Monthly Archives: March 2017

ZOROASTRIANISM | Khordad Sal

28 March 2017

Khordad Sal celebrates the birth of Zoroaster (c. 628 BC – c. 551 BC), prophet and founder of the Zoroastrian faith. As the exact date of the Prophet’s birth in unknown, the date for the celebrations is purely symbolic.

Falling six days after Nowruz, Khordad Sal is known as the Greater Nowruz, and is one of the most important festivals in the Zoroastrian calendar. During their celebrations, communities gather in agiaries (fire temples) to say prayers before celebrating the Prophet’s birthday with a lavish feast. For more information about Khordad Sal please click here

ZOROASTRIANISM | Khordad Sal 2017-09-12T10:40:14+00:00

CHRISTIANITY | Mothering Sunday

26 March 2017

Mothering Sunday originated in pre-Reformation Britain when, on most Sundays in the year, Christians would visit their nearest parish or ‘daughter’ church. However, once a year, on the fourth Sunday in Lent, it was custom for Christians return to their home towns to visit their ‘mother’ church.

Over time, the day became associated with family reunions and it is widely believed that it gave rise to the custom for domestic servants to be given leave on the fourth Sunday in Lent to return home to their mothers and to give small gifts. Now known as Mothering Sunday, the day has no connection to the commercial American ‘Mother’s Day’, which takes place in May each year. For more information about Mothering Sunday please click here

CHRISTIANITY | Mothering Sunday 2017-09-12T10:40:23+00:00

CHRISTIANITY | The Feast of the Annunciation

25 March 2017

The Feast of the Annunciation celebrates the incarnation of Jesus Christ in the Virgin Mary. In Christian theology, the term Incarnation is used in reference to the embodiment of God the Son in human flesh as Jesus Christ – i.e., the exact moment that Jesus was conceived and that the Son of God became the son of the Virgin. According to the Christian Bible, the angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to the Virgin Mary on this day, heralding the news that she had been chosen as the mother of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

The Feast of the Annunciation takes place on 25 March, precisely nine months before Christmas Day, on which his birth is celebrated. Celebrated since the 5th century AD, many Christians attend special church services in honour of the miracle. For more information about the Feast of the Annunciation please click here

CHRISTIANITY | The Feast of the Annunciation 2017-09-12T10:40:36+00:00

SHINTOISM | Shunbun No Hi

21 March

Closely associated with Buddhism, Shunbun No Hi marks the Spring Equinox, when the day- and night-length is roughly equal. It is part of a week-long celebration known as Haru No Higan, which heralds the arrival of spring. Higan is a Buddhist word meaning ‘other shore’; in Shintoism, it is used in reference to the belief that a river links this life with the next. On Shunbun No Hi, Japanese people visit the graves of deceased family and friends to help ease their crossing into the next life. Prayers are offered, graves weeded, tombstones washed, incense burned, and flowers and food left to provide sustenance for the journey ahead. Haru No Higan has been celebrated in Japan since before the 8th century AD, although the precise origins of the festival are unknown.

For more information about Shunbun No Hi please click here

SHINTOISM | Shunbun No Hi 2017-09-12T10:40:49+00:00

ZOROASTRIANISM | Nowruz

21 March 2017

Literally meaning ‘new year’, Nowruz falls at the time of the Vernal Equinox, typically on the 21st March each year. It marks the first day of the Zoroastrian solar year, Khorshidi. There are 4 major elements to Nowruz celebrations:

Renewal:        As Nowruz takes place at the time of the spring equinox, after which date the days begin to lengthen and plants burst into growth, the theme of renewal is very important. Renewal of oneself, renewal of friendships and renewal of the home are all considered during Nowruz celebrations.

Spring Cleaning:         Zoroastrians spring-clean their homes and make preparations to set up a Nowruz spread, or table, in the month leading up to the festival.

Haft Seen:          Haft Seen, the Nowruz spread, is to Zoroastrians what the Christmas tree is to Christians. Laid out on a table or carpet, the spread is known as ‘the cloth of seven dishes because it includes seven ceremonial items, each beginning with the Persian letter cinn.

Gifts:         Children are often given new clothes or envelopes of money by their parents during the Nowruz festival.

For more information about Nowruz please click here

ZOROASTRIANISM | Nowruz 2017-09-12T10:40:57+00:00

BAHÁ’Í | Naw-Rúz

21 March 2017

Literally meaning ‘new day’, Naw-Rúz takes place on the first day of Baha, the first month in the Bahá’í calendar. The day falls at the time of the Vernal Equinox, typically on the 21st March each year. In the Bahá’í tradition, each new day begins at sunset, so Naw-Rúz celebrations begin on the evening of 20 March with a sunset feast to signal the end of the preceding nineteen-day fast.

Naw-Rúz celebrations include prayer, music, dancing and visits to friends and family to exchange gifts. A traditional Naw-Rúz practice is to throw sprouted lentils into running water to carry away ill fortune. For more information about Naw-Rúz please click here

 

BAHÁ’Í | Naw-Rúz 2017-09-12T10:41:05+00:00

HINDUISM | Holi, the Festival of Colours

13 March 2017

Holi falls in early March, on the day after the full moon of the Hindu month Phalguna. It is both a celebration of spring and of elements of Hindu mythology.

The day is often known as the ‘Festival of Colours’ because Hindu’s ritualistically apply coloured waters and powders to the bodies of their friends and family. The ritual is said to be based on the story of Krishna and Radha. According to Hindu mythology, when Krishna asked his mother why his sister’s complexion was so much fairer than his own, she told him to apply colour to Radha’s face to see how it changed.

