Interfaith calendar dates are shown using the Gregorian (Western) calendar. Dates determined by the lunar calendar may vary by region. Jewish festivals usually begin at sunset on the previous day.

Interfaith calendar - Holy Days, celebrations and Festivals in May 2012It’s May already and time for this month’s interfaith calendar of celebrations, festivals and holy days around the globe.

Fittingly, May 1st brings us Beltane, the Pagan fire festival welcoming the Summer and the hopes of  a fertile year. On a more local level, on May 1st the Defining Moves household are welcoming the coming of the Grandmother, complete with chocolate, teabags and crepe production capabilities, so we too will be hoping for a fruitful season..

 

1

Beltane (Pagan)

See above. Pagan traditions associated with May 1st (May Day) survive in many Scandinavian and European countries, such as the May Day bank holiday, the May pole and many other practices historically linked with celebrations of fertility and abundance.

 

2

End of Ridvan (Bahai)

“This twelve-day period (April 21 – May 2) celebrates the time in 1863 when Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed His Mission as God’s Messenger for this age at a garden in Baghdad, that became known as the Garden of Ridván (Paradise).” Gary Heise

It is celebrated with communal prayers and a day of rest.

Birthday of Guru Arjan (Sikh)

Guru Arjan (the fifth Sikh Guru and first Sikh Martyr) is most remembered for collating the previous four Guru’s teachings into one book – known as the Guru Granth Sahib. In doing so, he included work from Hindu and Muslim saints, and was subsequently martyred when he refuse to remove them.

He is also responsible for laying the foundation of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, creating the idea of  the four doors in a Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) and for introducing the idea of a ten percent charitable tithe.

 

5

Wesak (Buddhist)

Buddhists celebrate Wesak (the Buddha’s Birthday) on the first full moon in May. It is considered the most important date in the Buddhist calendar, and is associated with achieving enlightenment.

It is traditionally celebrated by discarding out the old and welcoming the new, so homes are cleaned and decorated, by leaving offerings at the temple and by praying and bathing the Buddha with water.

 

10

Lag B’Omer (Jewish)

Celebrated on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer , Lag B’Omer commemorates the death of Shimon bar Yochai, and in modern Jewish tradition, the revolt against the Roman Empire. It is seen as celebrating the strength of the Jewish character.

 

17 / 20

Ascension Day (Christian / Catholic Church of England and Wales)

Following Christ’s resurrection on Easter day, Ascension Day / Sunday celebrates the ascent  of Christ into Heaven in the presence of his disciples.

 

20

Yom Yerushalayim

Also known as Jerusalem Day, it marks the reunification of the Old City in 1967.

 

23

Declaration of the Bab (Bahai)

The Bab was the predecessor to Bahá’u’lláh, and was responsible for paving the latter’s way. He announced the coming of Bahá’u’lláh on this date in 1844.

 

25

St Bede the Venerable (Christian)

A 8th century English Christian monk and scholar, Bede wrote the bestselling “Ecclesiastical History” which is still in print, and a definitive Latin Bible edition.

 

27

Pentecost (Christian)

Celebrated on the 50th day after Christ’s ascension into heaven, Pentecost celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit, the third part of the Holy Trinity. Celebrated in Christian churches throughout the world, priests wear red to symbolize the flames accompanying the holy spirit to earth.

Shavuot

Celebrated 50 days after Passover, Shavuot is the second of the Jewish harvest festivals, and also marks the date that Jews were given the Torah on Mount Sinai. It is celebrated with the recitation of prayers, by decorating with flowers and the eating of dairy products.

 

29

Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh

Marking the death of Bahá’u’lláh in 1892, followers of Bahai observe a day of rest and prayer.

 

Further Reading

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/tools/calendar/date.shtml?month=&year=2012

 

 

 

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