Festivals of May 2018

Dr. Mike Ghouse   April 27, 2018   Comments Off on Festivals of May 2018

Courtesy of different calendars

When we live as neighbors, we might as well learn about each other. The best way to build cohesive societies is for its members to understand each other’s sorrows and joys, and festivities and commemorations. Wouldn’t it be nice if you know a little bit about your neighbor’s festival and perhaps invite them to your celebrations to start safe neighborhoods by understanding each other? Every human and every religious group celebrates something or the other in their way, each one is different, but the essence is same; celebrations and commemorations. A simple language is used for most people to get a gist of it.

Mike Ghouse

1 May (Tuesday) THE NIGHT OF FORGIVENESS / LAILAT-UL-BARA’AH Muslim

On the fourteenth of Sha’ban, the eighth month of the Muslim calendar and two weeks before Ramadan commences, Muslims seek forgiveness for their sins. Many Muslims believe that it is on this night that a person’s destiny is fixed by Allah for the coming year, and the night is often spent in prayer, asking for forgiveness and God’s guidance. Some Muslims fast during the daytime in preparation for the night. In certain parts of the world Muslims visit the graves of relatives, and the giving of charity is also traditional. In a number of places the night is marked with firework displays.

1 May (Tuesday) BELTAINE/MAY EVE Wiccan / Pagan

BELTAINE Druid The wheel of the year continues to turn and fertile spring yields to the height of summer. Many pagans celebrate Beltaine by lighting fires and leaping over them, and/or with maypole dances, symbolizing the mystery of the Sacred Marriage of Goddess and God.

3 May (Thursday) LAG B’OMER Jewish

The Omer is a period of 49 days, lasting from Pesach to Shavuot. It is a time of sadness, relieved on this, the 33rd day, by a break in the days of mourning. Lag b’Omer recalls the end of a plague in Roman times during the lifetime of Rabbi Akiva, and is often celebrated by out of door, fresh air activities. A large number of weddings take place on this day, since they are not usually permitted during most of the rest of the Omer period.

10 May (Thursday) ASCENSION DAY (40th day after Easter) Christian (Western Churches)

This day commemorates the last earthly appearance of the Risen Christ, who, according to Christian belief, ascended into heaven in the presence of many witnesses.

12 May (Friday) BIRTHDAY OF THE 12th IMAM: MUSHAMMAD IBN HASAN AL-MAHDI Muslim

On the fourteenth of Sha’ban, the eighth month of the Muslim calendar and two weeks before Ramadan commences, Muslims seek forgiveness for their sins. Many Muslims believe that it is on this night that a person’s destiny is fixed by Allah for the coming year, and the night is often spent in prayer, asking for forgiveness and God’s guidance. Some Muslims fast during the daytime in preparation for the night. In certain parts of the world Muslims visit the graves of relatives, and the giving of charity is also traditional. In a number of places the night is marked with firework displays.

13 May (Sunday) – 19 May (Saturday) CHRISTIAN AID WEEK Christian

Initiated in 1945, this fund raising week raises money for work with the needy throughout the world; mainly done by house to house collections and sales of goods of various kinds.

16 May (Wednesday) to 14 June (Thursday) RAMADAN Muslim

The Muslim year is a lunar year which is about 11 days shorter than the solar year on which the Gregorian (British) calendar is based, so Ramadan occurs ten or eleven days earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar. During Ramadan Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. Fasting (sawm) is one of the five pillars of Islam, requiring self-discipline and giving everyone some experience of deprivation. Those who are not able to fast are expected to give charity to compensate for the lost days. While children may be encouraged to fast, the full fast is not compulsory until maturity, but many young people still attempt to keep some, or even all of it.

20 May (Wednesday) – 21 May (Thursday) SHAVUOT / THE FEAST OF WEEKS Jewish

Shavuot, also known as the Feast of Weeks, is a two day festival which falls seven weeks after Pesach. It celebrates the revelation of the Torah to Moses on Mount Sinai, and also marks the time when the first harvest was taken to the Temple. Synagogues are decorated with flowers and dairy foods are traditionally eaten. For Orthodox Jews work is not permitted throughout the festival.

23 May (Wednesday) ANNIVERSARY OF THE DECLARATION OF THE BAB Baha’i

The Bab heralded the arrival of Baha’ullah and was co-founder of the Baha’i faith. He first declared his mission in Persia in 1844. He inaugurated the Baha’i calendar which numbers itself from the year of this declaration.

24 May (Thursday) ZARATOSHT NO DISO Zoroastrian (Shenshai; Parsi) [26 December (Wednesday) (Iranian)]

This is the sorrowful death anniversary of the Prophet Zarathushtra. Tradition records he was assassinated at the age of 77. It is customary to visit the Fire Temple, offer special remembrance prayers (to him and to the Fravashis), and ponder upon the Gathas, the Hymns of Zarathushtra, which embody his eternal message to humanity.

29 May (Tuesday) ANNIVERSARY OF THE ASCENSION OF BAHA’U’LLAH Baha’i

Commemorates the death of Baha’u’llah at Bahji, near Acre, in 1892. His shrine there has become the place towards which all Baha’is face when praying.

29 May (Tuesday) VESAKHA PUJA / WESAK / BUDDHA DAY Buddhist

Wesak is the biggest of Buddhist festivals. Theravadins celebrate the birth, enlightenment and final passing away of Gautama Buddha. Mahayanists have separate days for each of them, and on Bodhi Day celebrate the enlightenment of the Buddha. Houses are decorated with lanterns and garlands, and temples are ringed with little oil lamps. People often send ‘Wesak cards’ to their friends, and lay people come together at monasteries at this time.

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