Religion For Dummies

Shannon Rosen, Editor-in-Chief

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Many people celebrate religious and non-religious holidays. But, a lot of people do not fully understand other religions that they do not practice, and the holidays they celebrate. This article is a guide to some of the major religions and important religious holidays within each religion.

  1. Christianity:
  • Followers: Christians
  • Important Holidays:
    • Lent: Lent is the time on the church calendar between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Lent is a time for Christians to reflect, repent and pray in preparation for Easter. Most Christians that observe lent also give up a behavior during this time. For example, giving up drinking coffee until after Easter.
    • Easter: Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus’ resurrection after his crucifixion. It does not fall on the same day each year. Usually people celebrate it with a feast, to celebrate Jesus and lent being over.  
    • Christmas: Christmas is on December 25 and is a holiday honoring the birth of Jesus. Christmas is a time for friends and family to get together and exchange gifts.
  1. Judaism
  • Followers: Jewish people
  • Important Holidays:
    • Passover: Jewish people celebrate passover to commemorate being liberated by God from slavery in Egypt. Passover is an 8 day festival celebrated in spring.   
    • Rosh Hashanah: It literally means, “Head of the year”. The Jewish New Year celebrated on the first and sometimes second days of September. It is a time to look back on the past mistakes of the year, and plan the changes to make it the new year.  
    • Yom Kippur: It means, “Day of Atonement”. One of the most important Jewish holidays of the year. It is a day of Fasting, repentance, and prayer.
    • Hanukkah: “Festival of lights” that lasts 8 days. It celebrates the rededication of the holy temple. Each night a candle on the Menorah is lit. Each night, family members exchange a gift as well.     
  1. Islam:
  • Followers: Muslims
  • Important Holidays: Ramadan, Eid-ul-Adha
    • Ramadan: It is the ninth month of the Muslim year. Everyday during this month, Muslims spend the daylight hours fasting. It is about more than just fasting. Ramadan is a time to refocus on God, purify the soul, and practice sacrifice and discipline.
    • Eid-ul-Adha: It is also known as the, “Feast and Sacrifice”. It is a time to wear traditional clothing, share meals and hand out gifts. Eid-ul-Adha is also known as the “Feast of Sacrifice” because it traditionally includes the sacrifice of an animal, such as a lamb, for food. This acts as a  thanksgiving for God’s mercy.
  1. Hinduism:
  • Followers: Hindus
  • Important Holidays: Holi, Diwali
    • Holi: It is an annual festival celebrated in early March. It is a time to celebrate spring and Hindu mythology. It is a time to indulge and enjoy oneself. Hindus attend a public bonfire and spray friends and family with water and colored powders which is the common tradition come to be known as, “Festival of Colors”. It is a very non religious holiday.
    • Diwali: It means “Deep Lights”. It is a 4 day celebration. It is a celebration of the enjoyment and goodness of life. The illumination of homes with lights, and the skies with firecrackers expresses respect to the heavens for the achievement of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity. The sounds of the fire crackers represents the sounds of the joyous people, happy to be living on earth.
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