Cultural and Interfaith Calendar

The Cultural and Interfaith calendar shows some important events across 2015 and 2016.

The Cultural and Interfaith calendar shows some important events across 2015 and 2016. Many events are celebrated here at Royal Holloway due to our multi-cultural and diverse campus. We have decided to highlight a few so that students are aware of their meanings and dates. Last term, the Holi festival was very successful and saw many students celebrating with the powdered paint! There are many events throughout the year and this calendar highlights a few of those.

To over two billion Muslims, Eid al-Fitr, also known as The Feast of Breaking the Fast, is an important celebration to announce the ending of the fasting, Ramadan, but also to thank Allah for the strength he has given them throughout Ramadan. They start celebrating by sighting the crescent moon after sunset on the last day of Ramadan. At the start of Eid, Muslims wake up early to keep with the old custom – ghusl- to cleanse their bodies before gathering outside, in an open space, to pray with their loved ones and greet each other with ‘Eid Mubarak’ which means ‘Have a blessed Eid’. After praying, Muslims usually have a big meal and give family members gifts that traditionally are given over a three day period. In Islamic countries, the three day period is an official holiday. There are usually processions on the street and a daytime meal, the first they would have since the start of Ramadan. Everyone wears their finest, newest clothes and sometimes decorate their houses. It’s a time of celebrating self-control, forgiveness and making amends as people are encouraged to settle disputes on this day. Although in Islam, charity and giving to the needy is important, it’s at the end of Ramadan that it’s significantly more important, as Muslims are obligated to help others especially helping the poor and making contributions to mosques. This festival dates back to 610AD when the Prophet Mohammed started having visions of the Angel Jibril, who then helped him write the verses for the holy book of the Quran, and that a month should be dedicated into worshipping Allah. Eid al-Fitr is a joyous occasion, as its purpose is to praise Allah and give thanks to Him.

The Hindi Holi Festival is a festival that celebrates Spring, that usually falls in March, originally set in North India. It celebrates the good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. The throwing of coloured paint comes from the story of Krishna who threw coloured water over gopis (milkmaids) which has developed into the jokes and games that happen at the Holi Festival. Hindus believe the origin of this festival comes from the story of Prahlad. Prahlad was a prince whose father, the King, wanted everyone to worship him. However, Prahlad wanted too worship Lord Vishnu instead. Prahlad’s aunt, Holika, tricked him by sitting in a bonfire to destroy him. However, as Holika used her powers for evil, she was the one who was consumed in fire. Bonfires are lit and in some places, effigies of Holika are burnt and Hindus are dressed in their finest clothes. In recent years, this festival has been commercialised and has become more popular due to the fact that it is the Festival of Colours, a time where people throw each other paint to celebrate love. Over the two days, it celebrates when wheat is harvested. What’s even more interesting is that the Festival is so popular in non- Asian countries that it’s introduced as a run. Hinduism is a religion that’s based on love and welfare, and throughout the year, there are eight other festivals which includes Rakska Bandhan in August, where sisters tie a a rakhi which is a sacred thread on their brother’s wrist. This symbolises the sister’s prayer of wellbeing and the brother’s protection of the sister.

 

CULTURAL AND INTERFAITH CALENDAR

2015-2016

 

MAY 2015

4th: Vaishaka Puja (Buddha Day)

7th: Lag B’Omer

24th-25th: Shavuot (Feast of Weeks)

25th: Lantern Floating

 

JUNE 2015

14th: Race Unity Day

24th-2th

16th: Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev

18th: Start of Ramadan (Dependent on the moon)

21st: Lithia (Summer Solstice)

 

JULY 2015

2nd: Asalha Puja (Dharma

Day)

4th: American Independence

Day

13th: Laila Ad-Qadr (Night of

Power)

17th: Eid Al-Fitr

 

AUGUST 2015

1st: Kammas (Lughnasadh)

15th: Obon

29th: Raksha Banhan (Rakhi)

 

SEPTEMBER 2015

5th: Krishna Janmashtami

15th: Start of National Hispanic Heritage

Month

16th: Mexican Independence Day

17th: Constitution and Citizenship Day

23rd: Eid Al-Adha

 

OCTOBER 2015

Black History Month

4th: Hoshanah Rabbah

6th: Simchat Torah

9th: Birth of Guru Ram Das

 

NOVEMBER 2015

9th: Kristallnacht Anniversary

11th: Diwali

12th: Birth of Baha’u’llah

16th: International Day for Tolerance

23rd: Niiname Festival

 

DECEMBER 2015

8th: Bodhi Day

22nd: Yule (Winter Solstice)

26th: Start of Kwanzaa

 

JANUARY 2016

1st: Oshogatsu (Shogatsu)

5th: Birth of Guru Gobind Singh

11th: Seijin Shiki (Coming of Age Day)

13th: Lohri

25th: Tu B’Shvat

23rd: Ashura

31st: All Hallow’s Eve

 

FEBRUARY 2016

2nd: Imbolc

8th: Lunar New Year

12th: Darwin Day

15th: Paranirvana

 

MARCH 2016

3rd: Hina Matsuri

8th: International Women’s Day

23rd: Holi

24th: Hola Mohalla

26th: Khordad Sal