While images of Krishna and Radha are carried through the streets at Holi, the ‘Festival of Colours’ is predominately a celebration of the coming of spring with its beautiful colours and vibrant new life. For more information about Holi please click here

HINDUISM | Holi, the Festival of Colours 2017-09-12T10:41:14+00:00

SIKHISM | Hola Mohalla

13 March 2017

Hola Mohalla is a three-day festival beginning on the first day of the lunar month, Chet, in the Nanakshahi Calendar. Hola Mohalla is celebrated by Sikhs living in ‘the holy City of Bliss’ – Anandpur Sahib in India’s Punjab region.

The festival was established in 1701 by the tenth guru, Gobind Singh, as a day for Sikh’s to practise their military techniques. Today, Sikhs begin their Hola Mohalla celebrations with early morning prayers. At midday men and women of all casts and creeds gather to eat together at the guru ka langar (free community dining room) of the gurdwara (Sikh temple).

Mock battles and colourful processions are organised in celebration of traditional Sikh military skills, such as archery, sword fencing, shooting and horsemanship. These events are followed by music and poetry competitions.

For more information about Hola Mohalla please click here

SIKHISM | Hola Mohalla 2017-09-12T10:41:22+00:00

JUDAISM | Purim

12 March 2017

Purim is a time when Jews give thanks and praise to their heroine, Esther, wife of king Ahasuerus. Esther saved the Jewish people living in Persia by preventing their massacre at the hands of the Persian nobleman, Haman.

During Purim, the Book of Esther is recited in synagogues, with the congregation using cymbals, rattles and boos to drown out Haman’s name whenever it is spoken. For more information about Purim please click here

JUDAISM | Purim 2017-09-12T10:41:29+00:00

Shakespeare Son et Lumière at London’s Guildhall

Yesterday I visited The Guildhall in London to watch a free Shakespeare Son et Lumière which commemorated Shakespeare through fantastic modern interpretations in light, sound and performance screened onto the historic Great Hall (one of the few buildings to survive the Great Fire of London in 1666!). Part of London’s Shakespeare 400 celebrations and The Barbican’s Shakespeare Weekender: Play On, the event was an outstanding success – well done to everyone involved.

You can find photos of the Son et Lumière on my Facebook page Rhiannon@reep or watch videos on our REEP Shore to Shore YouTube Channel

Shakespeare Son et Lumière at London’s Guildhall 2017-11-01T16:28:39+00:00

Programme for ‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference

We’re delighted to share with you the programmer for the international ‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference due to take place in Morocco in May 2017.

 

Growing Gardeners Programme GB Apr Fin

 

About the Conference:

This year the ‘SHORE TO SHORE’ Festival initiated by REEP will focus on Gardens, recognising COP22 and the United Nations Year of Sustainable Development. 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. The conference is due to take place in Marrakech and Essaouira during the first week in May.

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.

 

Hommage:

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 director@reepinfo.org

Programme for ‘Growing Gardeners’ Conference 2017-11-10T17:30:58+00:00

CHRISTIANITY | Lent

01 March – 13 April 2017

Taking place before Easter in the Christian calendar, Lent lasts for a period of forty days and forty nights in respect of the time Jesus is said to have spent fasting in the desert. Christians traditionally fast from certain foods, such as meat, butter, dairy and milk.

In anticipation of Christ’s crucifixion, Christian crosses are often wrapped in purple cloth, as purple is associated with mourning.

For more information about Lent please click here

CHRISTIANITY | Lent 2017-09-12T10:41:43+00:00

SHINTOISM | Hina Matsuri

03 March

Alternatively known as ‘Joshi No Sekku’ (Girls’ Day), this is a festival in honour of the daughters of Japanese families. Hina Matsuri means ‘Doll’s Day’, a name given because on this day special dolls are set out for display on red-carpeted steps in homes, shrines, department stores and other public places. These dolls are traditionally given to a family on the birth of a baby girl, and those displayed during Hina Matsuri are often family heirlooms. The dolls depict the Imperial Emperor and Empress, together with courtiers, in traditional Heian era dress. On the top step are the two Imperial Dolls in front of a byōbu (gold screen); on the second step are san-nin kanjo (three court ladies with sake ceremony equipment); the third step is reserved for gonin bayashi (five male musicians); while on the fourth step are two daijin (ministers), often with bow and arrow; the fifth step contains three Samurai (warriors) or helpers to guard the Imperial household; finally, on the sixth and seventh step, a variety of other items such as carriages, furniture and tools are displayed.

Displaying the dolls in this way is symbolic of the family’s wish that their daughter(s) will be healthy, free from harm and able to obtain a happy life with a good husband. In some parts of Japan there is an exorcistic quality to Hina Matsuri, as symbolic dolls are sent out to sea on boats with the belief that any bad luck, impurities and evil spirits present in the girls will be transferred and expelled with them.

For more information about Hina Matsuri please click here

SHINTOISM | Hina Matsuri 2017-09-12T10:41:51+00:00

Happy St. David’s Day!

Today is St David’s Day, so it’s time to celebrate the daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus is our native British one). Saint David is the patron saint of Wales, and the day is both a celebration of St David and of Welsh culture. Many people in Britain wear a daffodil on their clothing today, as the daffodil (Cenninen Pedr, or ‘Saint Peter’s Leek’ in Welsh) is the national flower of Wales #stdavidsday

Happy St. David’s Day! 2017-04-22T16:39:22+00:00

BAHÁ’Í | Nineteen Day Fast

01 March 2017

Ala is the last month in the Bahá’í calendar and precedes the Bahá’í New Year celebrations. Bahá’í’s fast from sunrise to sunset throughout the nineteen days of Ala. They also spend extra time in prayer to spiritually prepare themselves for the Bahá’í New Year on 21 March. For more information about the Nineteen Day Fast please click here

BAHÁ’Í | Nineteen Day Fast 2017-09-12T10:42:00+00:00