Religious Festivals

At Elm Grove we take pride in celebrating the diversity within our school. This includes having an awareness of our communities’ different religious beliefs, and their festivities held throughout the year.

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is a special festival which celebrates the Jewish New Year. It is a celebration of the creation of the world and marks making a fresh start. It is a time for people to reflect on the past year and to ask for forgiveness for anything wrong they feel they have done. Many Jewish families will spend some of Rosh Hashanah at a Synagogue. Food is also an important part of Rosh Hashanah, slices of apple are dipped in honey to symbolise a sweet new year ahead.

When is Rosh Hashanah?

In 2022 Rosh Hashanah will take place from September 25th to 27th.

Find out more about Rosh Hashanah here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/29363650

Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur means Day of Atonement (making amends for sins). It is the most sacred and solemn day in the Jewish calendar. It is a day to reflect on the past year and ask God’s forgiveness for any sins. Jews do not work or go to school on this day. Jews mark the day of Yom Kippur by fasting for 25 hours.  The most important part of Yom Kippur is the time spent in the synagogue (Jewish place of worship). Even Jews who do not go to the synagogue very much will go on Yom Kippur. 

When is Yom Kippur?

In 2022 Yom Kippur will begin in the evening of Tuesday 4th October.

Learn more about the history of Yom Kippur here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/znwhfg8/articles/z4vvjhv

Diwali

Diwali is a Hindu festival known as the ‘festival of lights’ because houses, shops and public places are decorated with small lamps. For many people this five day festival honours Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The lamps are lit and windows and doors are left open to help Lakshmi find her way into people’s homes. Other ways that Hindus celebrate the festival include spring-cleaning, wearing new clothes, exchanging gifts and big fireworks displays.

When is Diwali?

In 2022, Diwali is on Monday 24th October.

Learn more about Diwali here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zh86n39/articles/zjpp92p

Hanukkah

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. The word ‘Hanukkah’ means ‘Dedication’ in Hebrew. Hanukkah celebrates a miracle that happened in Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago. Watch the story of Hanukkah here: https://youtu.be/7tws_uMAEOs  Families celebrate Hanukkah by lighting a candlestick with eight candles called amenorah. They also often give gifts, play with the dreidel and eating traditional Jewish foods like Latkes.

When is Hanukkah?

In 2022 Hanukkah begins on the evening of Sunday 18th December.

Learn more about the celebration of  Hanukkah here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/znwhfg8/articles/zj446v4

Christmas

Christmas is a Christian holy day that marks the birth of Jesus, who Christians believe to be the Son of God. The story of Jesus’s birth (also known as the nativity) is often retold by children taking part in nativity plays. Christian church services at Christmas include carol singing, these are happy songs which tell the Christmas story. Families will gather to eat traditional Christmas dinners and exchange gifts. 

When is Christmas? 

Christmas is celebrated each year on 25th December.

Learn more about Christmas and the nativity story here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/ztkxpv4/articles/zdjjf4j

Naw Rúz

Naw Rúz is the Bahá’í new year festival. The festival is usually observed with meetings for prayer and celebration. The celebration is often combined with a feast as the sunset before Naw Rúz signals the end of a 19-day fast. Festivities also include music, dancing and exchanging gifts. Naw Rúz is one of the nine Bahá’í holy days on which work is suspended.

When is Naw Rúz?

Naw Rúz takes place on March 21st 

Learn more about the celebration of Naw Rúz here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on9KQ5UTq4U

Baháʼí Nineteen Day Feasts

Nineteen Day Feasts are regular community gatherings, occurring on the first day of each month of the Baháʼí calendar (nineteen days apart from each other). Each gathering consists of a Devotional, Administrative, and Social part. During the devotional part prayers are recited, and passages from the Bahá’í Holy Writings are read. During the administrative part deliberations on the needs of the local community takes place. The final social part is a time for friendship, elevated conversations and hospitality.

