"Half the world's population is going to be celebrating something," says Raymond Clothey, Professor Emeritus of Religious studies at the University of Pittsburgh. "My goodness," says Delton Krueger, owner of interfaith calendar, who follows "14 major religions and six others." He counts 20 holidays altogether (including some religious double-dips, like Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) between the 20th (which is also quite crowded) and the 21st. He marvels: "There is no other time in 2008 when there is this kind of concentration."
See on the same shelf and aisle: Definitions of Religious Holiday Terms @ MikeGhouse.com
By DAVID VAN BIEMA WITH SIMON ROBINSON/NEW DELHI Fri Mar 21,
On Friday more than a billion Christians around the world will mark the gravest observance on their Calendar, Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross. (To be followed in two days by Easter Sunday, to mark his Resurrection).
But unlike some holy days - say, Christmas, which some non-Christians in the U.S. observe informally by going to a movie and ordering Chinese food - on this particular Friday, March 21, it seems almost no believer of any sort will be left without his or her own holiday. In what is statistically, at least, a once-in-a-millennium combination, the following will all occur on the 21st:
Purim, a Jewish festival celebrating the biblical book of Esther
Narouz, the Persian New Year, which is observed with Islamic elaboration in Iran and all the "stan" countries, as well as by Zoroastrians and Baha'is.
Eid Milad an Nabi, the Birth of the Prophet, which is celebrated by some but not all Sunni Muslims and, though officially beginning on Thursday, is often marked on Friday.
Small Holi, Hindu, an Indian festival of bonfires, to be followed on Saturday by Holi, a kind of Mardi Gras.
[Info courtesy: Davendra Gupta]