Religion and Festival
|Religion and Festival|
Below is a summary of Religions/Faiths of that are represented in our community.
"The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens" (Baha'u'llah)
Baha'i belief is that, through life, the soul-which comes into being at conception and which exists after death - develops spiritually and grows in knowledge either nearer to God (Heaven) or more remote from God (Hell)
(1817) Baha'u'llah ('Glory of God'), Founder of the Baha'i faith was born in Iran
Baha'is read daily from the scriptures written by Baha'u'llah and his son. Baha'i s may meet for prayers, meditation and readings in people's home or a Baha'i Centre.
This nine-pointed star symbolises completeness for Baha'is a senses of unity arising from diversity.
- Naw-Ruz (New Year) 21st Mar
- 1st day of Ridvan 21st Apr
- 9th day of Ridvan 29th Apr
- 12th day of Ridvan 2nd May
- Declaration of Bab 23rd May
- Ascension of Baha'u'llah 29th May
- Martyrdom of Bab 9th July
- Birthday of Bab 20th Oct
- Birthday of Baha'u'llah 12th Nov
"Imperment are all created things. Strive on with awareness." (said to be The Buddha's last words)
Buddhist wish to take advantage of being born as a human being, by developing energetically the qualities of kindness and awareness in order to achieve a freedom from suffering and to help others do the same.
Siddharrtha Gautam, later 'The Buddha' ('The Enlightened One'), was born in India. Buddhists study the words of The Buddha, meditate daily and accept guidance from Buddhist teachers. They may meet at a 'Vihara' or Buddhist Centre.
The eight-spoked wheel symbolises The Buddha's teaching of the Noble Eightfold Path as a way to enlightenment.
- Parinirvana Day 15th Feb
- Bodhi Day 8th April
- Wesak 20th May
- Rains Retreat begins 18th June
- Dhammackhakra Day 18th July
- Padmasambharava Day 15th Sep
- Sangha Day 13th Nov
- Bodhi Day 8th Dec
'I give you a new commandment; love one another; as I have loved you, so you are to love one another;
(Jesus to his disciples)
Christian belief is to live according to the loving nature of God as revealed by Jesus' life and death, helped in this task by the Holy Spirit and by communicating with God through prayer.
Jesus, 'The Christ' ('The Anointed One'), was born in Bethlehem.
Christians study 'The Bible' and may meet for worship in church, chapel, meeting house or in people's homes.
This symbol of Jesus' means of execution reminds Christians of Jesus' redemptive love and triumph over death.
- Ash Wednesday 6th Feb
- Good Friday 21st Mar
- Easter Sunday 23rd Mar
- Easter Monday 24th Mar
- Pentecost 11th May
- Christmas Day 25th Dec
'Who sees all beings in his own Self, and his own Self in all beings, loses all fear.' ('The Upanishads')
Hindu belief entails learning, through life, how to be reunited with God - of whom all living beings are eternally part - and to learn this through study, devotion, player and service to others.
Hindu tradition and way of life began. ('Hindu' was the word historically used of people who lived by the River Sindha.)
Hindus study 'The Vedas' and epics such as 'The Ramayana'. They may worship at a shrine at home, or in a 'mandir' or temple.
This symbol is believed to represent the primordial sound from which the universe came.
- Maha Shivaratri 16th Mar
- Holi 21st Mar
- Chaitra 6th Apr
- Rama Navami 14th Apr
- Raksha Bandhan 16th Aug
- Javamastami 24th Aug
- Ganesh Chaturthi 3rd Sep
- Navrathri Begins: 29th Sep
- Dussehra 9th Oct
- Diwali 28th Oct
'Malice to none but love and fraternity to all.' (Jain greeting)
Jains wish to purity the reborn soul from accumulated 'karma' (fate) and to guard against gathering new 'karma' so as to escape from the cycle of death and rebirth, and to do this by living a life based on right faith, right knowledge and right conduct.
Mahavira, the revered twenty-fourth 'Jina' ('Spiritual Victor') was born in india.
Jains study scriptures called the 'Shruta'. They may worship at a 'Derasar' (temple) or in a meditation hall.
This Jain symbol is of an open palm, with the word 'Ahimsa' ('non-violence') written on it.
- Mahavira Jayanti 18th April
- Paryushana Parva 28th August
- Vira Nirvana 28th Oct
- New Year 29th Oct
'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.' (The 'Shema')
Jews live according to God's laws, as revealed by Moses, the most important of which is to believe in one God and to learn to love God through study, through prayer and by celebrating the yearly cycle of holy days.
Moses, who led the 'children of Israel' out of slavery in Egypt, was born, and brought up as a prince in Egypt.
The Jewish scriptures are known as the 'Tanakh', and Jews meet for worship at a 'synagogue'.
This six-sided star, known as the 'Star of David' or 'Seal of Solomon', is said to symbolise union between heaven and earth.
- Tu B'shevat 22nd Jan
- Purim 21st Mar
- Pessach 20th Apr
- Shavuot 9th Jun
- Tisha B'Av 10th Aug
- Rosh Hashanah 30th Sep
- Yom Kippur 9th Oct
- Sukkot 14th Oct
- Simchat Torah 22nd Oct
- Hannukkah 22nd Oct
'Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds! The compassionate, the merciful! Guide Thou us on the straight path.'
