Happy Spring (Again)!!
Once again, we continue with various spring holy days. The most obvious ones are Passover and Easter, which usually coincide in some way. This year, Passover begins at sundown on Wed., April 8 and continues until sundown of Thursday, April 16. Easter falls at the half-way point on April 12.
Hanuman Jayanti (April 8): In the Hindu traditions, a Jayanti is an anniversary celebration of some sort, often a birthday. Although dates always vary across Asia, many Indians will celebrate the birth of Hanuman on April 8th. This revered god, who was half-man/half-ape, is known for his unrelenting devotion to Rama, the hero of the ancient epic tale called the Ramayana. Our local Hindu temple has a lovely Hanuman statue.
Vaisakhi (April 13/14): Vaisakhi is a spring festival celebrated in both the Hindu and Sikh traditions. The holiday is especially important to Sikhs as it marks the start of the Khalsa warrior tradition begun by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 after the beheading of his father. Sikhs initiated into the Khalsa are given the title of Singh (men) or Kaur (women), they live according to a strict behavioral code (e.g., no tobacco, no alcohol), and they wear the Five K’s (uncut hair, wooden comb, iron bracelet, special undergarments, and an iron dagger).
Ridvan (starts sunset, April 19): Ridvan, which means “paradise,” is a 12-day Baha’i festival and one of their holiest times of the year. It commemorates Baháʼu'lláh’s declaration in 1863 that he was the Promised One and marks the days he spent in the Garden of Ridvan just outside the Baghdad city limits. The first, ninth, and twelfth days are particularly important. Many Baha’is stay home from work/school on those days.
Ramadan (starts ≈ evening of April 23): This month of fasting in the Islamic tradition has gotten much more well-known in the last decade. Observant Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and many use apps. to keep track of each day’s fasting period. The daily fast ends with a communal meal called an iftar. Ramadan begins with the new moon of the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, so it “moves up” about 2-1/2 weeks each year on the Gregorian calendar.