Monthly Archives: February 2017

CHRISTIANITY | Shrove Tuesday

28 February 2017

Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the beginning of Lent, which takes place over a period of forty days and forty nights in respect of the time Jesus is said to have spent fasting in the desert. ‘Shrove’ comes from the Old English scrīfan, which the Catholic Church adopted to refer to the act of assigning penance to sinners and, later, to hearing confession and administering absolution. For more on the etymology of shrive please click here

In Great Britain, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day because people traditionally make pancakes to use up the eggs, fats and milk that are forbidden during Lent. For more information about shrove Tuesday please click here

CHRISTIANITY | Shrove Tuesday 2017-09-12T10:42:20+00:00


27 February 2017

Clean Monday is a feast day taking place on the first day of the seventh week before the Orthodox Easter Sunday. As it marks the beginning of ‘Great Lent’, when Orthodox Christians observe a period of strict prayer and fasting, Clean Monday is often celebrated with picnic feasts and outdoor activities. From the Greek Kathari Deftera, the name ‘Clean Monday’ refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods.

Great Lent corresponds with the Lent of Western Christianity; both take place over a period of forty days and forty nights in direct respect of the time Jesus is said to have spent fasting in the desert.

For more information please click here

CHRISTIANITY [EASTERN ORTHODOX] | Clean Monday 2017-09-12T10:42:27+00:00

HINDUISM | Maha Shivaratri

24 February 2017

Falling in February or March, on the 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun, Maha Shivaratri is the time at which Hindus honour Lord Shiva, one part of the Hindu Trinity of deities. In addition to honouring the God Shiva, Maha Shivaratri is also a celebration of the divine marriage between Shiva and the goddess Parvati. In respect to Lord Shiva, Hindus observe a day and night fast, as well as enacting sacred rituals.

For more information please click here

HINDUISM | Maha Shivaratri 2017-09-12T10:42:34+00:00

New Video about our 2017 Landscape Conference

Preparations are under way for ‘GROWING GARDENERS’, our ‘Shore to Shore’ conference to be held in Essaouira and Marrakesh from 10-12th May. Our media partners, Marrakesh7, have started to raise interest already as this video shows. We are delighted to be working with them and other Moroccan and Spanish partners to create an event that should stimulate an interest in gardening as a cultural meeting point for young people in all three countries.

New Video about our 2017 Landscape Conference 2017-04-22T16:50:08+00:00

BUDDHISM [Mahayana Countries] | Parinirvana

15 February 2017

Parinirvana or ‘Nirvana Day’, is the day when the death and enlightenment of the Buddha is remembered by Buddhists in the majority of Mahayana countries. Siddhartha Gautama was a wealthy prince who became disillusioned and renounced his wealth and family when he discovered the harsh realities of the world beyond the palace walls. Determined to understand the truth of life, he decided one day to sit beneath the Bodhi Tree* (the tree of awakening). After meditating deeply on the subject, he achieved Enlightenment and became Buddha.

The Buddha taught that the idea that we exist as isolated entities is an illusion. All living things are interrelated; and we are part of that interconnectedness and do not have autonomous existence. Buddha taught a path from selfishness to generosity, from ignorance to wisdom, from hatred to loving-kindness. A few countries celebrate Parinirvana on 8 February.

* Bodhi is the name for the tree under which Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment; it is a type of fig tree, scientifically known as Ficus religiosa.

For more information about Parinirvana please click here

BUDDHISM [Mahayana Countries] | Parinirvana 2017-09-12T10:42:46+00:00

Presenters announced for ‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference

Remember last month that we told you that this year’s ‘Shore to Shore’ Festival will focus on Gardens in recognition of COP22 and the United Nations Year of Sustainable Development? Well, today we’re excited to announce the presenters! They are:

  • Rebecca Ashbey, Cressing Temple Garden, Essex
  • Sam Crosfield, Royal College of Physicians’ Garden, London
  • M’barek L’Harcha, Provincial Director of Education, Essaouira
  • Hassan Hargoune, CHAMS Association for Mental Health, Marrakech
  • Glyn Jones Head of Gardens, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
  • Souad Layadi, Regional Co-ordinator of Sustainable Development, Académie de la Région de Marrakech-Safi
  • Ricardo Librero Landscape Architect, Seville
  • Neil Miller, Head of Gardens, Hever Castle
  • Ouidad Tebbaa, Professor, Cadi Ayyad University


In addition to the presentations, there will be a number visits to see projects in action, including:

  • Amal Women’s Project, Marrakech
  • The ‘Anglo-Moroccan Shakespeare Garden’ at the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech
  • Collège El Jadida, Essaouira
  • Eco-School ‘11th January’, Marrakech
  • Environmental Education Centre (CEE), Marrakech
  • Marrakech Psychiatric Hospital


More about the conference:

By using existing work in Britain, Morocco and Spain, the Conference will explore ways of encouraging young people to be more aware of their environment and to become educated in creating, maintaining and using gardens and public spaces.