(Sura 1 of the 'Qur'an')
Muslim belief entails submitting one's life to the will of Allah as revealed by the Prophet Muhammad through the 'Qur'an' and to do so through a declaration of faith, regular prayer, almsgiving, fasting and pilgrimage.
The Prophet Muhammad was born in Arabia.
Muslims study the 'Qur'an' as the words of Allah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, and meet for prayers at a 'mosque'.
The crescent moon is a centuries-old Islamic emblem: sighting of the new moon heralding Eid-ul Fitr which is a very important event.
- Al-Hirja (New Year) 20th Jan
- Ashura (Fasting) 19th Jan
- Miraj-un Nabi 29th Jun
- Lailat Ul Bara'at 16th Aug
- Ramadan begins 2nd Sep
- Laylat el Qadr 27th Sep
- Ramadan ends 1st Oct
- Eid Ul Fitr 1st Oct
- Eid Ul Adha 8th Dec
'O thou God of Ethiopia, thou God if divine majesty, thy spirit come within our hearts to dwell in the parts of righteousness. That the hungry be fed, the sick nourished, the aged protected and the infant cared for.' (Rastafarian prayer)
Rastafarian belief entails revering 'Ras Tafari' (Emperor Haile Selassie 1) as a manifestation of God (Jah) and opposing all forms of oppression, sustaining these beliefs through self-discipline, meetings for drumming and prayers and by studying the bible.
'Ras Tafari ('Prince of the Tafari family') was born in Ethiopia.
Rastafarians study 'The Bible' and worship at Nyahbingi' meetings.
The lion is a symbol for Rastafarians of the Emperor Haile Selassie 1, one of whose titles was 'Lion of Judah'.
- Ethiopian Christmas 7th Jan
- Ethiopian Constitution Day 16th Jun
- Marcus Garvey's birthday 17th Aug
- Ethiopian New Years Day 11th Sep
- Crowning of Emperor Haile Selassie I 2nd Nov
''In each and every new leaf, 1 see the 'kami' of spring.' (Japanese poet, Takahama Kyoshi)
Shinto belief entails venerating nature and establishing communion with the 'kami' - its spirits and deities - through prayer and ritual, so as to live harmoniously, peacefully and fruitfully with the natural world.
Whilst the origins of Shinto belief go back thousands of years, the revered Ise Shrine of Amaterasu, the 'kami' of the sun, was dedicated at this time.
Shinto worship takes place through 'matsuri' (observation of festivals) at a shrine.
The way into a Shinto shrine is through a 'torli', a gateway between the ordinary and the sacred.
'There exists but one God, who is called the True, the Creator, free from fear and hate, immortal, not begotten, self-existent, great and compassionate.' (from Guru Nanak's hymn)
Sikhs wish to enable the soul at death to reunite with god - of whom it is part - and to achieve this by remembering God constantly in daily life and by truthful living, with service to others being particularly important.
The first Sikh Guru, Nanak, was born in India.
The Sikh scriptures, 'Guru Granth Sahib', are treated with utmost respect. Sikhs meet for worship at the 'gurdwara'.
The Sikh emblem symbolises God's love of truth (the central two-edged sword), the one-ness of God (the circle) and God's spiritual strength (the two outer swords).
- Guru Gobindh Singh Birthday 5th Jan
- Martyrdom of Guru Arjan 16th Jun
- Diwali 28th Oct
- Birthday of Guru Nanak 13th Nov
- Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur 24 Nov
'In dwelling, be close to the land. In meditation, go deep in the heart. In dealing with others, be gentle and kind. In speech, be true. In ruling, be just.' ('Tao Te Ching')
Taoists accept what is, without wanting it to be different, and study the natural order of things, working with this order rather than against it, for the way lies in 'Tao' (Natural Law).
Lao Tzu, who wrote the 'Tao Te Ching', was born in China.
Taoists study the 'Tao Te Ching' and religious ceremonies take place at a temple.
This ancient Chinese symbol encapsulates Taoist philosophy: the opposite forces of 'lying' and 'yang' are interdependent, each containing a part of the other.
'Good thoughts. Good words. Good deeds.'
(Zoroastrian Declaration of Intention)
Zoroastrians choose to aid Ahura Mazda - the Absolute Creator who is responsible only for good - to defeat evil and bring in the final judgment and the establishment of Paradise.
The Prophet Zarathushtra (Greek 'Zoroaster') was born in Eastern Iran.
Zoroastrians study the 'Avesta', which include the 'Gathas' ('hymns of Zarathushtra') and worship at home or at a Fire Temple.
The Zorostrian symbol represents a 'fravashi' ('guardian spirit') which is the good or spiritual self which exists to aid each individual.
- Noruz 21st Mar / 19th Aug
- Birth of Zarathushtra 26th Mar / 24th Aug
- Muktad 9th Aug
- Death of the Prohpet 26th Dec / 26th May