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Holy Days - October

October is a busy month when it comes to religions holidays! Here’s a sampling.

Yom Kippur (sundown, Oct. 8-nightfall Oct. 9): Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement, which focuses on recognizing wrongs committed against both God and humans, expressing repentance, and seeking forgiveness. It’s observed with five different prayer services and a 25-hour fasting period. It also marks the end of the High Holy Days and is considered the holiest day of the Jewish year. Click here to learn more.

Installation of Guru Granth (Oct. 20): The Sikh {sik} religion began in India’s Punjab region near the end of the 15th century and is based on the spiritual teachings of 10 human gurus. Their 11th guru is their sacred text, known as the Guru Granth. (When honorifics are added, you’ll see it written as Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.) The holy text, which contains hymns, writings, and religious verses, is the centerpiece of the Sikh temple (gurdwara). For more on the basics of Sikhism, click here.

Diwali (Oct. 27): Diwali is India’s festival of lights, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists. It celebrates light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Lamps/lanterns, pujas to Lakshmi (the goddess of prosperity), and rangolis (floral decorations made on the floor) are all important Diwali traditions. At the Vishnu temple near my home, they also enjoy sparklers!

Diwali at Sri Somesvara Temple outside of Asheville, NC

Birth of the Bab (Oct. 29): The Baha’i faith was founded by Baha’ullah, whose coming was foretold by the Bab. Born Siyyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi on October 20, 1819, the term Bab means “Gate” or “Door.” Thirteen years after the Bab’s death, Baha’ullah claimed to be the fulfillment of the prophecy. Their births are celebrated on consecutive days as they are considered to be twin manifestations of the Baha’i faith, but this year is special because it’s the 200th anniversary of the Bab’s birth. Click here for a brief history of the Baha’i faith.

All Hallow’s Eve/Reformation Day (Oct. 31): All Hallow’s Eve, now Halloween, is a Christian holiday that falls on the night before All Saint’s Day. It was almost certainly a co-opting of the pagan holiday honoring the thinning of the veil between the living and the dead (Samhain {SOW-en}). Protestants, especially Lutherans, also commemorate Martin Luther nailing his 95 thesis on the door of All Saint’s Cathedral in Wittenberg (which may, or may not, have actually happened).

Diwali offers some great craft ideas for kids. Our youngest kids enjoy making firework shapes with liquid glue and then adding glitter.

And slightly older kids enjoy making these easy paper lanterns.


Additional Reading

Kids' Book Recommendation:
Yom Kippur: Festivals Around the World by Grace Jones (Booklife, 2017)

More Reading:
The Jewish holiday of Sukkot also occurs in October – from Oct. 14-20 this year. It’s a Faith Seeker Kids favorite because it’s a great holiday for families. We’ve written several articles about Sukkot on our blog. Our latest was published a couple of weeks ago for Multicultural Kids Blogs.
10 Fun Facts for Kids About Sukkot
Interfaith Connections During Sukkot
Shakin’ My Lulav for Sukkot

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