Interfaith Calendar – Holy Days, Celebrations and Festivals in January 2012

Interfaith calendar dates are shown using the Gregorian (Western) calendar. Some dates may vary regionally because they are determined by the lunar calendar. Jewish festivals usually begin at sunset on the previous day.


New Year’s Day (Secular )

The start of the Western calendar year


Oshogatsu or Gantan-Sai (Shinto)

Shinto New Year, one of the most popular occasions for shrine visits, to thank the kami, ask the kami to give them good fortune in the coming year, and make their new year resolutions in the presence of the kami.

Festival of St Basil the Great (Christian)

St Basil is one of the great fathers of the Orthodox Church.


Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh (Nanakshahi calendar) (Sikh)

Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708) was the last of ten Sikh Gurus. He established the Five Ks and in 1699 began the Order of the Khalsa (Pure) who trained as warriors and wore five visible signs of following of the Sikh religion – Kesh (uncut hair), Kara (a steel bracelet), Kanga (a wooden comb), Kaccha – also spelt, Kachh, Kachera (cotton underwear), and Kirpan (steel sword). Today all practicing Sikhs form the Khalsa .


Epiphany (Christian)

Celebrates the visit of the wise men to the baby Jesus.

Christmas Day (Armenian Orthodox) (Christian)

Armenian Christians celebrate Christ’s birth at Epiphany, except for Armenians in the Holy Land, who celebrate Christmas on January 19th.

Feast of Theophany (Orthodox) (Christian)

Orthodox churches mark the baptism of Jesus on this day.


Christmas Day (Ethiopian) (Rastafari)

Rastafarians believe Ethiopia to be their spiritual homeland, and a place to which they want to return.

Christmas Day (Orthodox) (Christian)

Many Orthodox churches use the Julian rather than the Gregorian version of the Western calendar and celebrate Christmas 13 days later than other Christian churches.


First Sunday after Epiphany (Christian)

Epiphany takes place on the 6th of January, but most Christians celebrate it on the first Sunday after that date.

Baptism of the Lord (Christian)

Commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. Occurs on the first Sunday after Epiphany. Catholics and Episcopalians celebrate this holy day, but Eastern Christianity celebrates the baptism of Jesus at Epiphany.


Mahayana New Year (Buddhist)



St Hilary’s Day (Christian)

According to tradition, “St. Hilary’s is the coldest day of the year.” St. Hilary was a fourth century Bishop of Poitiers.


Makar Sankranti / Lohri  / Kicheri / Pongol (India, Various)

Makar Sankranti / Lohri / Kicheri  /Pongol is one of the most important festivals of the Indian calendar and celebrates the sun’s journey into the northern hemisphere. It is celebrated in a variety of ways throughout the different regions in India.


World Religion Day (Baha’i)

Seijin Shiki (Adults’ Day) (Shinto)

Japanese who have reached legal adulthood (20 in Japan) in the previous year attend a shrine to give thanks.

18 – 25

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity  (Christian)

First celebrated in 1908. The days of 18-25 January (regardless of the days of the week involved) were originally chosen because they covered the days between the feast of St Peter and the feast of St Paul. Some churches and regions use a different week.


Timkat (Ethiopian Orthodox Christian)

celebration of Epiphany and the  Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, and re-enactments of the baptism form an integral part of the celebration.


St Agnes (St Ines) (Christian)

Patron saint of girls, who was martyred at the age of 13.


Chinese New Year (Chinese)

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese calendar, and marks the end of the winer season. The festival begins on the first day of the first month in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival which is on the 15th day


St Paul’s Day (Christian)

Anglicans and Catholics celebrate St Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. Subsequently, Paul traveled around the Mediterranean spreading the word of Jesus, wrote 13 of the 27 books of the bible, and came up with the doctrine that would turn Christianity from a small sect of Judaism into a worldwide faith that was open to all.


St Thomas Aquinas (Christian)

Doctor of the Church and patron saint of students and theologians.

Vasant Panchami (Hindu)

Dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of learning and Brahma’s wife. The festival marks the beginning of Spring.


Birthday of Guru Har Rai (Nanakshahi calendar) (Sikh)

Guru Har Rai (1630-1661) was the seventh of the Sikh Gurus.



Adapted from “Multifaith Calendar”

One thought on “Interfaith Calendar – Holy Days, Celebrations and Festivals in January 2012”

  1. Lots of opportunities for celebration, including quite a few Christian holidays I have never heard of…. Very educational again Mrs. Yates.

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