Somewhere in the world, a meal, ritual, or offering is being prepared in religious observance—most likely by the busy adherents of Roman Catholicism or Hinduism. If Catholics celebrated every saint’s day or Hindus commemorated each deity’s birthday, nearly the entire year would be accounted for.
The Jewish calendar has dozens of holidays—but the Torah only mandates strict observance of the holiest five. Muslims, too, are holiday minimalists. In Islam the biggest celebrations are saved for the last days of its two major holidays: Id al-Fitr for Ramadan, and Id al-Adha to end the hajj pilgrimage.
Compiling a schedule of the holidays most widely observed by the world’s nine largest religions—as seen above—is no simple task. Different countries and regions, as well as denominations, celebrate their own versions of the holidays, and some religions follow a unique calendar. China’s lunar calendar runs on a 60-year cycle; India uses several types of calendars.