For Sunni Muslims, 'Ashura is simply a day of optional fasting. For Shi'a Muslims, however, the date is extremely significant as it marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, Muhammad’s grandson and a key figure in the establishment of Shi'ism.
The 'Eid al-Adha festival is considered the most sacred holiday in Islam. It celebrates the end of hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim is expected to make once in his or her lifetime. It also commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, and emphasizes the submission of one’s will to Allah.
'Eid al-Fitr is a festival that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. It is a festival of thanksgiving for the blessings that the Muslims enjoy during Ramadan. It is a celebration of great cheer and festivity. Muslims in Indonesia pray during 'Eid al-Fitr Date of observance: 1 Shawwal (August 19, 2012) Modern practices: A special congregational prayer known as salat al-jumah is held in the morning. Muslims hold large family meals throughout the day and exchange
Introduction Advent is the time of preparation for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Its origin is unknown, but an "advent" season was mentioned in the records of the Council of Tours (567 CE); mentions of similar, unnamed celebrations are found in older records. In some liturgies, both the past and future comings of Jesus Christ are referenced. It is celebrated as a time of penance and repentance for Christians as well as a time for the joyful anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ. I
Al-Hijra marks the beginning of a new Islamic year. The first year of the Islamic calendar coincides with Muhammad’s pilgrimage from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE, and the Islamic New Year commemorates this event.
Ash Wednesday signifies the beginning of the Christian liturgical season known as Lent. Ash Wednesday dates from the 8th century, possibly earlier. Originally, Lent began on the 6th Sunday before Easter, with six days of fasting each week. Additional days were added to make forty days of fasting, pushing the start date from Sunday to the preceding Wednesday. A man reads the Bible after he his forehead has been marked with ashes by a priest In both the Old and New Testaments, ashes symb
Basant Panchami commemorates the deity Sarasvati, whom adherents believe to be the goddess of learning, the arts, and eloquence. In West Bengal, she is additionally commemorated as the inventor of the Sanskrit language and the Devanagari script. Date of observance: Basant Panchami is celebrated during February according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar The goddess Sarasvati, who is worshipped during the Basant Panchami Traditional Holiday Traditional Hindu Calendar 2012 Gregoria
Buddhist holidays are popular celebrations throughout Asia as well as abroad. Celebrated by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, these holidays have permeated numerous cultures. Some celebrations are secular, involving parades in the streets and themed items sold in local stores. Other celebrations are more religious, requiring private expressions such as fasting, celibacy, or visits to temples. Unduvap Poya commemorates the planting of the first Bodhi Tree in Sri Lanka Originally, Buddhis
Christmas is a holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. If not the most important, it is certainly the most widely celebrated holiday among Christians. Secularization and commercialization have made the holiday as much of a cultural celebration as a religious one, and many non-Christians take part. The term Christmas is more recent than other holiday names. Around the 4th century, the term Yule was more common among those from Germanic-language countries; the term Noel was more common am
Dashara is a ten-day festival that culminates with a large celebration on the final day. One of the widest-performed celebrations, Dashara is also known by various names throughout the Indian subcontinent. This holiday is also commonly known by the name Navratri—or nine nights—as it is seen as a ten-day festival with the addition of the day on which the ceremony culminates. This ceremony primarily celebrates the victory of the legendary hero Rama over the demon deity Ravana, but also sometime
Diwali is the greatest and most well known of all Hindu festivals. It is a festival of illumination, known by various names. The name Diwali may be derived from the term Deepavali, by which it is also known. It is easily the major and most widely celebrated holiday in India. This festival commemorates the Hindu New Year, and is the celebration of the deity Vishnu's (or alternately Krishna's) victory over the deity Narakasura and another deity known as Bali. In north India, this festival
This autumn festival is extremely popular in Bengal, India. As on Diwali, ideas of renewal and prosperity are rampant. Like Dashara, this holiday is also known by the name Navratri. It is seen as a ten-day festival with the addition of the day on which the ceremony culminates. This festival celebrates the goddess Durga as the slayer of the buffalo demon Mahishasura, but is also popularly believed to celebrate Durga’s ten-day retreat from her husband Shiva's home to the home of her parents. D
Easter is the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who, according to Christians, was crucified two days before Passover and rose from the dead on the Passover day, identified in modern times as Sunday. A passionflower, commonly used in Easter decorations. This holiday is tied to the Jewish Passover, and since Hebrew calendar is based on lunar cycles, its date changes each year. In the early days, Christians in Rome and Alexandria celebrated on the first Sunday afte
Introduction Epiphany marks the end of the celebratory season that begins with Advent. In some countries, it is known as "Three Kings Day." It is also called the Twelfth Night, as it marks the twelfth day after Christmas. The Sundays between Christmas and Epiphany are sometimes called Christmastide. The term Epiphany first appeared in 361 as a celebration of Jesus Christ's birth and his childhood. This term appeared well after the 221 CE establishment of the Christmas celebration on Decembe
Lavishly decorated elephants and entertainers at a procession for Esala Perahera. The Esala Perahera is a festival celebrating a particular relic of the Buddha. This relic, a tooth, has been enshrined in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The festival—one of the largest in Sri Lanka—is believed to have been established by ancient Sri Lankan kings during the 4th century BCE. Since this time, the popularity of the celebration dwindled, but it was revived and expanded during the 18th century. During its expa