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How do different religions spend their holidays? ~ Visal Radha


HOW DO DIFFERENT RELIGIONS SPEND THEIR HOLIDAYS?


Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or

the universe.


JEWISH


There are many important events in the Jewish calendar. Here are a few examples:


Passover

One of the most important Jewish holidays, Passover celebrates the freedom of Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. Celebrations last seven or eight days and families join together with the Feast of Passover.


Yom Kippur

This is the holiest day of the year; Jewish people will fast and pray during the "Day of Atonement". Yom Kippur is celebrated in September or October in the UK. It is a time for reflection and asking for God's forgiveness for any sins. Yom Kippur is celebrated ten days after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, celebrating the creation of the world.


Hanukkah

Known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabees after its destruction over 2,000 years ago. Wanting to learn more about Hanukkah?Usually, Hanukkah starts in late November to mid-December. In 2022, Hanukkah starts the evening of December 18 and ends on December 26.To celebrate the ancient miracle of the oil burning a candle for eight nights, Jews celebrating Hanukkah light a candleholder called a menorah for eight nights.


ISLAM


Muslims have two major holiday celebrations a year called Eid, as well as the month of Ramadan, that come at different times of the year based on the lunar calendar. Our holidays are filled with spending time with loved ones, charity, worship and other festive activities.


Celebrations are part of all cultures and religions.


Many Muslim-majority countries have diverse cultural holidays; however, there are only two major holidays that all Muslims celebrate. Each is celebrated at the end of an Islamic ritual.


The first of these holidays comes after the completion of Ramadan and is called Eid-ul Fitr which means the “festival of fast-breaking.” It is a celebration of thankfulness for being able to fast the whole month and for the self-control and positive habits formed in the 30 days.


The second major holiday Muslims celebrate is called Eid-ul Adha means “festival of sacrifice.” This holiday takes place after the Hajj (Pilgrimage) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This holiday is celebrated in honor of the sacrifice that Prophet Abraham and his son Ismael were willing to make to show their dedication, commitment, and trust for Allah.


Both holidays include celebrations with family, friends, and communities. They usually involve the following practices:


Congregational prayers in the morning in near-by mosque or Muslim community center

Donning of new clothes Gift giving to family and friends

Charity to those less fortunate Visiting homes and open-houses of family and friends; eating of sweets (special dishes on this day- like Christmas cookies, etc.); other social gatherings and receptions Greeting one another with: “Eid Mubarak” (Have a blessed Eid).



What Holidays Do Muslims Celebrate?


Here’s a quick breakdown of each Muslim holiday, what it celebrates, and how it is observed:


Al-Hijr- Al-Hijra is the Islamic New Year, which celebrates the Prophet Muhammad’s establishment of the first Islamic state in 622 CE. It marks the beginning of Islam as a community of people. This holiday is fairly understated, and there is no specific activity associated with it, although many Muslims make New Year’s resolutions on this day.


Mawlid al-Nabi- Mawlid al-Nabi means “Birthday of the Prophet,” which in many Muslim countries is a public holiday. Muslims are somewhat divided on observing this holiday; some feel it places too much emphasis on the Prophet Muhammad as a human. Those who do mark the occasion attend prayer services, share meals, attend lectures, recite the Quran, and participate in marches.

Ramadan- Ramadan lasts for an entire month, and it’s one of the holiest months in the year, as it celebrates the revelation of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad. Participants fast during the daylight hours, attend special services, and focus on becoming closer to God through acts of discipline, prayer, reflection, and charity.


MAY THIS DIVINE MONTH OF RAMADAN ERASE YOUR SINFUL PAST AND BLESS THE HEART WITH LOVE,KINDNESS AND MERRY.


Eid al-Fitr- Eid al-Fitr (Festival of the Breaking of the Fast) effectively marks the end of Ramadan. Muslims wear dress clothes and attend a prayer service called salat-al-eid, which in many mosques also incorporates food, games, bazaars, and rides for children. People also visit with their families for a few days, and children receive gifts.


Eid ul-Adha- Eid ul-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice) is the greatest festival in the Islamic calendar, and it celebrates the completion of the annual Holy Pilgrimage of Hajj. This pilgrimage is obligatory for all eligible Muslims and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

The holiday is spent with family and loved ones; Muslims wear new or dress clothing and exchange gifts.


Ashura- Ashura is known to all Muslims, but the two sects honor the occasion in different ways. For Sunni Muslims, it

commemorates the day that Noah left the ark and that Moses was saved from the Egyptians; on this day, Muslims may choose to fast. For Shia Muslims, this holiday is a somber one that commemorates the martyrdom of Husayn, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson. People participate in mourning rituals, passion plays, and parades centered around lamentation.


CHRISTIANS


Christmas


One of the most important holidays on the Christian calendar, Christmas is also the most controversial.The so-called "Christmas Wars" garner headlines every year for battles over manger scenes and the use of "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays"(and other seasonal greetings). But Christmas is also a time for theological and spiritual reflection on important foundations of the Christian faith, including the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth.


IT IS TENDERNESS FOR THE PAST,COURAGE FOR THE PRESENT,HOPE FOR THE FUTURE.


Easter

A celebration of Christ's resurrection, Easter marks Christ's triumph over death and, as the Apostle Peter writes, our "new birth into a living hope." It's a time to reflect on salvation, redemption, and the future coming of Christ's kingdom.



Thanksgiving

Today’s Thanksgiving feast has its origins in an English Reformation tradition carried on by the pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth in 1620. In an affront to the Catholic liturgical calendar, Puritans celebrated days of fasting and days of feasting—notably the day of feasting at the end of the fall harvest—in gratitude for God’s provision. In an age where consumption of food is often far removed from fields where it is produced, a growing number of evangelicals have reinterpreted the holiday as a time not only to thank God for abundance, but to examine where abundance comes from and the ethics of food, hunger, and environment.


SIKHS


Vaisakhi

Vaisakhi began as a Hindu harvest festival. It takes place in April. Sikhs celebrate it by showing that they are grateful for the food and crops that they have harvested, as well as praying for future crops. It is also known as the Hindu Solar New Year Day.


For Sikhs, Vaisakhi also commemorates the founding of their community in 1699. Some Sikhs make a pilgrimage to Anandpur. This is where Guru Gobind Singh formed the Khalsa in 1699. The Khalsa is a group of committed Sikhs that people can join after participating in the Amrit Sanskar ceremony. The first five Sikhs who came forward after the Guru asked who was willing to sacrifice their lives for God are now known as the Panj Piare. This means “Five Beloved Ones”.


Diwali.

Diwali (sometimes spelled Divali) is a festival celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs in India and throughout the world. Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor, which historically takes place at the same time as Diwali. It is the festival of lights, which symbolizes that good overcomes evil. It lasts five days and normally takes place in October or November.


For Sikhs, Divali is important because it reminds them that people have freedom to express their religious beliefs, even if they are not Sikhs. This is important because all people are equal and must be treated as such, regardless of the differences between them.

They also remember Guru Hargobind, who was released from prison during Diwali and developed Sikh martial arts so that Sikhs could protect themselves.


THE ESSENCE OF ALL RELIGIONS IS ONE ONLY THEIR APPROACHES ARE DIFFERENT.


THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS THE PERFECT TIME TO REFLECT ON OUR BLESSINGS AND SEEK OUT WAYS TO MAKE LIFE BETTER FOR THOSE AROUND US.







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