Calendar of Religious and Cultural Festivals and Events This

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					Calendar of Religious and Cultural Festivals and Events

This calendar of religious, cultural, festivals and events has been put together
to give information about events which take place during the year, and which
are important both in managing the work place and managing service

For example, it may be useful before arranging a public event to ensure that it
does not clash with major faith festivals.
It will be advisable to avoid planning a team event including a shared meal at
a time when a faith group that is represented in your team is fasting.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure this information is correct we
welcome any ideas or suggestions as to how we can improve and expand the

If you come across a mistake or inaccuracy, please contact:
Helen Newbery, 823629
                               September 2008

Sept- Oct Harvest Festival. (Christian Western and Anglican.)
Displays of various foods to give thanks for the goodness of god’s gifts, in
After a religious service the food is distributed to those in need throughout the

2nd Sept – 1st Oct Ramadan (Muslim / Islam)
The month of fasting from dawn to sunset.
 During Ramadan, Muslims celebrate the time when the verses of the Qur’an
were revealed to the Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him)

7th Durga Puja (Hindu)
9th Dussehra (Hindu)
30th Navaratri (Hindu)
While it’s known by different names, this is one of the few festivals celebrated
across India. This festival lasts nine nights, with the final three being of the
most important. This nine day festival is celebrated in song, dance and

11th Sept. Ethiopian New Years Day (Rastafarian)
Rastafarians have a four year cycle, each year named after an evangelist.
This is the beginning of the year of Luke.

21st Sept. International Day of Peace
To remind us that peace building is a task for everyone and everyday

21st Autumn Equinox (Marbon) (Pagan)
Day and night stand hand in hand as equals. As the shadows lengthen,
Pagans see darker faces of the God of Goddess.
For many Pagans, this rite honours old age and the approach of winter.

28th Lailat-ul-Qadr (Muslim)
‘The Night of Power’ this night commemorates the night in which the Prophet
Muhammad received the first revelation of the Qur’an. Muslims believe that
this night is kept a secret by god, but that the prophet told the Muslims that
they can seek it in the last ten days of Ramadan. Many Muslims will pray and
study throughout the night.
                                  October 2008

1st International Day of Older People

2nd Eid Al Fitr (Islam)
 Muslims gather to watch for the new moon, this marks the end of Ramadan
and fasting. This is a time for new clothes, good food and presents for
children. The traditional getting is ‘Eid Mubarak’ meaning a happy and
blessed Eid.

9th Yom Kippur (Judaism)
Jewish Day of Atonement. This holiest day of the Jewish year is observed
with strict fasting and ceremonial repentance.
Observance commences from sunset of the previous day.

15th -22nd Inter Faith Week of Prayer for World Peace
Prayer from different world religions and communities are published in a
leaflet for use this week.

20th The Anniversary of the Birth of the Bab (Baha’i)
Bab was born in 1819 in Shiraz in Persia.

24th United Nations Day
This day reminds us of the unity of nations and their mission for peace.

28th Divali (Sikh)
The celebration of Divali as the sixth Guru. Guru Hargobind was released
from prison on this day, only he did not accept the release offered by the
Emperor Jehangir unless 52 imprisoned Hindu Princes were also given their

28th Diwali / Divali / Deepavali (Hindu & Jain)
This is the Hindu New Year festival lasting one to five days, during which
lights and lamps are displayed
This festival of light coincides with the darkest night of the lunar month.
Various interpretations are given to this festival from differing parts of India,
generally around the return of Rama and Sita to the Kingdom of Ayodhya.

30th Chung Yuan (Buddhist)
Chinese Buddhist and ancestral festival also called ‘ The Festival of Hungry
Ghosts’ paper object and large paper boats are made and offered to aid the
spirits who have no resting place.
                                 November 2008

1st Samhain (pronounced ‘Sow-in’) (Pagan)
The wheel of the Pagan year is seen to begin at Samhain, and is the Celtic
New Year, when the worlds of life and death stand open. This is a time to
remember those who have gone before. Pagans celebrate death as a part of
life; it is not to be feared. Fires are lit with dead wood, before stepping into the
darkness of winter.

1st All Saints Day (Christian)
(‘All Hallows’, originally ‘All Martyrs’)
A day to offer thanks for the work and witness of all saints.
This day recognising that not all saints are known, or celebrated.

2nd All Souls Day (Christian) on this day in particular the departed are
remembered and prayers are offered on their behalf.

