This Holy Season – Part 1

symbols of religions

Upon examining the Interfaith Calendar, there are 26 events or observances during the month of April. The first full moon after the vernal equinox brings events for five faiths in its wake. There are observances before that full moon and after. So we shall bring you a triptych – three panels in art (often depicting the Divine or saints) – three articles covering the events of this Holy Season of 2022.


2 April 2022
Ramadan ~ Islam

Minaret at Sunset

When does Ramadan start?

This year, Ramadan starts on the evening of Monday, April 1. This is the sightihg of the Moon. The first full day of fasting will be on Tuesday, April 2.

The Islamic holy month is always held on the 9th month of the Islamic Lunar calendar. Since the calendar depends on the moon cycle, Ramadan falls about 11 days earlier each year. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk — yes, even water.

When the sun sets, there is a communal meal called ‘Iftar’ where you break your fast, usually with your family or friends.But the month of Ramadan is about more than just fasting.

You are also encouraged to do good deeds such as charity, and abstain from sinful acts such as gossip. It’s also a month of self-reflection and a way for Muslims to develop positive habits that can be brought forward once Ramadan is over.

Ramadan is also a time of giving, Zakat – giving to the needy. Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam.

When does Ramadan end?
This year, Ramadan ends when the sun sets on Sunday, May 1.

Ramadan lasts for 29 or 30 days depending on the moon cycle. After a month of fasting, Muslims celebrate with a festival called Eid and wish each other ‘Eid Mubarak’ (Have a blessed Eid). Eid is a social event that is celebrated by having your family, friends and neighbours over for a large feast.

Muslims decorate their homes and wear new clothes, and children and the elderly receive gifts or money packets. While practices vary across the world, Eid is also a time when Muslims seek forgiveness from each other.

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2 April 2022
Ugadi – Lunar New Year – Hinduism

The New Moon in Pisces
Ugadi - Lunar New Year - Hinduis
When the new Moon occurs in Pisces, for those who follow the Hindu Panchang (Calendar), this is the beginning of the new year. On this occasion there is a reading of the Panchang describing the events of the coming year. Famous astrologers make a chart for the capital of the nation (on this day) and look to the fortunes of the nation over the coming year.

Ugadi is the New Year (Lunar New Year) for Telugu and Kannada speaking people and it ushers in the spring season. Ugadi 2022 date is April 2. Shubhakrutha Nama Samvatsara (name of a new calendar year) begins on April 2, 2022. In USA, Canada and UK, it is marked on April 2. In Australia, Malaysia and Singapore it is on April 2.

Ugadi has its derivation from the word ‘Yugadi’ which consists of two terms ‘Yuga’ and ‘adi,’ which respectively means ‘cycle of time’ and ‘beginning’.

Ugadi Pachadi
Ugadi Pachadi which is distributed on the day is a unique dish with a mixture of six tastes ranging from sweet to bitter. It comprises of jaggery, raw mango, tamarind, neem flowers, salt and green chilli. This is the first dish that people have on Ugadi day.

Ugadi Pachadi has an important symbolic meaning that life brings different experiences ranging from sweet to bitter. Therefore each individual should learn to take the different experiences in one’s stride and move ahead.

Instead of the Ugadi Pachadi, in some places people serve jaggery mixed with neem leaves. The bitter taste of neem leaves and the sweet of jaggery symbolize joy and sorrow in life.

symbols of religions

2 April 2022
Chaitra Navratri – Hinduism

Chaitra Navratri - Hinduism

This is a festival of the Divine Mother, with worship of the Mother occurring over nine nights (navratri). This is principally a festival marking the Divine Mother (Goddess Durga) defeating a demon in battle. It marks the victory of good over evil.

Chaitra Navaratri is the second most celebrated Navaratri, named after vasanta which means spring. It is observed during the lunar month of Chaitra (March–April). In many regions, the festival falls after spring harvest, and in others, during harvest. It also marks the first day of the Hindu lunisolar calendar, also known as the Hindu Lunar New Year, according to the Vikram Samvat calendar. It is a nine-day festival, and this year, it will commence of 2nd April 2022 and will go on till 11th April 2022, with Ashtami being celebrated on the last day after. 9th day is celebrated as Navami, which marks the birth day of Lord Rama.

