Rhiannon_REEP

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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

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