Presentations will have a particular focus on educational and health settings, as well as the importance of education for sustainable development and tourism. The outcomes of the conference will include the creation of a network of individuals and organisations in Morocco, Spain and Britain, interested in social, personal and educational development through gardening and landscape architecture.



The Conference is dedicated to two great Gardeners, one recently deceased, Mohammed El Faiz, and one, Gertrude Jekyll who has been dead for many years but who is seen as one of the most important historic figures in British gardening. She was dedicated to education and her family has been among those who have enabled this event to take place.


For more information or to get involved, contact the REEP Director, Diana Lazenby McLaren at

Presenters announced for ‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference 2017-11-10T17:27:34+00:00

JUDAISM | Tu B’Shevat

10 – 11 February

Known as the Jewish New Year for Trees, Tu B’Shevat is one of a number of Jewish new year festivals. As tu is a Hebrew word meaning ‘15’ and Shevat is the name for the fifth month in the Jewish calendar, Tu B’Shevat literally means ‘fifteenth day of Shevat’. The festival begins at sunset on the 14th day of Shevat and continues until nightfall on the fifteenth

On Tu B’Shevat Jews pay homage to trees, especially those which bear fruit and provide them with food. Regardless of the time of year a tree is planted or sown, it is considered to have aged exactly one year on Tu B’Shevat and its birthday is celebrated on this day every year.

The Jews’ respect for trees can be best understood through the following passage in Leviticus.

When you come to the land and you plant any tree, you shall treat its fruit as forbidden; for three years it will be forbidden and not eaten. In the fourth year, all of its fruit shall be sanctified to praise the L-RD. In the fifth year, you may eat its fruit.

Leviticus 19:23-25

Unsurprisingly, one of the most common Jewish Tu B’Shevat customs is the planting of new trees in gardens and public spaces. Many Jews also celebrate the day by eating a new type of fruit for the first time that year. Others observe Tu B’Shevat by eating one of the Shivat Haminim (Seven Species) of fruit and grains, proclaimed by the Hebrew Bible as being resplendent in the holy land of Israel. The seven species included in the Shivat Haminim are barley, dates, figs, grapes, olives, pomegranate and wheat.


For more information about Tu B’Shevat visit

JUDAISM | Tu B’Shevat 2017-09-12T10:42:54+00:00

Landscape Conference

REEP is holding a Landscape Conference in Morocco in May 2017. Entitled GROWING GARDENERS / CULTIVONS NOS JARDINS, the conference will bring horticultural professionals from Great Britain, Morocco and Spain together to discuss how to encourage young people to start gardening. Speakers include representatives from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Hever Castle Gardens, Cressing Temple Gardens, as well as the Spanish Landscape Architect, Ines Parias Cervera.


DATE:   09-11 May 2017


LOCATION:   Essaouira & Marrakech



Landscape Conference 2017-04-23T11:02:36+00:00

Visit My Mosque

Today is national #VisitMyMosque Day, with over 150 mosques around the UK opening their doors to neighbours of all faiths and none. #VisitMyMosque day is a national initiative facilitated by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), encouraging mosques across the UK to hold mosque open days. To find your nearest open mosque see 

Visit My Mosque 2017-04-22T16:41:26+00:00

SHINTOISM | Setsubun

02 to 03 February

Setsubun is a two-day festival which marks the first day of spring in the ancient Japanese lunar calendar. It is a time when people celebrate the arrival of this clement, blossom-filled season with great passion and joy. A popular Setsubun traditional is mamemaki (bean-throwing), where the head of the household throws roasted soya beans out of the house in order to spring clean it. Often, another member of the family dons a daemon mask, so that the beans may be thrown at them accompanied by shouts of “Fuku wa uchi, oni wa so to!” (“Fortune in, daemons out!”). Some of the roasted soya beans are retained and, to complete the ritual, the family sit down to enjoy a meal prepared with these. Setsubun celebrations also take place at many Shinto shrines, where crowds gather to watch mamemaki, kyōgen (plays), daemon-chases and Setsubun dances.

For more information about Setsubun please click here

SHINTOISM | Setsubun 2017-09-12T10:43:06+00:00

HINDUISM | Vasant Panchami

01 February 2017

Falling in January or February, during the Hindu lunar month of Magh, Vasant Panchami is a festival which celebrates the beginning of Spring. It is sometimes known as Saraswati Puja.

As today is also the day when Hindus pay their respects to Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom, the day is often called Saraswati Puja. Saraswati is usually depicted with four hands, clothed in white and seated on a lotus. The lotus symbolises the Goddess’ wisdom, the white cloth, her purity, and the four hands, the four aspects of the human intellect.

For more information about Vasant Panchami please click here

HINDUISM | Vasant Panchami 2017-09-12T10:43:11+00:00