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Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday! Happy Purim, Narouz & Eid Milad Mubarak, Magha Puja

"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 @
Three hands hold out the symbols of the three monotheistic religions.  Sèbastien Dèsarmaux / Godong / Corbis


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.

Magha Puja, a celebration of the Buddha's first group of followers, marked primarily in Thailand. AKA Sangha Day.

[Info courtesy: Davendra Gupta]


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

You make a very good point. With so many celebrating Spring in one way or another, can we not all agree to thank God for Grace and new beginnings?

I'm thankful for people (like you) who are able and willing to look for similarities instead of stumbling on differences.


Anonymous said...

Bless you for creating a site that gathers interfaith messages.Think time is right for people of good will across the globe to make their presence known.
Delton Krueger
The Interfaith Calendar

Dazy said...

I am afraid if it is related to the topic or not - I have a Muslim friend of mine, Aman. He celebrates Eid very sacredly. Last year he brought some very unconventional sweets and another dessert Simui for us. I respect their religion.

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