2nd Anniversary of the crowning of Haile Selassie I (Rastafarian)
This holy day, celebrates Haile Selassie’s accession to the Ethiopian throne.

7th Ban Bullying at Work
The aim of today is to raise the awareness of the issues in the U.K and
encourage both individuals and organisations to have the strength to stand up
and ‘Speak Out Against Bullying’

9th Remembrance Sunday
The Sunday nearest Armistice Day, devoted to remembering the dead of the
not only 1st and 2nd World war, but subsequent wars

30th St Andrews Day
The Patron Saint of Scotland since 8th Century. Andrew was an apostle and
brother of St Peter.
                                December 2008
1st World Aids Day
The message for this year is: ‘Understanding through Communication’
which will highlight the importance of using open communication to break
down the silence and increase the knowledge and understanding of HIV

 3rd International Day of the Disabled
This day is to promote an understanding of Disability and mobilize support for
the dignity, rights, and well- being for people with a disability.

22-29th Hanukah (Jewish)
Throughout this eight evening festival, candles are lit from right to left in a
Hanukkah, a nine branched menorah, one candle for each evening. This
celebrates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem in 165BCE.

10th U.N International Human Rights Day
This day focuses of the rights of all people including their security, freedom of
thought, conscience, and religion.

9th Eid-Ul-Adha (Islam) This Muslim festival Al-Eid- Kabeer marks the end of
the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Makkah.
Pilgrims sacrifice animals at the village of Mina on their way back from
Mekkah from mount Arafat, if they can afford to do so. The meat is given to
the poor and the rest shared with relatives.

21st Yule (Pagan)
Pronounced Yula, this is a time of winter solstice, when the sun child is
reborn. Yule is regarded as the New Year for Pagans.

24th Christmas Eve (Christian)
Evening of carol services and Midnight Mass.
Santa Claus is a legendary figure based on St Nicholas of Myra, and is
supposed to bring presents to children on this eve.

25th Christmas (Christian)
The birth of Jesus who Christians believe to be the son of God. This is an
important day for Christians. Christmas carols, plays associated with the
nativity scene and the giving of gifts are a reminder of the offerings bought to
the infant Jesus.

26th Boxing Day English bank holiday. Originally the day in which boxed
gifts were given to family and friends and tradesmen.

26th Zartusht- No- Diso (Zoroastrian)
The Fasli calendar commemorates the death of the Prophet Zarathustra.
Religious services are devoted to his memory.

31st Hogmanay (National)
New Years Eve is celebrated throughout the U.K. It is customary to make
resolutions for the New Year approaching on this evening, party with friends
and family and see the New Year in with song.

                                January 2008

1st New Years Day (national bank holiday)
Celebrates the naming of Jesus and the beginning of a new year

1st Ganjitsu (Japanese)
New years Day celebrations sometimes last up to three days, during which
businesses are closed.

 6th Epiphany (Christian/ Catholic)
This day celebrates the coming of the wise men to the baby Jesus. It marks
the twelfth day of Christmas.

6th - 7th Christmas Eve and Day / Julian calendar. (Eastern Orthodox,
Armenian and Rastafarian)
Most Orthodox churches and certain other faiths prefer to use the Julian
calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar used by the western Christians.
Fixed festivals and celebrations come thirteen days after western Churches
so 6-7 January in the orthodox calendar equates to the 24-25 December in
the western calendar.

10th Al Hijra New years Day (Muslim / Islam)
Islamic New Year begins on the day Mohamed the Prophet left Mecca to
travel to medina in 622CE. It is the first day of the month of Muharram.

13th Makar Sankrant /Lohri (Hindu)
A One day festival to celebrate the end of the winter, celebrated mainly in the
Punjab in Northern India .Bonfires are lit, and the first Lohri for a new born
infant is a significant event.

16th Shinran Memorial Day (Buddhist)
Shinran was the founder of Judo Shin-Shu, one of the schools of Pure Land

25th Burns Night (Scotland)
The Poet Robert burns is celebrated throughout Scotland the U.K and around
the world,

27th International Holocaust Day
World day of remembrance, of Jewish people, other victims of genocide, and
of those who suffered in the hands of the Nazis during the Second World War.
                                February 2008

4th the First Day of Lent. The Great Fast (Orthodox / Christians)
This is the beginning of the Lenten Fast which involves abstinence from meat,
fish, and dairy products until Easter.

