The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Ascension on the Sunday after.
15 - 21 Deaf Awareness Week 
15 - 14 June Ramadan A time of fasting and spiritual renewal for Muslims.
17 International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) 
19 - 21 Shavuot A harvest festival when Jews give thanks for the first fruits of the year. It also marks the time when Moses received the Torah on Mount Sinai.
29 Vesak / Buddha Day An important festival for Buddhist's, celebrating the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha.
24 Declaration of the Báb Bahá'ís celebrate the day in 1844, when the Báb foretold the coming of a new messenger from God.
31 Corpus Christi Christians celebrate the Eucharist (Holy Communion).


2 Oxford Pride
14 Ratha Yatra A Hindu festival traditionally celebrated in Orissa State on the east coast of India
15 Eid-al-Fitr Marking the end of the month-long fast during the Islamic month of Ramadan.
16 Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Guru Arjan Dev was the fifth of the ten Sikh Gurus and the first Sikh martyr.
20 Pentecost Christians celebrate the day when the Holy Spirit is said to have descended on Jesus's Apostles.
21 Summer Solstice Pagans celebrate Midsummer or Litha, which means 'standing still of the sun'.
27 Trinity Sunday Christians celebrate the belief in three aspects of the one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
10 Martyrdom of the Báb Bahá'ís mark the anniversary of the execution in 1850 of the Báb, the herald of the Bahá’í faith.
28 Dharma Day Buddhists from the Theravada tradition celebrate the teachings of the Buddha.