5 Religious Events You Should Know If You Are An Indian
1) The Passover:
The Passover festival, which is celebrated around the same time as Easter, reminds Jews of the exodus of their ancestors, the Israelites, from Egypt to their liberation from slavery. The festival starts with a service in the synagogue, which is followed by the Seder evening, where the food to be eaten is prepared according to fixed rules. No pickled dishes are eaten, and not even leavened bread. Instead, crisp ‘matzos’ are baked within 18 minutes using flour and water. This tradition reminds that the exodus from Egypt was in such a hurry that there was no time even for fermenting the bread dough.
2) The Vesak’s:
At Vesak, the Buddhists remember the birth, enlightenment, and the death of their great teacher, the Buddha. These anniversaries are celebrated on different days in different countries, depending on various lunar calendar used. During the celebration, all Buddha statues are washed as a sign of purging the spirit. Birds are released and floral offerings are made to signify peace for all living beings. Candle-lit processions are also taken out at some places.
Jesus Christ died on the cross on Friday, and according to Christian beliefs, he was resurrected on Sunday. This Resurrection is celebrated as Easter Sunday. Starting from Ash Wednesday, Christians fast for 40 days till Easter. Some Easter customs originate from pagan festivals, which were celebrated at the same time before the birth of the Christ. In Germany, Easter bunnies bring eggs, and in France there are bells, returning from Rome, that bring sweets.
4) The Kumbh Mela and The Ganges:
The Ganges, known as ‘Ganga’ in India, is a river, and also the name of a Hindu deity. The Ganges is the living form of the goddess, and therefore its water is holy. Bathing in the Ganges is supposed to wash away all your sins. Millions of people visit its banks every year for a holy dip. Every twelve years, the Kumbh Mela takes place in the city of Allahabad. A bath in the Ganges River at a specific place and time during this Mela is considered to be sacred. A devout Hindu believes that death in the holy city of Varanasi, and his ashes washed away in the river Ganges, will ensure that he breaks away from the wheel of life and achieves Nirvana.
5) The Hajj:
The Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam was born here in the year 570 AD. The pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five religious duties of each Muslim, along with praying five times a day, recognizing Allah as the only God, giving alms, and fasting four weeks once a year. If he can afford it, every healthy adult Muslim must go to Mecca once in his life on the pilgrimage. Today, about 2 million Muslims go for the Hajj every year.