Feasts and Festivals (oral language homework December)

Hannukah

Hannukah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days. The date varies each year but may occur at any time from late November to late December. It is also known as the Festival of Lights.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights in the nine-branched menorah one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. Other Hanukkah festivities include playing dreidel and eating oil-based foods such as doughnuts and latkes.

Diwali

Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights celebrated every year in autumn in the northern hemisphere (spring in southern hemisphere).One of the major festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Its celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five-day period. The main Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.

Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate, and decorate their homes and offices. On Diwali night, people dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up lamps and candles inside and outside their home, participate in family puja (prayers) typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of fertility and prosperity. After puja, fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Diwali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.

Ramadan

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by  Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Mohommed according to Islamic belief.

The word Ramadan comes from the Arabic root ramiḍa or ar-ramaḍ, which means scorching heat or dryness. Fasting is obligatory  from dawn until sunset  for adult Muslims, except those who are suffering from an illness, travelling, are elderly, pregnant or breastfeeding.

Muslims are also instructed to refrain from sinful behaviour that may negate the reward of fasting, such as false speech (insulting, cursing, lying, etc.) and fighting. Food and drinks are served daily, before dawn and after sunset. Fasting for Muslims during Ramadan typically includes the increased offering of salat (prayers) and recitation of the Quran.

 

Eid al-Fitr

(Arabic: “festival of breaking of the fast”) is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30  days of dawn to sunset fasting.