Sunday, April 1, 2012

Catch Up and Check In

My Lenten Fast is over and I have learned that, for me personally, it is easier to give up an habitual behavior than it is to take on a new behavior.  Melissa (my spouse), claims I was easier to live with while I was not drinking alcohol and my son (Griffin), who believes just about anything he reads at present, asked  if I have ever partook of spirits, meaning alcohol, and I said,  "yes."  He promptly freaked out, showing me a school library book entitled, Spontaneous Combustion, telling me there was was a story in it about a woman who consumed so many spirits that she exploded on a hot day (it's Aprils Fools Day today but this is a true story based on true events).

As for religious holidays that I have missed celebrating and/or mentioning on this blog:

HOLI
Hindu holiday
celebrated on March 9th
from Wikipedia
Holi (Hindi: होली), is a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus. Holi is also known as Festival of Colours. It is primarily observed in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal,  and countries with large Indic diaspora populations following Hinduism, such as Suriname, Malaysia, Guyana, South Africa, Trinidad, United Kingdom, United States, Mauritius, and Fiji. It is also known as Doḷajāta (Oriya: ଦୋଳଯାତ) in Orissa and Dol Jatra (Bengali: দোলযাত্রা) or Basantotsav ("spring festival") (Bengali: বসন্তোৎসব) in West Bengal. The most celebrated Holi is in the Braj region, in locations connected to the Lord Krishna: Mathura, Vrindavan, Nandagaon, and Barsana. These places have become tourist destinations during the festive season of Holi.Large parts of South India, however, do not celebrate Holi with the same fervour as in other parts of the country.
The main day, Holi, also known as Dhuli in Sanskrit, also Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing scented powder and perfume at each other. Bonfires are lit on the eve of the festival, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). After doing holika dahan prayers are said and praise is offered. The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. Holika Dahan is referred to as Kama Dahanam in South India.
Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March. In 2009, Holi (Dhulandi) was on March 11 and Holika Dahan was on March 10. In 2010, Holi was on March 1 and Holika Dahan was on February 28. In 2011, Holi was on March 20 and Holika Dahan was on March 19.
In most areas, Holi lasts about two days. One of Holi’s biggest customs is the loosening strictness of social structures, which normally include age, gender, status, and caste. Holi closes the wide gaps between social classes and brings Hindus together. Together, the rich and poor, women and men, enjoy each other’s presence on this joyous day. Additionally, Holi lowers (but does not remove completely) the strictness of social norms. No one expects polite behavior; as a result, the atmosphere is filled with excitement, fun and joy.
Every year, thousands of Hindus participate in the festival Holi. The festival has many purposes. First and foremost, it celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. It also has a religious purpose, commemorating many events that are present in Hindu mythology. Although it is the least religious holiday, it is probably one of the most exhilarating ones in existence. During this event, participants hold a bonfire, throw colored powder at each other, and celebrate wildly.
Originally, it was a festival that commemorated good harvests and the fertile land. In addition to celebrating the coming of spring, Holi has even greater purposes. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring's abundant colors and saying farewell to winter. Furthermore, Holi celebrates many religious myths and legends.
Rangapanchami occurs a few days later on a Panchami (fifth day of the full moon), marking the end of festivities involving colours.

Vaisakhi 
Sikh holiday
celebrated on March 13th
from Wikipedia
For people of Punjab, especially the Sikhs, Visakhi is a mega event. It's a religious as well as harvest festival and New Year Day also. For the Sikh community, it has a very special meaning. Sikhs celebrate Visakhi as the day of the formation of the Khalsa (the pure one). On the day, in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh (the tenth Sikh Guru) established the Khalsa and eliminated the differences of high and low and established that all human beings are equal.Sikhism, in its present form, owes its existence to that Visakhi day. After the Visakhi day of 1699, the tradition of Gurus was put to an end by the Sikhs and later the Guru Granth Sahib was declared as their eternal guide and Holy Book by the tenth Guru.

The history tells another story that in 1567, Guru Ram Das committed Visakhi as one of the special days, when all the Sikhs would assemble to seek the blessings from Guru at Goindwal. Many Sikhs believe that on the day of Baisakhi, martyred by the barbaric acts of the Muslim rulers. According to the legend, he was dumped into boiling oil, by the Muslim rulers.

Creation of the Khalsa
It was the Visakhi day of 1699. The tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, standing outside a tent, called for a Sikh to sacrifice himself, on hearing this one Sikh volunteer presented himself before the Guru for sacrifice. Then the Guru took him to a tent a and came out with a blood stained sword that frightened the gathering. He then called for another volunteer four more times, and one-by-one, four others stepped forward for the calling of their guru. The same happened with the four. Later, the Guru used his Divine powers to bring the 5 back to life. The "5 Beloved Ones" were given a new life, they were reborn and were given a unique appearance and were called the Singh's. Then the Guru made Amrit (sacred water) with clear water and Patashas (Punjabi sweeteners) in an iron bowl while reading the holy Gurbani and baptized the five volunteers with the Amrit, added Singh to their names and called them Panj Piare (the beloved five).  Then the Guru took the Amrit from them and became Gobind Singh from Gobind Rai.

(There is another story that says that he sacrificed goats instead of people and that this story was actually a test of devotion to the cause. It is the one that is more popularly believed by Sikhs.)

St. Patricks Day
Christian holiday
celebrated on March 17th
from Wikipedia
Saint Patrick's Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, "the Day of the Festival of Patrick") is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.
It is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. Saint Patrick's Day was made an official feast day in the early seventeenth century, and has gradually become a celebration of Irish culture in general.
The day is generally characterised by the attendance of church services, wearing of green attire, public parades and processions, and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on eating, and drinking alcohol, which is often proscribed during the rest of the season.
Saint Patrick's Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland,Newfoundland and Labrador and Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Today, St. Patrick's Day is probably the most widely celebrated saint's day in the world.


