Posts Tagged celebration

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Tanabata Festival: July 7

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Tanabata Festival: July 7
Tanabata is the Japanese star festival. The cultural festival dates back approximately 2000 years and has its roots in a Chinese legend. Princess, Orihime, a weaver, fell in love with a cow herder named Hikoboshi. They were so madly in love that they forgot about their work. As punishment, Orihime's father, the emperor of the heavens, moved the lovers to opposite sides of the Milky Way and allowed them to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month. The lovers can only meet if it is a clear night; if it rains, they must wait another year.  Read more »

I Oppose War But Taught My Kids to Remember Our Veterans

  On Memorial Day, my family went on a visit to a military graveyard in San Francisco.  Read more »

Ramadan: June 28-July 28

Ramadan falls in the ninth month of the Muslim lunar year and is one of the largest holidays for Muslims.  Read more »

Tanabata Festival: July 7

Tanabata is the Japanese star festival. The cultural festival dates back approximately 2000 years and has its roots in a Chinese legend.  Read more »

Korean Children’s Day: May 5

Children’s Day is a South Korean national holiday celebrating, you guessed right, children. The holiday was created in 1923 by children’s book author Bang Jeong Hwan as a way to honor children since he believed they were the future of the country. Bang Jeong-hwan wrote, "Children are the heroes of tomorrow. May they grow to be gentle, vigorous, and wise.  Read more »

Ridvan: April 21 – May 2

Almost 150 years ago, Baghdad experienced a spring such as the city had never seen before and has not seen since. In the last week of April, a wind blew that lasted for days. In the Najibiyyih Garden, in Baghdad’s Rusafa district on the banks of the Tigris River, roses bloomed in profusion as the nightingale sang without restraint. But the spring of 1863 was memorable not only for its physical beauty.  Read more »

Vaisakhi (Bhaisakhi): April 14

Vaisakhi (also spelled Bhaisakhi) is a joyful festival on April 14, celebrating the founding of the Sikh community known as the Khalsa. While it historically was a celebration in Punjab, India of the first harvest, after 1699, the day came to commemorate the founding of the Sikh community by Guru Gobind Singh.   The celebration begins with Sikhs donning their nice clothes and visiting Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship), where they participate in special prayers, sing songs and share a meal in the langar hall (community hall).  Read more »

Passover: March 25-April 2

Passover is one of the most important holidays of the Jewish year.  Passover celebrates the biblical account of the ancient Israelites' redemption from slavery in Egypt to freedom. According to the book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible, the Pharaoh (ruler) of Egypt enslaved the Israelites, forcing them to endure cruel labor and eventually ordered the murder of all male children.  Read more »

Ayyam-i-Ha: February 26-March 1

Ayyam-i-Ha (also called Intercalary Days) is a period of hospitality, charity and gift-giving for Baha'is that is celebrated from February 26 to March 1. This is a festive time where people give gifts--mainly to children, have parties and focus on charity. Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Baha'i faith, said of Ayyam-i-Ha, "It behoveth the people of Baha, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name.  Read more »

St. Nicholas Day: December 6

St. Nicholas Day is a popular celebration for children across many European countries. St. Nicholas is the predecessor to Santa Claus and has a reputation for his generosity. As legend has it, he leaves children presents if they are nice and coal if they are naughty in their shoes. St. Nicholas lived in what was formerly Greece and is now Turkey in the third century A.  Read more »

Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos: November 1st

Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a well-known holiday that, despite its motif of death, is a celebration of the lives of loved ones who have passed away. Originally derived from Azetc rituals, the holiday became connected to All Soul's and All Saint's Day after Spanish conquest, as the Spaniards tried to put a Christian spin on it.  Read more »

Eid al-Adha: October 26

Eid al-Adha (the Festival of Sacrifice) celebrates Ibrahim's (Abraham in Christianity and Judaism) obedience to God in nearly sacrificing his son Ishmael (Ismael), but instead was able to sacrifice a ram in his place. It is celebrated on the 10th day of the month of the lunar Islamic calendar following Hajj, Muslims' annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Since Eid begins at the first sighting of the new moon, the date varies by one day depending on whether the Saudi Arabian or North American sighting is observed.  Read more »

Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year): September 11

Enkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year, marks the end of the rainy reason and the beginning of the spring sunshine. While Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, the holiday falls on September 11th according to the Western or Gregorian calendar, except for leap years, when it occurs on September 12th. Enkutatash, meaning “gift of jewels” in Amharic, originally derives from the story of the Queen of Sheba returning from visiting King Solomon in Jerusalem, according to popular legend.  Read more »

Ramadan: July 20 through August 18

Ramadan falls in the ninth month of the Muslim lunar year and is one of the largest holidays for Muslims. It begins when the new moon is spotted and falls on August 1st this year; each year it begins approximately 10 to 11 days earlier. It was during Ramadan that Allah (God) first revealed the Quran to Prophet Muhammed. Ramadan is a month of spiritual reflection and self-control through fasting.  Read more »

Scandinavian Midsummer Festival: June 21

Traditionally in Scandinavian countries on the 21st of June, bonfires glow in a night with no darkness, since at this time of year the sun never really sets. On this evening, buried treasures can be discovered by studying how moonbeams fall. Girls and young women pick flowers on their way home and lay them under their pillows so that that their dreams reveal who their husbands will be.  Read more »

Nowruz (Persian New Year): March 20

Nowruz (Nouruz/Nowrooz/Norooz), the Persian New Year, falls on the first day of spring of the solar calendar (which is different from the Gregorian solar calendar). Nowruz is a festivity that transcends religions as it is not confined to any one religious group--it is celebrated in many countries globally including Iran, Central Asia, Turkey and in other traditional Persian communities found throughout the world.  Read more »

Holi: March 8

Holi is the Indian Festival of Colors. It is the celebration of the beginning of spring and represents rejuvenation and rebirth through all of the bright colors associated with the festival. During the festival, people smear powdered, bright colors on each other's faces and splash colored water at one another.   Holi is a Hindu festival, typically celebrated in the North of India, and is also celebrated around the world in places like Nepal, Sri Lanka, and countries which have a large Hindu Diaspora like Suriname, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, the U.  Read more »

Imbolc: February 1-2

Imbolc is a pagan holiday, usually celebrated on the eve of February 1 and into February 2 in Ireland and Scotland. In the Middle Ages, its association may have been with the goddess Brigid (later Christianized as St. Brigid). Brigid is the Gaelic goddess of poetry, healing and smithcraft. In the Christian calendar, the holiday is now called Candlemas.  Read more »

Lunar New Year: January 23, 2012

The Lunar New Year (or Asian New Year) is the most celebrated holiday of the year across many Asian countries. On the first day of the first new moon after the winter solstice in the lunar calendar (January 23, 2012), countries like Korea, Taiwan, China, Vietnam and Asian communities in many Western countries will celebrate the New Year. The New Year flushes out the old and welcomes in the new, making space for happiness, wealth, luck and longevity.  Read more »

Three Kings Day: January 6

While many people are undergoing the Christmas let-down that happens after the 25th, others are just gearing up for their holiday season. Christmas is just one marker on the festive path through the holidays that culminates in Three Kings Day (El Dia de los Reyes Magos also known as Epiphany). Three Kings Day is celebrated in many Christian regions around the world, including Latin America, Spain and much of Eastern Europe, and by Christian populations in places like Turkey, Syria and others.  Read more »

Hopi Winter Solstice (Soyal): December 22

The Hopi Indians, who have lived in the highlands of northern Arizona for over a thousand years, divide their calendar into 12 months with different ceremonies in each month. December is the month where the katsinas or kachinas, the spirits that guard over the Hopi, come down from their world at the winter solstice or Soyal (also referred to as Soyaluna and Soyalangwu).  Read more »

Germany’s Oktoberfest: September 17 – October 3

Germany's Oktoberfest, one of the largest fairs in the world, attracts over six million people annually to Munich to drink locally brewed beer, eat German specialties, sing and dance. The beer comes from six local breweries and the most typical foods are roast chicken, pork knuckles, sauerkraut, and sausages together with other foods like potato pancakes and apple strudel.  Read more »

