Monthly Archives: April 2017

Happy St. George’s Day!

On St George’s Day, English people remember England’s patron saint, St. George, who died on April 23. According to legend, St. George was a Roman soldier who killed an evil dragon and saved a beautiful princess. St. George’s Day is England’s national day but it is no longer a public holiday. Celebrations traditionally include parades and dancing. Many buildings fly the English flag which bears the red and white cross of St. George. Some people chose to wear a red rose as a mark of respect. For more information see https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/uk/st-george-day

 

Happy St. George’s Day! 2017-04-23T07:53:24+00:00

ISLAM | Lailat al Miraj

23 April 2017

Lailat al Miraj is an Islamic festival commemorating the revelation of Salat through the Prophet Muhammad’s night time journey and ascent to heaven. According to Islamic tradition, after the Prophet was visited by two archangels during his sleep, he journeyed from Mecca to the ‘Farthest Mosque’ in Jerusalem in a single night. On reaching Jerusalem, the Prophet ascended to heaven where he was purified and instructed by God that Muslims had a duty to recite Salat (ritual prayers) five times each day. During Lailat al Miraj celebrations, Muslims recount the story of the Prophet Muhammad to their children and recite special prayers at night. For more information about Lailat al Miraj please click here

ISLAM | Lailat al Miraj 2017-09-12T10:38:17+00:00

BAHÁ’Í | Festival of Ridván

21 April – 2 May 2017

The Festival of Ridván is a twelve-day Bahá’í festival commemorating the twelve days that the Bahá’í founder, Bahá’u’lláh, spent in 1863 in the Garden of Ridván. Ridván celebrations begin at sunset on 21 April and finish at sunset on 2 May. The first, ninth and twelfth days of Ridván are the holiest days of the Festival, as they commemorate the arrival of Bahá’u’lláh at the Ridván Garden, the arrival of Bahá’u’lláh’s family, and Bahá’u’lláh’s departure respectively. On these days, all work is suspended and communities come together for prayer and celebrations. For more information about the Festival of Ridvan please click here

BAHÁ’Í | Festival of Ridván 2017-09-12T10:38:29+00:00

CHRISTIANITY | EASTER DAY

16 April 2017

Easter Sunday or Easter Day is the most important festival in the Christian calendar, as it is the time when Christians commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion. According to Christian tradition, when Jesus’s followers visited his tomb they found the entrance open and the tomb empty. When later Jesus appeared to the Apostles, they concluded that God had resurrected Jesus from the dead. Many churches begin their Easter Sunday celebrations at midnight and services often begin in complete darkness. Then, twelve candles are lit and used to light others, bringing light to the church once more. This ritual has great symbolism for Christians as it reminds them that Jesus is the light of the world and that his resurrection at Easter was a triumph over the darkness of evil. For more information about Easter Day please click here

CHRISTIANITY | EASTER DAY 2017-09-12T10:38:36+00:00

CHRISTIANITY [ORTHODOX] | Pascha [Easter Day]

16 April 2017

While Western Christian churches use the Gregorian calendar, Orthodox Christian churches use the Julian calendar, which preceded it. Usually this means that the dates for Easter differ from those of Western Christianity, but this year they correspond. Countries which officially observe the Orthodox Easter period include Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine. As with the Easter Sunday of Western Christian tradition, Pascha commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion. For more information about Pascha please click here

CHRISTIANITY [ORTHODOX] | Pascha [Easter Day] 2017-09-12T10:38:43+00:00

SIKHISM | Vaisakhi

14 April 2017

Vaisakhi is a Sikh festival commemorating the beginning of Sikhism as a collective faith with the founding of the Khalsa Panth – a family of soldier saints – by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. Sikhs ready to join the Khalsa Panth are baptised during Vaisakhi. Khalsa means ‘pure’ and, once baptised, Sikhs must retain their purity by resolving not to cut or remove any bodily hair, not to use intoxicants such as alcohol or tobacco, not to eat meat and not to commit adultery.

Traditionally Vaisakhi was an harvest festival in the state of Panjab in modern day India, but it has come to be known as the Sikh ‘New Year’ festival because it falls on the first day of Vaisakh, the first month in the Sikh calendar, Nanakshahi. Traditional Vaisakhi celebrations include worship, kirtan (devotional hymns), parades, martial arts demonstrations, gatka (dancing with wooden swords), jangar (sacred free vegetarian food), and fireworks.

For more information about Vaisakhi please click here

SIKHISM | Vaisakhi 2017-09-12T10:38:51+00:00

CHRISTIANITY | Good Friday

14 April 2017

Taking place immediately after Maundy Thursday, on the last Friday before Easter, Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The day is a solemn one of mourning for devout Christians, who reflect on the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice. On Good Friday churches are usually unlit with no festive decorations or flowers. In some churches, statues and paintings are also covered up. Many Christians attend a special church service at 3pm, as this is believed to be the time at which Christ died on the cross. The name ‘Good Friday’ is thought to have evolved from the earlier ‘God’s Friday’ or ‘Holy Friday’. For more information about Good Friday please click here

