Global Religious Observances Calendar highlights diversity, promotes inclusion

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The Rafat and Zoreen Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion has created a free resource to help the Notre Dame community stay informed about faith traditions and celebrations that may be observed by students and colleagues.

The Global Religious Observances Calendar includes major holidays recognized not only by Christians, but also people of the Bahai, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and other faiths. 

The idea for the calendar came from Mahan Mirza, the Ansari Institute’s executive director. Mirza leads the institute in its mission of studying, learning from, and collaborating with religious communities worldwide for the common good. So it stands to reason that Mirza was also looking for ways to help Notre Dame faculty, staff, and students increase their awareness of different religious holidays and celebrations to contribute to a more respectful and inclusive campus environment.

“When we think of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we generally foreground issues related to race and gender, which are very important. But religious identity is also very important,” Mirza said. “The calendar is a small but significant way to help communities be more inclusive of religious diversity in the workplace.”

The observances can be imported into any Google calendar  for an easy reference to upcoming events. (Click here to learn more.

And it’s more than just a listing. The calendar also includes helpful descriptions of the celebrations and tips for supporting those who are observing.

For example, the Bahá’í holy day Declaration of the Báb takes place May 24, 2023. There’s information in the institute’s calendar entry that explains what the day commemorates and provides a link to learn more about the Bahá’í faith. And for Ramadan, Islam’s holy month of fasting observed earlier this year, the calendar entry highlights the fact that some people may be abstaining from eating and drinking with the note, “If you are scheduling a lunchtime event, consider providing takeaway lunches.”

In a December interview with NDWorks, Mirza explained how Notre Dame’s Catholic character makes it easy for him, a Muslim, to practice his faith freely and fully on campus. 

“At other universities that are secular, you have to be very transactional, but here you can [ask yourself] how you relate this to what you believe, to your sense of purpose in life, and how does it conflict with your beliefs, how do you reconcile what you’re learning here with what you’ve brought with you. Those are incredible opportunities for us at an institution like this,” he shared.

The calendar features a diverse mix of holidays from religions around the world. The Ansari Institute community is working to share the calendar with stakeholders across campus and beyond in the hopes that it can help promote diversity and inclusion.

Additional observances can be suggested for the calendar by emailing