The Festival of the Virgin of Carmen: July 16

Nestled in the Andean highlands, quiet Peruvian villages become teeming centers of dance, music, and merrymaking every year on July 16th that lasts for three days.   The festival offers a blend of religious devotion and Incan tradition, with regional dance troupes decked out in ornate costumes and vibrant masks. The dancers retell battle stories and the traditional folklore of the Inca, while the masks commemorate those used for protection when vanquished Incan peoples danced in rebellion against Spanish rule.  Read more »

Mongolia’s Naadam Festival: July 11-13

The Naadam Festival is the major Mongolian holiday. Naadam, meaning game or competition in Mongolian, features the three sporting passions of Mongolians: wrestling, horse racing and archery over three days of festivities. Naadam is not just limited to sports but is a carnival of music, dancing and food.   All three sports have their roots in the historical warrior tradition of Mongolia.  Read more »

St. Jean Baptiste Day (Canada): June 24

Akin to the national holiday of Quebec, Saint Jean Baptiste Day is a celebration of Francophone culture in Canada. While Jean Baptiste is Quebec’s patron saint, Jean Baptiste Day has more pagan than religious roots and remains a secular holiday today.   The day was originally a celebration of the summer solstice. However, in 1834, after becoming inspired by the celebration of St.  Read more »

Vesak (Wesak): May 13 (date varies)

Vesak (also known as Wesak) commemorates the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death with a colorful, fun festival. Casually the holiday is often referred to as the “Buddha’s birthday.” The exact date of Vesak changes according to the varying lunar calendars used in different traditions. It is primarily celebrated within Theravada Buddhism (practiced in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, etc.  Read more »

Easter: April 8

Easter is a Christian holiday, celebrating Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead. It falls two days after Good Friday, which commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. Easter also marks the end of Lent, the 40-day season characterized by fasting, prayer and penance. In the Western church, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.  Read more »

Chinese New Year: February 3

The Chinese New Year is the most celebrated holiday of the year in China. It takes place on the first day of the first new moon after the winter solstice in the lunar calendar (February 3rd, 2011). Socially, it is a time for being with friends and relatives and the greater significance is of flushing out the old and welcoming in the new. This holiday, more than any other Chinese holiday, stresses the importance of family ties.  Read more »

Japanese New Year: January 1st through January 3rd

The Japanese New Year, shogatsu, spans several days from December 31st to January 3rd. It is the most important holiday of the year in Japan. While the New Year was originally based on the Chinese lunar calendar, in 1873, it changed to the Gregorian calendar. To prepare for the New Year, people clean their houses and decorate. Kadomatsu are a common decoration made from bamboo, pine branches and strips of folded white paper.  Read more »

Armenian Christmas: January 6

Armenian Christmas, also known as Theophany, is celebrated one day before the Orthodox Christmas. Although Armenia follows the Gregorian calendar, when the Romans changed the date of Christmas to December 25 in the fourth century, Armenians held to the original January 6th date. Santa Claus/Father Christmas is known as Gaghant Baba to Armenians. He traditionally comes on New Year's Eve (December 31st), which is the start of the holiday season leading up to Christmas.  Read more »

Hanukkah: December 1

Hanukkah, meaning "dedication" in Hebrew, celebrates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Jews defeated the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks). It is an eight day and night tradition where one additional candle is lit each night on the menorah. The history of Hanukkah dates back to 18 B.C.E. when the Seleucids took the Jewish Holy Temple from the Jewish people and dedicated it to the worship of the God Zeus.  Read more »

Family History

In the ten years between my wedding day and the day I met my children, I spent a lot of time fantasizing about all of the traditions we would celebrate once I finally became a mother. The celebrations I imagined looked a lot like those from my own childhood. There would be Christmas stockings stuffed full of Clementine oranges, chocolate coins, and Bonnie Bell lip smackers; dyed Easter eggs hidden in an obvious way around the living room; piñatas and paper donkey tails poised in the backyard for a birthday party.  Read more »

Diwali: November 5th

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is one of the most vibrant and exciting Hindu celebrations. It is full of color and reverie, representing the philosophy behind it. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil and awareness of one's own inner light against a backdrop of fireworks, sweets, new clothes, decorating and cleaning homes, lighting lanterns and diyas (small oil lamps made of clay), exchanging gifts and drawing henna designs on hands.  Read more »
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