CHRISTIANITY | Good Friday 2017-09-12T10:38:59+00:00

CHRISTIANITY | Maundy Thursday

13 April 2017

Also known as Holy Thursday, Maundy Thursday takes place on the last Thursday before Easter and is the day on which Christians remember the Last Supper of Christ on the evening before His crucifixion. The Last Supper was the final meal that Christ shared with his Disciples in Jerusalem, and during the meal Christ foretold of his betrayal at the hands of Judas. Catholics attend Mass to witness the ritual re-enactment of the Last Supper. Many worshippers also take part in a special service called the Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on the night of Maundy Thursday, remaining in the presence of the Eucharist in respect for the vigil the Disciples kept with Christ. A derivative of the Latin ‘Mandatum’, meaning commandment, ‘Maundy’ refers to the commandment given by Jesus to his Disciples while he washed their feet. [John 13:34-35]. For more information about Maundy Thursday please click here

CHRISTIANITY | Maundy Thursday 2017-09-12T10:39:07+00:00

HINDUISM | Hanuman Jayanti

11 April 2017

Taking place on the full moon day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar, Hanuman Jayanti is a celebration of the Hindu god, Hanuman. Hanuman is particularly revered for his devotion to Lord Rama. His image is used as a symbol of strength and energy because he triumphs over evil by using his power to assume any form.

Hanuman Jayanti festivities begin at sunrise, when Hanuman is believed to have been born. Hindus visit temples and apply sindoor (red powder) to their foreheads in respect for Hanuman, whose image is always red in colour.

Hanuman Jayanti is observed by Hindu communities at different time of the year, depending on their regional beliefs and the particular calendar they chose to follow. The Hanuman Jayanti of Chaitra is the most popular one in the states of north India. For more information on Hanuman Jayanti please click here

HINDUISM | Hanuman Jayanti 2017-09-12T10:39:14+00:00

JUDAISM | Pesach / Passover

10 – 18 April 2017

Passover, or Pesach, takes place in March or April, beginning on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan. One of the most important Jewish festivals, Pesach commemorates the Israelites’ liberation from captivity in Egypt, as commanded by God in Exodus 13.

Outside of Israel, Pesach lasts for eight days, with the first and last two days observed as full days of rest. In the days leading up to the festival, Jews thoroughly clean their homes to remove any trace of chametz (leavened bread) in respect for those Jews leaving Egypt who had no time to let their bread rise. The act is also symbolic with the need to let go of inflated egos, arrogance and pride. Pesach is known in the Hebrew Bible as ‘The Feast of Unleavened Bread’ as it is forbidden to consume chametz at any time during the festival. Families are expected to temporarily sell any chametz ingredients or utensils to non-Jews.

For more information about Peach please click here

JUDAISM | Pesach / Passover 2017-09-12T10:39:25+00:00

JAINISM | Mahavir Jayanti

9 April 2017

Falling in late March or early April, during the Hindu month of Chaitra, Mahavir Jayanti is the most important festival for those of the Jain faith. Mahavir Jayanti celebrates the birth of Saint Mahavira (599 to 527 BC), the founder of Jainism as a religion. Mahavira was a contemporary of the Buddha and the twenty-fourth and final Jain Tīrthaṅkara. In Jainism, a tīrthaṅkara is someone who helps another to achieve enlightenment.  The word tīrtha means ‘ford’ but the Jains use it to describe that which helps people to cross the vast ocean of worldly life. A tīrthaṅkara is a person that facilitates this crossing. For more on tīrthaṅkara click here

Mahavir Jayanti celebrations include visits to tithankara temples and statues for puja (prayer) services. Statues of Saint Mahavir are revered with offerings of flowers, rice, fruit and milk. Many Jains observe a fast on this day, in respect for the twelve years Mahavir gave up his palatial comforts and luxuries for penance. For more information about Mahavir Jayanti please click here

JAINISM | Mahavir Jayanti 2017-09-12T10:39:35+00:00

CHRISTIANITY | Palm Sunday

09 April 2017

Palm Sunday is the final Sunday in Lent and the first day of Holy Week, which culminates with Easter. It is the day when Christians remember Christ’s triumphant arrival in Jerusalem shortly before his arrest and crucifixion. Crowds gathered to cheer their Saviour and to lay palm leaves at his feet as a symbol of respect and homage. On Palm Sunday Christians traditionally attend a church service, in which palm branches – a universal symbol of peace and victory – play an important, symbolic role. A number of large palm leaves are carried in procession, while others are cut and formed into small crosses and handed out to congregations in memory of the crucifixion. The palm crosses are kept until the start of Lent the following year, when they are burned to provide the ash for Ash Wednesday. For more information about Palm Sunday please click here

CHRISTIANITY | Palm Sunday 2017-09-12T10:39:58+00:00

HINDUISM | Rama Navami

4 April 2017

Rama Navami falls in March or April, on the ninth day of the month of Chaitra in the Hindu calendar. One of the most important Hindu festivals, it celebrates the birth of Lord Rama, son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya, and the incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. Lord Rama is the hero of Ramayana, a Sanskrit epic of 24,000 stanzas, which is recited by Hindus during Rama Navami and in the week leading up to it.

During Rama Navami, Hindus clean and decorate their homes, and bestow offerings of fruit and flowers on family shrines. Inside the home, family members take an early bath before the youngest female leads them in a puya (prayer service). For more information about Rama Navami please click here

HINDUISM | Rama Navami 2017-09-12T10:40:07+00:00