Learn more about the Baháʼí nineteen day feasts here: https://www.bahai.org.uk/nineteendayfeast-and-consultation

Vaisakhi

Vaisakhi is a spring harvest festival which celebrates the founding of the Sikh community. To celebrate Vaisakhi, Sikhs will visit their places of worship called Gudwaras. These will be especially decorated for the occasion. Many people enjoy parades and special processions through the streets, wearing traditional colourful clothing. 

When is Vaisakhi?

In 2022 Vaisakhi takes place on Thursday 14th April.

Learn more about the history behind Vaisakhi here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zsjpyrd/articles/z6qqy9q

Passover

Passover is a Jewish holiday celebrating of the Bible’s story of Exodus. During Passover, Jews remember how their ancestors left slavery behind them when they were led out of Egypt by Moses. Passover is celebrated with a series of rituals. Each ritual symbolises a different part of the story. On the evening before Passover starts, Jews have a special service called a Seder (Order). This takes place over a meal with family and friends at home. During the meal, the story of Exodus is told from a book called the Haggadah.

When is Passover?

In 2022 Passover begins on the evening of Friday 15th April. It is celebrated fro 7 days.

Learn more about Passover here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/znwhfg8/articles/zn22382

Easter

Easter is the most important festival in the Christian calendar. It celebrates Jesus rising from the dead, three days after he was executed. The week leading up to Easter is called Holy Week. For Christians, Easter eggs are used as a symbol for the resurrection of Jesus. An egg is a symbol of new life.

When is Easter?

In 2022 Easter Sunday is on 17th April.

Learn more about Easter and the Holy Week here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/ztkxpv4/articles/z4t6rj6 

Ramadan

Ramadan is a a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims. Ramadan remembers the month the Qur’an (the Muslim holy book) was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims won’t eat or drink during the hours of daylight. This is called fasting. Most Muslims fast between dawn and sunset. Fasting allows Muslims to devote themselves to their faith. It is thought to teach self-discipline and reminds them of the suffering of the poor. 

When is Ramadan?

In 2022 in the UK, Ramadan will begin in the evening of Saturday 2nd April and will end on Sunday 1st May

Ridván

The Festival of Ridván is a twelve-day festival that commemorates the Baháʼu’lláh’s announcement that he was a Manifestation of God. It is the most holy Baháʼí festival which is celebrated by gathering together in prayer and celebration.

When is Ridván?

In 2022 the first day of Ridván is April 21st and the last is May 2nd

Learn more about the Baháʼí faith and their festivals here: https://www.bahai.org.uk/beliefs

Eid ul Fitr

Eid ul Fitr is also known as ‘The Feast of Breaking the Fast‘ and is celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of Ramadan. Muslims are not only celebrating the end of fasting, but also thanking Allah for the Qur’an, which was first revealed towards the end of Ramadan. Eid is a time for families, friends and neighbours to spend time together and share food. They will often wear their best clothes, decorate their homes and may give money to the poor so that they can also enjoy the day.

When is Eid ul Fitr?

In 2022 Eid will take place on May 2nd and 3rd

Learn more about the celebration of Eid here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OF4HEGNBRQ&t=17s

Wesak

Wesak is a Buddhist holiday celebrating the Buddha’s birthday and, for some Buddhists, also marks his enlightenment and death. Wesak is a very colourful and happy celebration in which people decorate their homes. In many countries, Buddhists will visit their local temple for services and teaching. They will give offerings to the monks of food, candles and flowers. Giving to others is an important Buddhist tradition. Buddhists make a special effort to give to people in need at Wesak.

When is Wesak?

In 2022 Wesak takes place on Friday 6th May

Learn more about Wesak here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zh4mrj6/articles/zbsp92p

Eid ul Adha

Eid ul Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice, is one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar. It remembers the prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son when God ordered him to. Eid usually starts with Muslims going to the Mosque for prayers. They dress in their best clothes and thank Allah for all the blessings they have received. It is a time when they visit family and friends. Muslims will also give money to charity so that poor people can celebrate too.

When is Eid ul Adha?

In 2022, Eid ul Adha will begin on the evening of Saturday 9th July and end on the evening of Wednesday 13th July.

Learn more about Eid here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zpdtsbk/articles/zhjjf4j