Significance Of Chaitra Navratri:

The nine days of Chaitra Navratri are devoted to worshipping the nine incarnations of Goddess Durga. Many people also observe fast on the first and last day, or all nine days. Sattvik (pure food that does not disturb bodily humors) diet is to be followed, which prohibits the consumption of onion, garlic, eggs, meats and alcohol. Many devotees also observe phallar fasting, which makes them abstain from consuming grains, cereals and legumes also.

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10 April 2022
Rama Navami – Hinduism

April 10 is Rama Navami – a festival of Hinduism.

In the Hindu religion, God has taken up human form many times. There are the ten avatars of the God Vishnu, who have taken human birth. (Ava-tara means “descent of divinity”). It is to be kept in mind that God takes human form to destroy evil and restore righteousness on a firm footing. One such avatar of the God Vishnu is Lord Rama.

Lord Rama was born in the ancient kingdom of Ayodhya (in the north of India) and had three brothers: Shatrugna, Laksmana and Bharatha. He was brought up in the ways of right conduct, and at the command of his father, abandoned his coronation and went to live in the forests for thirteen years. His wife Sita, and one brother by name Laksmana accompanied him into the forest.

His wife Sita was abducted by an enemy king, Ravana, and thus begins the great story of Rama – the Ramayana – the triumph of right conduct, righteousness, over evil and the return of Sita to Rama. Rama then took up his role as King and ruled over the kingdom of Ayodhya, the Lord Kosala.

Lord Rama is the model, the human embodiment of dharma, righteousness, right conduct. He is named the ideal son (obedient to his father), ideal brother, ideal husband, ideal king. Rama is a man of one wife, one word (of truth) and one arrow (unerring aim and right conduct).

symbols of religions

10 April – Palm Sunday – Christian

Palms used in Christian Palm Sunday observance
Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. Christian churches distribute palm crosses and services will often include a procession of the faithful carrying palm branches representing the palm branches the crowd scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Palm branches at the time were considered symbols of victory and triumph and the symbolism of the donkey may refer to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war.

Justice and Freedom for Refugees

Palm Sunday in Australia:
An Annual Event in Australia on this day:

the Palm Sunday Walk for Justice and Freedom for Refugees.

Diverse faith groups, civil society organisations, refugee groups and unions have endorsed the Palm Sunday Walk for Justice and Freedom for Refugees.

People across Australia will take action and stand in solidarity with refugees, calling for Justice and Freedom for Refugees. See listing of Palm Sunday actions here: https://aran.net.au/actions/palm-sunday-2022/

Please join with other [e.g. your Church members] from across the diocese in the lead up to, and on Palm Sunday 10 April 2022, in calling for more compassionate and humane treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum!
Register for the Justice for Refugees ONLINE FORUM on Wednesday 6 April at 7:00pm.

The Australian Refugee Action Network is hosting this webinar which will explore our treatment of refugees and those who seek protection, and how this could be entirely different, with some reflection on Australia’s more enlightened response to the Vietnamese refugee crisis in the late 70s. Instead of punishing refugees for seeking safety as we currently do, Australia could be offering safe resettlement and treat people who seek our protection with dignity, fairness and compassion. Australia should have a more generous approach to refugees and work with regional neighbours to create safe resettlement options and pathways for people fleeing persecution and war.

Speakers:

  • Craig Foster – former Australian of the Year, former soccer player, and refugee rights advocate.
  • Shabnam Safa, Chair National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group (NRAAG)
  • Asher Hirsch, Refugee Council of Australia
  • Dr Claire Loughnan, University of Melbourne
  • Abbas Nazari – author of After the Tampa (Tampa refugee 2001 and Fulbright Scholar)

 

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(to be continued)

 

 

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