4 Annual Major Religious Events Explained
The world is full of different religious and non-religious celebrations. Even just from town-to-town or country-to-country, there are wildly different events that take place for completely different reasons. Being aware of other cultures and understanding why they do what they do is a key aspect of accepting people and living a positive life, which is why it makes sense to learn a little about some of the most widely celebrated events in the world.
With this in mind, here are four of the most prominent religious events explained to give you a better understanding of the history and beliefs behind these key dates.
Christianity: Lent and Easter
One of the most important events in the Christian calendar is the 46-day period known as Lent. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Easter Sunday but centres around a period of fasting or self-control during this timeframe. Lent commemorates Jesus’ 40-day long walk through the desert, during which he fasted; in turn, the most dedicated Christians usually fast in remembrance of this sacrifice.
Alternatively, rather than fast, others choose to give up a luxury or home comforts such as certain foods or activities. Upon the completion of the 46-day period (40 days of fasting and 6 Sundays of rest), the Lent period is concluded with the Easter Sunday celebration, commemorating Jesus’ rebirth and resurrection.
Islam: Ramadan and Zakat
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is often called the month of blessing. This time period is often called the Month of Blessing and hosts some of the most important days in the Islamic faith. In particular, Ramadan is an essential month because it contains the Laylat al-Qadr or Night of Power, the day on which the Islamic holy book called the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast during the daylight hours and generally abstain from immoral or unkind behaviours and thoughts. Additionally, it is common for Muslims to utilise a Zakat calculator to determine and pay their Zakat total, an annual charitable donation that serves as one of the religion’s pillars. Overall, Ramadan is a period of deep reflection and worship for Muslims around the globe and is key to the faith’s beliefs.
Diwali, also known as the festival of lights, is a five-day festival that occurs across the lunar Vikrama calendar months of Ashvina and Karttika. The festival is named after the row of lights which are lit throughout the festival’s duration, though the gods worshipped and celebrated through this process actually vary depending on location. Some utilise the lights to pray to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, others to celebrate key events in Hindu history and there are countless other variations too.
The most important day of the festival is the fourth day, which marks the beginning of the month of Karttika and also the Hindu new year. During this time worshippers tend to feast, exchange gifts, spend time with friends and family and generally celebrate.
Wesak (or Vesak) is known as Buddha Day and commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha. The day itself occurs on the full moon of the Vesakha lunar month and is celebrated in a few different ways. Few celebrations are loud; instead, many worshippers opt for using this day as a period of self-reflection and thought, with some making offerings, conducting candle-lit processions and releasing birds as a sign of freedom.
Whilst these religions and the festivals that accompany them are far from the only ones in the world, they are definitely some of the most widely celebrated. Through educating ourselves about the ways of other cultures, it’s much easier to be welcoming and inclusive in our thought which is key to living a healthy and happy life. Hopefully, these brief explanations will have inspired you to learn even more.