Monthly Archives: June 2017

ISLAM | Eid-ul-Fitr

25 June

One of the two major holidays in the Islamic calendar, Eid-ul-Fitr takes place at the end of Ramadan and marks the end of a month of strict fasting and prayer. First celebrated in 624 CE by the Prophet Muhammad along with his family and friends, Eid celebrations today begin with the first sighting of the new moon in Islamic countries.

During Eid, Muslims give prayer and thanks to Allah for the help and strength he gave them to exercise self-control during Ramadan. Special Eid services are held in mosques and in public places outdoors, and processions take place in the streets of many towns and cities.

Central to the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations is the lavish feast, with families getting together to enjoy their first proper meal together for a month. Many Muslims also attend communal prayers, listen to khutba (a sermon) and give zakat al-fitr (charity in the form of food). Gift-giving is also traditional at Eid, as are new clothes and festive decorations for the home.

For more information about Eid-ul-Fitr please click here

ISLAM | Eid-ul-Fitr 2017-09-12T10:35:43+00:00

HINDUISM | Ratha Yatra

25 June

Meaning ‘chariot festival’, the Ratha Yatra festival is the parade of the chariots of the Hindu deities, Lord Jagannatha, Subhadra and Balarama. The spiritual home of the festival is the Jagannatha temple in the city of Puri, Eastern India but it has been celebrated by Hindus in the Western states since it was introduced by the spiritual teacher, Sria Prabhupada, in 1967. Today, the festival is sometime known as Lord Jagannatha’s Divine Festival, and is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.

During Ratha Yatra, statues of the Hindu deities are removed from temples, loaded onto huge chariots and paraded through the streets in exuberant procession. Crowds line the streets to greet the chariots with jubilant singing, dancing and chanting the maha-mantra (the great mantra for deliverance) to the rhythmic sounds of cymbals and drums. After the procession, Hindus celebrate with a festival and feast of prasadam (sacred free vegetarian food).

Interestingly, the English word juggernaut comes from the Ratha Yatra chariots made in Jagannatha’s honour. For more information about Radha Yatra please click here

HINDUISM | Ratha Yatra 2017-09-12T10:35:50+00:00

SIKHISM | Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev

16 June

Today, Sikhs commemorate the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth of the ten Sikh Gurus. Guru Arjan Dev is cherished by Sikhs for a number of reasons. Firstly, Guru Arjan Dev laid the foundations of the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India, designing it with four doors symbolising its acceptance of people from ‘all castes and all creeds from whichever direction they come and to whichever direction they bow.’

Secondly, Guru Arjan Dev’s collation of the previous four Gurus’ writings into one volume formed the basis of the Sikh Holy Book, Guru Granth Sahib, which went on to become the eleventh and final Sikh Guru. Thirdly, he became the first Sikh martyr and awakened the Sikh community to the horrors of violence when he was arrested and tortured to death by the Mughal Emperor in 1606. Previous to the Guru’s martyrdom Sikhs had renounced all violence and weaponry in their pursuit for peace and harmony for all peoples of the world.

Sikhs observe the Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev with prayers, kirtan (devotional hymns) and katha (lectures on Sikhism). For more information about the Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev please click here

SIKHISM | Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev 2017-09-12T10:35:57+00:00

CHRISTIANITY | Corpus Christi

15 June

Translating from the Latin to mean literally ‘body of Christ’, Corpus Christi falls on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. The festival is observed primarily by Roman Catholics who celebrate the Eucharist as the body of Christ

At Corpus Christi, Catholics attend Mass to receive the Eucharist (also known as Holy Communion), where they partake of bread (or often a wafer) and wine that have been consecrated to become the physical body and blood of Christ. Although no longer a practice in the UK, triumphant processions take place in other Catholic churches around the world. During these processions the ‘sacred host’ (a consecrated wafer) is carried out of the church for the Christian faithful to proclaim the truth of the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the actual body of Christ.

For more information about Corpus Christi please click here

CHRISTIANITY | Corpus Christi 2017-09-12T10:36:04+00:00

CHRISTIANITY | Trinity Sunday

11 June

Taking place on the first Sunday after Pentecost, Trinity Sunday is the day on which Christians celebrate the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the Christian belief that God participates in the world in three forms:

  • God the Father, who creates and sustains the world in every moment
  • God the Son, who lived in the world so that ‘the creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption’ (Romans 8:21)
  • God the Holy Spirit, who can act through all things to renew humans and the whole creation.

Known officially as ‘The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity’, Trinity Sunday is the only major Christian festival that celebrates a doctrine rather than a person or an event. Christians observe the day by attending church services dedicated to the theme of the Holy Trinity. Ministers symbolically wear white to symbolise the purity, holiness, and virtue of the Holy Trinity.

For more information about Trinity Sunday please click here

CHRISTIANITY | Trinity Sunday 2017-09-12T10:37:05+00:00

CHRISTIANITY | Pentecost

4 June

Taken from the Greek pentekoste meaning ‘fiftieth’, Pentecost takes place exactly fifty days after Easter Day and is a festival commemorating the day when the Holy Spirit is said to have descended upon Christ’s Apostles. The Christian Pentecost has its origins in the earlier Jewish Shavout festival.

Christians believe that God participates in the world in three forms:

  • God the Father, who creates and sustains the world in every moment
  • God the Son, who lived in the world so that ‘the creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption’ (Romans 8:21)
  • God the Holy Spirit, who can act through all things to renew humans and the whole creation.

The arrival of the Holy Spirit completed the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit and therefore, the Christian God. Pentecost is thus a celebration of the birth of the Christian Church. Celebrations at Pentecost are joyous; church services are replete with uplifting Hymns, and Ministers dressed in robes of red to symbolise the flames in which the Holy Spirit came to earth.

For more information about Pentecost please click here

CHRISTIANITY | Pentecost 2017-09-12T10:37:12+00:00