Courtesy from various groups
1 April (Sunday) EASTER DAY Christian (Western Churches)
Easter Day is the most important festival of the Christian year, as it is when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Easter eggs are given, which symbolise new life.
5 April (Thursday) FESTIVAL OF PURE BRIGHTNESS/TOMB SWEEPING DAY / QINGMINGJIE / CH’ING MING/ Chinese
The first occasion in the year when family graves are visited. Many families cleanse and sweep them, offer food to the spirits, and picnic/feast by the grave with their ancestors.
7 April (Saturday) THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD / Christian (Orthodox – Old Julian Calendar)
Celebrates the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she is to bear a child, and Mary’s response in the Magnificat. The day provides an opportunity to focus on the doctrine of the incarnation. Luke 1:26-38, 46-55
8 April PASCHA/EASTER Christian (Orthodox)
For Orthodox Christians Easter Day is the most important festival of the Christian year, as it is when they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. A vigil is kept during the preceding night and the resurrection of Christ greeted with the lighting of candles and the affirmation ‘Christ is risen’
8 April (Sunday) HANAMATSURI Buddhist (Japanese)
Flower festival to mark the Japanese celebration of the Buddha Shakyamuni’s birthday, which Mahayana Buddhists fix in 565 BCE. Floral shrines are erected and an image of the infant Buddha is bathed. Theravadins celebrate Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and passing away, all on the same day, but a little later in the year, at the full moon in May.
9 April (Monday) THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD / Christian (Anglican)
Lady Day celebrates the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she is to bear a child, and Mary’s response in the Magnificat. The day provides an opportunity to focus on the doctrine of the incarnation. Luke 1:26-38, 46-55
12 April (Thursday) YOM HA-SHOAH (Holocaust Day) Jewish
A day of remembrance when Jewish people remember the six million Jews, including one and a half million children, who were victims of the Nazi Holocaust. Memorial candles are lit and special services are held. The date is chosen as the closest date (in the Jewish calendar) to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
13 April (Friday) SONGKRAN Buddhist
Traditional New Year’s Day festival in Thailand, where containers of water are thrown as a symbol of washing away all that is evil. Fragrant herbs are often placed in the jug or bucket containing the water.
13 April (Friday) THE PROPHET’S NIGHT JOURNEY and ASCENT / LAILAT UL ISRA WA-L-MIRAJ Muslim
This festival celebrates the journey of the Prophet Muhammad, in the tenth year of his prophethood, from Makkah to Jerusalem, and through the heavens to the presence of God, all in one night. On this night Muslims believe the Prophet received the command that they should pray five times each day. The rock in Jerusalem from which the Prophet ascended is now contained in the Dome of the Rock. Muslims mark this night by reading the Qur’an and saying additional prayers.
14 April (Saturday) VAISAKHI/BAISAKHI – The Sikh New Year Festival Sikh
In 1699, on Vaisakhi, the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, founded the Order of the Khalsa. Five men, who later came to be known as the Panj Piare (Five Beloved Ones), offered their lives when the Guru asked for volunteers. The ‘Five Ks’, the outward signs of Sikhism, were made obligatory and Sikh men took the name ‘Singh’ (lion) and women ‘Kaur’ (princess). The Order of the Khalsa was founded and the initiation ceremony, amrit, was introduced.
19 April (Thursday) YOM HA’ATZMA’UT Jewish
Israeli Independence Day, commemorating the declaration of independence of Israel in 1948
21 April (Saturday) – 2 May (Wednesday) RIDVAN Baha’i
The most important Baha’i festival. In these 12 days, in the garden outside Baghdad after which the festival is named, Baha’u’llah declared himself the Promised One, prophesied by the Bab. The first, ninth and twelfth days are especially significant and are holy days, when no work is done. It is during this period that Baha’is elect all their governing bodies.
22 April (Sunday) ADAR MAH PARAB Zoroastrian (Shenshai – Parsi)
On the ninth day of Adar, the 9th month, Zoroastrians celebrate the birthday of fire. They pay visits to the fire temple to make offerings of sandalwood or incense, and to thank the holy fire for the warmth and light it has given throughout the year. Traditionally on this day food is not cooked in the house as the fire is given a rest and the Atash Niyayeesh or litany to the fire is recited in honour of the house fire or the ceremonial oil lamp.
23 April (Monday) ST GEORGE’S DAY National
St George is the patron saint of England. He lived and died in the Middle East, but his popularity grew after the Crusades, when his red cross on a white background became the symbol of the English Crusaders.
30 April (Monday) 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.