Holy Festivals From Around The World
What are religious holidays?
A plethora of religious holidays are celebrated by people from every faith and culture around the world every year. A religious holiday is any day (or days or weeks, even, depending on the holiday and the faith celebrating it) that holds special meaning for a religious group. These holidays can center on observing historical events, feasts of sacrifice, resurrections, reincarnations, births, deaths and deity celebrations. Some are grave and soberly contemplative while others are joyous occasions that celebrate life and happiness. Some involve antiquated practices which have been observed for thousands of years while others have become mass-marketed distortions of their original forms and have lost much of their meaning among the populations which purportedly celebrate them.
Why are religious holidays worth studying?
Perhaps more important than the ways in which these holidays are celebrated are their significance to those who partake in them. Anyone who wishes to become a religious scholar must be aware of the spiritual needs and observances of others. Knowing only the bare minimum will not be sufficient for Universal Life Church ministers who are looking to improve their spiritual knowledge. For example, it is commonly known amongst non-Muslims that Ramadan is characterized by abstaining from eating and drinking during the day, but comparatively few know why Ramadan involves this, what its significance is, and how its start and end dates are determined. This knowledge is elementary amongst Muslims, and anyone who claims to understand the Islamic faith but doesn’t know this will be proven otherwise.
This Training and Education section has articles on holidays belonging to a number of different faith groups, including the selected articles featured below:
Ash Wednesday – marks the beginning of Lent and a reminder of the transitory nature of life
Good Friday – the day on which Christians commemorate Christ’s crucifixion
Eid Al Adha – commemorates Abraham’s (Ibrahim’s) sacrifice of his son Isaac
Ramadan – month-long fasting to teach humility to God
Diwali – a five-day celebration of the end of the Hindu lunar calendar
Holi – a festival of color, friends, and families defined by street festivities
Hanukkah – an eight-day holiday that marks the day in history where the Jewish people retook Jerusalem from the Seleucids (an empire from modern-day Syria)
Tu B’shvat – similar to Arbor Day; the age of trees are estimated to determine tithes