5th Shrove Tuesday (Christian / Western)
Also known as Pancake Day, this day, on this day pancakes are made to use
up all the rich foods before lent.

6th Ash Wednesday (Christian/ Western)
The first day of lent when Christians remember the forty days and forty nights
that Jesus spent in the wilderness and the temptations he faced during this
Catholic and some Anglican churches mark the worshipper’s foreheads with
the ash from burnt palm crosses of the previous year,- hence the name Ash

6th-23rd Lent (Christian / Western)
A period of fasting and discipline for forty days, the time that Jesus spent in
the wilderness which ends on Easter day. Many people today choose to give
up just one or two things for the time of Lent.

7th Yuan Tan (Chinese New Year)
Chinese New Year is the most important event in the traditional Chinese
calendar and marks the beginning of the first Lunar month.
Celebrations can last three or more days; in 2008 it is the year of the Rat.
                                 March 2008
1st St David’s Day (Christian)
The Anniversary of the death of St. David, the Patron Saint of Wales, who
lived in the 6th Century.

2nd Mothering Sunday / Simnel Sunday (Christian)
Traditionally Christians visited their mothers and took gifts and presents, often
including a simnel cake.

5th Maha Shivrati (Hindu)
This festival is to worship Lord Shiva one of the gods of the holy trinity. Many
Hindu’s will fast on this day and their prayers are focused on Shiva and his
shrines and statues.

7th Women’s World Day of Prayer
This international prayer movement began in 1887. The service is put
together each year by a different country. In 2008 Guyana will be leading with
the theme ‘Gods wisdom provides new understanding’

16th Palm Sunday (Christian/ Western)
Christians remember Jesus entry to Jerusalem, where later he would be
arrested and crucified.
Churches commemorated this by a possession, with the congregation
carrying symbolic branches of palm leaves, some of which are folded in the
shape of a cross.

17th St Patrick’s Day (National Day)
Celebrated in honour of the patron saint of Ireland, who lived in Britain in the
4th century. His symbol is the shamrock, which are worn on this day.

20th The Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday (Islam/ Muslim)
This day is celebrated on the 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal, the third month of the
Muslim calendar.

20th Maundy Thursday (Christian/ Western)
The last supper is commemorated when Jesus blessed bread and wine and
ordered his disciples to remember him disciples to remember him whenever
they did this. The breaking of the bread is a central act of worship in most
tradition today.

21st Naw-ruz (Baha’i)
The observance of the vernal equinox, symbolizing spiritual growth and

21st Good Friday (Christian/ Western)
This commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.


                                   April 2008

5th Ch’ing Ming /Festival of Pure Brightness (Chinese)
Also known as tomb sweeping day, it is the occasion for all Chinese to honour
their ancestors.

14th Vaisakhi / Baisakhi. New Year (Sikh)
The New Year Festival signifies the founding of the Khalsa, a distinctive Sikh

14th- Ram Navmi (Hindu)
The celebration of the birth of Lord Rama, hero of the religious epic poem,
The Ramayana.

18th Mahavira Jayanti (Jainism)
The birth anniversary of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirithankar and founder of
modern Jainism.

19th Hanuman Jayanti (Hindu)
The Birth of Hanuman the monkey warrior, who is the symbol of energy and

20-27thPassover (Judaism)
This Jewish eight day celebration of the deliverance of the Jews from slavery
in Egypt.

23rd St Georges Day (Christian)
The holy day of the Patron Saint of England, although his significance to
England is not clear as he lived and died in the Middle East. It is possible that
his popularity grew after the Crusades, when his red cross on a white
background was adopted as their symbol.

27th Easter Sunday (Christian)
This holy day for Christian commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ
from his death. Observations include worship, special musical, Hymns,
feasting and parades.
 27th Easter Day /Pascha (0rthodox)
Easter is calculated on the lunar calendar, it moves each year in relation to
the solar calendar. There is no consistent relationship between the dates of
the orthodox and western Easter.


                                    May 2008

1st Saga Dawa (Buddhist)
The Tibetan and Nepalese festival celebrates the birth, life and death of the
historical Budda, usually on the full moon day of May. This is a festival of light,
where no meat is eaten. In Tibet vows are made to fast and keep silence for
seven days.