Little is known of Patrick's early life, though it is known that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century, into a wealthy Romano-British family. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest in the Christian church. At the age of sixteen, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken captive to Ireland as a slave. It is believed he was held somewhere on the west coast of Ireland, possibly Mayo, but the exact location is unknown. According to his Confession, he was told by God in a dream to flee from captivity to the coast, where he would board a ship and return to Britain. Upon returning, he quickly joined the Church in Auxerre in Gaul and studied to be a priest.[citation needed]
In 432, he again said that he was called back to Ireland, though as a bishop, to Christianise the Irish from their native polytheism. Irish folklore tells that one of his teaching methods included using the shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish people. After nearly thirty years of evangelism, he died on 17 March 461, and according to tradition, was buried at Downpatrick. Although there were other more successful missions to Ireland from Rome, Patrick endured as the principal champion of Irish Christianity and is held in esteem in the Irish church.

Spring/Vernal Equinox
Wiccan/Pagan holiday
celebrated on March 20th (and/or September 23rd in the Southern hemisphere)
from Wikipedia

The vernal equinox, often called Ostara, is celebrated in the Northern hemisphere around March 21 and in the Southern hemisphere around September 23, depending upon the specific timing of the equinox. Among the Wiccan sabbats, it is preceded by Imbolc and followed by Beltane.
The name Ostara may be related to the word for "east". It has been connected to the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre by Jacob Grimm in his Deutsche Mythologie.

In terms of Wiccan ditheism, this festival is characterized by the rejoining of the Mother Goddess and her lover-consort-son, who spent the winter months in death. Other variations include the young God regaining strength in his youth after being born at Yule, and the Goddess returning to her Maiden aspect.

Naw-Ruz
Baha i and Persian New Year
celebrated on March 2121
from Wikipedia
Nowrūz (Persian: نوروز‎, IPA: [nouˈɾuːz], meaning "[The] New Day") is the name of the Iranian New Year in Iranian calendars and the corresponding traditional celebrations. Nowruz is also widely referred to as the "Persian New Year".
Nowruz is celebrated and observed by Iranian peoples and the related cultural continent and has spread in many other parts of the world, including parts of Central Asia, Caucasus, South Asia, Northwestern China, the Crimea and some groups in the Balkans.
Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the year in Iranian calendar. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, which usually occurs on March 21 or the previous/following day depending on where it is observed. As well as being a Zoroastrian holiday and having significance amongst the Zoroastrian ancestors of modern Iranians, the same time is celebrated in parts of the South Asian sub-continent as the new year. The moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day is calculated exactly every year and Iranian families gather together to observe the rituals.
Originally being a Zoroastrian festival, and the holiest of them all, Nowruz is believed to have been invented by Zoroaster himself, although there is no clear date of origin. Since the Achaemenid era the official year has begun with the New Day when the Sun leaves the zodiac of Pisces and enters the zodiacal sign of Aries, signifying the Spring Equinox.
The Jewish festival of Purim is probably adopted from the Persian New Year. It is also a holy day for Sufis, Ismailis, Alawites, Alevis, and adherents of the Bahá'í Faith.
The term Nowruz in writing, first appeared in Persian records in the 2nd century AD, but it was also an important day during the time of the Achaemenids c. 548–330 BC), where kings from different nations under the Persian empire used to bring gifts to the Emperor, also called King of Kings (Shahanshah), of Persia on Nowruz. The significance of Nowruz in the Achaemenid empire was such that the great Persian king Cambyses II's appointment as the king of Babylon was legitimized only after his participation in the New Year festival (Nowruz).
The UN's General Assembly in 2010 recognized the International Day of Nowruz, describing it a spring festival of Persian origin which has been celebrated for over 3,000 years.During the meeting of The Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage of the United Nations, held between 28 September – 2 October 2009 in Abu Dhabi, Nowrūz was officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Naw-Rúz in the Bahá'í Faith
Naw-Rúz in the Bahá'í Faith is one of nine holy days for adherents of the Bahá'í Faith worldwide and the first day of the Bahá'í calendar occurring on the vernal equinox, around March 21. The Bahá'í calendar is composed of 19 months, each of 19 days, and each of the months is named after an attribute of God; similarly each of the nineteen days in the month also are named after an attribute of God. The first day and the first month were given the attribute of Bahá, an Arabic word meaning splendour or glory, and thus the first day of the year was the day of Bahá in the month of Bahá. Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, explained that Naw-Rúz was associated with the Most Great Name of God, and was instituted as a festival for those who observed the Nineteen day fast.
The day is also used to symbolize the renewal of time in each religious dispensation. `Abdu'l-Bahá, Bahá'u'lláh's son and successor, explained that significance of Naw-Rúz in terms of spring and the new life it brings. He explained that the equinox is a symbol of the messengers of God and the message that they proclaim is like a spiritual springtime, and that Naw-Rúz is used to commemorate it.
As with all Bahá'í holy days, there are few fixed rules for observing Naw-Rúz, and Bahá'ís all over the world celebrate it as a festive day, according to local custom. Persian Bahá'ís still observe many of the Iranian customs associated with Nowruz such as the Haft Sîn, but American Bahá'í communities, for example, may have a potluck dinner, along with prayers and readings from Bahá'í scripture.











2 comments:

  1. So...are you going to resume drinking?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Of course, just much less often.

    ReplyDelete