Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Interfaith Days: Beginning of Ridvan

Today is the first day of the twelve-day period of Ridvan in the Baha'i faith. The festival commemorates Bahá'u'lláh's announcement of his claim to prophethood, and subsequently his 1863 departure from Baghdad. Today, the ninth day, and the twelfth day are Baha'i holiday days with a suspension of work. "The name derives from the Najibiyyih Garden in Baghdad where Bahá'u'lláh stayed during this period and to which he gave the name Ridvan (Paradise)," according to this site, which provides more information.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Interfaith Days: Yom Hashoah

Today is Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah, "Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day," the Jewish commemoration of the Holocaust, when 6 million Jews and 5 million others perished, as well as Jewish resistance during that time. It began in 1953 and is usually observed on 27 Nisan. "Shoah" is Hebrew for utter destruction or catastrophe. This site gives more information on its meaning, history, and observance.

(From the 2015 Interfaith Calendar of the Diversity Awareness Partnership of St. Louis---see dapstl.org for more information---and various online sources.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Interfaith Days: Baisakhi/Vaisakhi, Lord's Evening Meal

Because of writing deadlines, I "spaced" yesterday and missed a holiday: Vaisakhi, also called Baisakhi. It is an important Sikh holiday, the Punjabi new year, and also the day of the establishment of the Khalsa. Vaisakhi is the beginning of the solar new year in parts of India, thus making it important for Hindus as well.  This site gives more information about this day.

Today is the Lord's Evening Meal, the annual Jehovah's Witness commemoration of Christ's death. This site describes the day's importance.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Interfaith Days: Pascha

Today is Pascha, or Easter in the Orthodox Church. The word Pascha is a transliteration of the Greek word Πάσχα), which in turn means "Pesach" or Passover. The day has been preceded by twelve weeks of preparation: the pre-lenten Sundays, Great Lent, and Holy Week; the day itself focuses upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, which is the center of Christian faith. This site gives a summary of the day's religious services, and this site provides more information.

My wife Beth found this site of services happening in Jerusalem. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/11/holy-fire-2015-orthodox-easter_n_7045904.html?ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067

Friday, April 10, 2015

Interfaith Days: Orthodox Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, or Great and Holy Friday, in Orthodox Christian churches in the U.S. It is a day of fasting; some priests wrap icons of Jesus in linen to symbolize his burial. Services begin with the Matins of Holy Friday on Thursday evening and end with Friday afternoon Vespers. Some families use the day to decorate eggs for the upcoming Easter celebration. This site contains information about the Orthodox observance of the day.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Interfaith Days: Founding of the LDS Church

Joseph Smith, c. 1842
Today is the anniversary of the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 1830. The prophet Joseph Smith had been staying at the Fayette, NY home of Peter Whitmer, where Smith completed the translation of the Book of Mormon, and where Smith continued to receive divine revelations. One was a commandment to organize the church, as described at this site. April 6 is also considered by Mormons to be the date of Christ's birth, and it is also the date of dedication of the St. George Utah Temple, the Salt Lake Temple, and the Palmyra New York Temple.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Interfaith Days: Easter

Today is Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, the Christian festival that celebrates Christ's resurrection. (In Orthodox Christianity, Easter is April 12). It is the climax of Holy Week and concludes the season of Lent, and is the beginning of the seven-week Easter Season leading up to Pentecost Sunday. The date is figured by the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, which means that the holiday can happen as early as March 21 and as late as April 25. "Easter" actually comes from the name of an Anglo-Saxon and Germanic goddess of the springtime, while "Pascha" derives from the Hebrew "Pesach," the name of the Passover season, from which Easter derives several theological aspects as well as calendar proximity.