Ascension Day (Western / Christian). The 40th day after Easter
This day commemorates the last earthly appearance of the Risen Christ, who
according to Christian belief ascended into heaven in the presence of many

Beltaine (Pagan)
Pagans celebrate the turn from spring into summer with the Maypole dance,
symbolising the mystery of the marriage of Goddess and God

2nd Yom Ha-Shoah (Jewish)
Holocaust Remembrance Day. Memorial candles are lit and special services
are held to remember the six million Jews killed by the Nazis in1933-45. This
is also observed by many non-Jews.

4th Ascension Day (Catholic/ Christian)
This day commemorates the last earthly appearance of the Risen Christ, who
according to Christian belief, ascended into heaven in the presence of many
Roman Catholics now celebrate this Holy day of Obligation on the nearest
Sunday to the 49th day after Easter.

Yom Ha-atzma’ut (Jewish)
Israel’s Independence Day, commemorating independence of Israel in 1948.

11th -17th Christian Aid Week. This week is devoted to fund raising, mainly
through house to house collections. The money is given to those in need
throughout the world.

11th Pentecost/ Whitsuntide (Christian / Western)
This day is seen as the birthday of the Church. It is named after the Jewish
festival on when the disciples of Jesus first proclaimed the Gospel after
receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
17th International Day Against Homophobia
In a world where 77 counties punish men and women because of there
sexuality an International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) provides a day
for everyone to raise awareness of homophobic issues that have a negative
impact on peoples lives as well as providing positive stories, changes and

20th Vesakha. Puja / Wesak / Buddha Day (Buddhist)
This day celebrates the enlightenment of the Buddha.

27th Zartusht- No- Diso (Zoroastrain)
Commemorates the death of the prophet Zarathustra, according to the
Shenshai calendar.

29th The Anniversary of the Ascension of Baha’u’llah
Commemorates death of the Baha’u’llah at Bahji, near Acre in 1892.
                                    June 2008

9th Shavuot (Jewfish)
Shavuot celebrates the revelation of the Torah on Mount Sinai and the early
harvest season in Israel.

10th Corpus Christi (Catholic / Christian)
Festival to celebrate the Eucharist.

19th Dragon Boat Festival (Chinese)
Originally the festival commemorated the suicide by drowning of the poet and
statesman Ch’u Yuan.
Notable now for the great dragon boat races, some of which are around 100
feet long.

20th World Refuge Day
The United Nations General Assembly designated 20th June, as world
refugee Day to recognise and celebrate the contributions and plight of
refugees from around the world.

21st Midsummer Solstice (Pagan)
This summer solstice is the festival of Midsummer, some times called Litha.
The light of the sun is at the height of its power, and is a time for celebration.



9th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Bab (Baha’i)
The Bab was executed in Tabriz, Persia at noon on this day in 1850. His
death is commemorated at noon with readings and prayers from the Baha’i

15th O-Bon (Japanese)
A Japanese festival when the spirits of the departed are welcome back home
with feasting and dancing. Celebrations in rural parts of Japan may take place
one month later.

23rd Birthday of Haile Selassie (Rastafarian)
One of the holiest days of the Rastafarian year. It is celebrated with
Nyahbinghi drumming, hymns and prayers.

30th The Prophets Night Journey and Ascension / Lail-ul isra’wal mi’raj
This celebrates the journey of the prophet Muhammad; in the tenth year of his
prophet -hood, from the Makkah to Jerusalem and throughout the heavens to
the presence of God, in one night.


1st Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-nassa) (Pagan)
This is the time of the corn harvest, when Pagans reap those things they have
sown, they give thanks for the bounty of the Goddness as Queen as the Land.

10th Tisha b’av (Jewish)
Full day of fasting, to mourn the destruction of the first and second Temples in
Jerusalem, as well as other tragedies in Jewish history.

10th-19th Farvardigan (Zoroastrian)
The last ten days of the year, during which the Fravashis or souls of the
departed are welcomed and entertained.

16th The Night of Forgiveness/ Lailat-ul-bara h) (Muslim)
On the fourteenth of Sha’ban the eighth month of the Muslim calendar and
two weeks before Ramandam, Muslims seek forgiveness for their sins.

17th Marcus Garvey’s Birthday (Rastafarian)
Hailed as a religious prophet by Rastafarians, and by some, as the
reincarnation of John the Baptist.

19th No Ruz (Zoroastrian)
New Year’s Day, on the Shenshai calander.

28th Paryushan (Jain)
Eight days of purification, devoted to fasting, studying, prayer and meditation.
Ending with confession and forgiveness.