The students, faculty, and staff of The Graduate School form a diverse community with a rich array of cultural experiences and religious backgrounds. The calendar below shares the holidays and observances that The Graduate School recognizes and celebrates together with our community.
New Year's Day (January 1): The first day of the new year is a federal and a Duke holiday.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15): A federal (and Duke) holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Black History Month (all month): An annual celebration of Black American culture and achievements, and a time for recognizing the role Black Americans have played in our history.
Lunar New Year (February 10): The start of a 15-day festival for Chinese (and many Asian) people of all religions. Family reunions with thanksgiving and remembrance of departed relatives take place. Traditionally a religious ceremony honors Heaven and Earth. In the Chinese zodiac, 2024 will be the year of the dragon.
Ash Wednesday (February 14): Christian observance to begin the 40-day season of Lent. Ashes are marked on worshippers as a sign of penitence.
International Women's Day (March 8): An internationally recognized day to celebrate womanhood and women's suffrage. The entire month of March is also recognized as National Women's History Month.
Ramadan (March 10-April 9): A month of fasting, reflection, prayer, and community observed by people of Muslim faith. Participating adult Muslims fast between sunrise and sunset.
Easter (March 31): A major Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his burial and crucifixion.
Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31): An awareness day dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of transgender, non-binary and gender nonconforming people while raising awareness of the work that still needs to be done to achieve trans justice.
Graduate-Professional Student Appreciation Week (April 1-5): A week celebrating the important role that graduate and professional students play on campus!
Eid al-Fitr (April 9-10): A Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, celebrated with presents, new clothes, prayer, and visiting friends.
Earth Day (April 22): An annual holiday to celebrate a healthy environment and show support for environmental protection.
Passover (April 22-30): 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.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (all month): A month dedicated to celebrating Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States and their contributions to our culture and history.
Cinco de Mayo (May 5): A celebration originally held to commemorate the victory of Mexico over France in 1862, which has since become a celebration of Mexican-American culture observed in the United States.
Memorial Day (May 27) - A federal (and Duke) holiday held to honor and mourn military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
LGBTQ Pride Month (all month): Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) month is held each year as a celebration of the contributions the LGBTQ community has made to our history and culture and to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States.
Juneteenth (June 19): A holiday celebrating the emancipation from slavery in the United States, held on the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when Union Army general Gordon Granger proclaimed freedom from slavery in Texas.
Eid al-Adha (June 16-17): A major holiday celebrated in Islam that honors the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to God's command.
Independence Day (July 4): A federal and Duke holiday commemorating the Declaration of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1776.
Islamic New Year (July 7-8): Also called the Hijri New Year or Arabic New Year, is the day that marks the beginning of a new lunar Hijri year, and the day on which the year count is incremented.
National Disability Independence Day (July 26): This holiday commemorates the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Labor Day (September 2): A federal holiday celebrated on the first Monday of September to honor the American labor movements and its contributions to the United States.
Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15): National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans from all of Latin America.
Rosh Hashanah (October 2-4): The Jewish new year, traditionally celebrated with attending synagogue, personal reflection, and eating apples dipped in honey to evoke a sweet new year.
Yom Kippur (October 11-12) A Jewish day of atonement and repentance for one's personal sins and to many Jews the most important holiday of their faith. Jews traditionally observe Yom Kippur with fasting, attending synagogue, resting, and atonement.
Indigenous People's Day (October 14): A holiday celebrating and honoring the Indigenous people of North America as well as their culture and contributions to society.
Halloween (October 31): A celebration observed on the eve of the Catholic holiday All Saint's Day, which has also evolved into a secular celebration of the dead, scary stories, costumes, and "trick or treating" for candy.
Diwali (October 31-November 4): Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights, which typically lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November). One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.”
Native American Heritage Month (entire month): Native American Heritage Month is a month-long observation of the Native people of North America, as well as an opportunity to educate the general public about Native nations, raise awareness about the challenges Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which Indigenous citizens have worked to conquer these challenges.
Dia de los Muertos (November 2): A Mexican holiday associated with All Saint's Day, celebrated by praying for and remembering departed friends and family members.
Veteran's Day (November 11): Veteran's Day is a United States federal holiday observed annually on November 11, honoring and remembering all those who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
Thanksgiving (November 23): A day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year; Thanksgiving is observed on the 4th Thursday of November, and it is both a federal and Duke holiday.
Christmas Eve and Day (December 24-25): An annual Christian (and Duke) holiday with both religious and secular celebrations. The name is a joining of “Christ” and “mass," commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.
Hanukkah (December 25-January 2): Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the second century A.D. It is often celebrated with the lighting of menorah candles, as well as traditional foods, games, and gifts.
Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1): An African-American and Pan-African holiday celebrating family, community and culture, Kwanzaa is a secular observance with some religious participation. Each day of Kwanzaa celebrates a different life virtue.
New Year's Eve (December 31): The final night of the year, often celebrated by staying up until the start of the next calendar year at midnight.
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