Religious observances which may impact on university activities in 2023/24
This is to advise of the dates of various key religious festivals which are likely to be observed by both staff and students in the course of this academic year. As always, this is not meant to be an exhaustive or complete list of all religious activities, but it concentrates on those where religious obligations may have an impact on aspects of our life and activities together.
The agreed policy is that any requests from students to be absent during term-time for necessary religious observance should be considered by Departments/Faculties as they arise, although the position is that the university is happy to consider such requests for absence for religious reasons as long as they are made sufficiently in advance, and appropriate alternative arrangements should be made to ensure that students are not disadvantaged by their religious observance (see the Timetable Policy at https://www.kcl.ac.uk/governancezone/Assets/Teaching/Timetable-Policy.pdf). Staff members are advised to inform their line managers as soon as possible in advance if they are likely to need leave for religious reasons at any point in the year.
September & October
Arbaeen (Shia Muslim): evening of Tuesday 5 September to the evening of Wednesday 6 September. Work should be avoided so time off may be requested on one or both days.
Janmasthami (Hindu): Thursday 7 September. Those observing may fast during the day, and/or may request time off (although this is not required)
The following festivals occur during the first few weeks of the new academic year, when it will be difficult for new students to make requests in advance if the need for absence is in their first few weeks at King’s, so some flexibility and understanding will be required:
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year festival): sunset on Friday 15 September to nightfall on Sunday 17 September. Work and travel must be avoided, so those observing will request time off, especially so that they can be home by sunset on the Friday.
Yom Kippur (holiest Jewish festival): sunset on Sunday 24 September to nightfall on Monday 25 September. Work and travel must be avoided, so those observing will request time off (NB: Monday is the first day of Semester I).
Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simchat Torah (Jewish): sunset on Friday 29 September to nightfall on Sunday 8 October. Work and travel must be avoided for the days at the start and end of the festival, so those observing may request time off either for 29 September to 1 October and for 6 to 8 October, or for the whole period.
Diwali (Hindu, Jain Festival of Lights)/Bandi Chor Divas (Sikhi): Monday 13 November. Time off for observance may be requested, but is not required.
Birthday of Guru Nanak (Sikhi): Monday 27 November. Time off for observance should not be required.
Hanukkah (Jewish): sunset on Thursday 7 December to nightfall on Friday 15 December. Work does not need to be avoided, but at this time of year those observing will need to leave early/mid-afternoon each day to be at home by sunset.
Rohatsu (Buddhist): Friday 7 December. Observance may involve overnight meditation and/or fasting, which may affect those observing.
Christmas (Christian): Monday 25 December. King’s will close for the holiday break at the end of the day on Thursday 21 December and re-open on Tuesday 2 January (Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 December are bank holidays).
March & April
Ramadan (Muslim holy month): on or around Monday 11 March to on or around Tuesday 9 April. Work does not need to be avoided, but those observing may be fasting during daylight hours, which may particularly affect those on placement. Friday prayers are especially important, which will particularly affect Fridays 15 and 22 March (Friday 29 March is a bank holiday, and Friday 5 April is in the vacation).
Purim (Jewish): sunset on Saturday 23 March to nightfall on Monday 25 March. Work and travel should be avoided, so time off for observance will be requested.
Holi (Hindu): Sunday 24 March. Time off for observance should not be required.
Easter (Catholic & Protestant Christian): Sunday 31 March. Due to the Good Friday bank holiday on Friday 29 March, Semester II will end on Thursday 28 March.
Eid al-Fitr (Muslim, end of Ramadan): on or around Wednesday 10 April, depending on sighting of the moon. Time off for observance may be requested.
Vaisakhi (founding Sikhi festival): Saturday 13 April. Time off for observance may be requested.
Pesach (Jewish): sunset on Tuesday 23 April to nightfall on Tuesday 30 April. Work and travel must be avoided on the first two days and the last two days, so those observing will request time off for Tuesday 23, Wednesday 24, Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 April. This may therefore affect the first few days of Exam Period II.
Easter (Orthodox Christian): Sunday 5 May. Those observing may request time off for Friday 3 May (Holy Friday).
Vesak (holiest Buddhist day): Thursday 23 May. Time off for observance may be requested, which may affect scheduling during Exam Period II.
If there are instances where observance of a religious festival coincides with exams or with teaching which may still be happening (for instance in the Medical or Dental Faculties), please advise such clashes to Faculties/Departments and the Examinations Office AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY, copying in the relevant Chaplain, so that appropriate alternative arrangements can be made:
Buddhist: Hogets Baerndal
Jewish: Rabbi Dr Harrie Cedar
Orthodox Christian: The Revd Alexander Fostiropoulos
Shavuot (Jewish): sunset on Tuesday 11 June to nightfall on Thursday 13 June. Work and travel must be avoided, so those observing will request time off for Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 June; there may be a need to leave early on Tuesday 11 June to be home by sunset, but in London in June this is less likely.
Eid al-Adha (Muslim): Sunday 16 June to Monday 17 June. Those observing may request time off for Monday 17 June.
Ashura (Shia Muslim): Tuesday 16 July to Wednesday 17 July. Work should be avoided as far as possible, so those observing may factor this into their annual leave planning.