Facets of Faith for Nov. 10, 2012

As Christians enter their holiday season, so do other religions. Several religions mark their New Year or other beginnings this week.

Nov. 11-13 Deepvali/ Diwali/New Year (Hindu, Sikh and Jain)

Diwali is a weeklong Hindu festival, tied to the new moon. It is a public holiday in India. Shop owners consider this the new year for accounting.

The name means “an array of lights.” Its rituals are similar to Western Christmas celebrations with lots of lights, new clothes, festive meals, bonuses at work and fireworks.

Jains and Sikhs often celebrate the Hindu festivals or hold similar ones.

Diwali has regional differences, which include marking the day on slightly different dates or even in the spring.

Nov. 12 Birth of Bahá’u’lláh (Baháe_SSRqí)

One of the newer world religions is Baháe_SSRqí, and its founder was born Nov. 12, 1817.

Mizra Husayn-Ai took the name Bahá’u’lláh, sometimes spelled Baha Ullah, which means Glory of God, in 1847 after he became an early follower of the Bab, a teacher who was martyred with thousands of followers in 1850.

Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed himself the prophet predicted by the Bab and established the Baháe_SSRqí faith.

Baháe_SSRqís main belief is that humanity, religion and society should be one. To achieve this, Baháe_SSRqís say, one should abandon prejudice, treat genders equally, make education universal and establish a world federation.

Nov. 15 Hijra (Islam)

Because of the Muslim calendar, this New Year’s celebration floats through the seasons and is in the fall this year.

Nov. 15 is the first day of Muharram, which is the first month of the Muslim year. It is the day the Prophet Mohammed and his followers moved from Mecca to Medina to escape persecution.

Sources: http://www.interfaithcalendar.org/; The Perennial Dictionary of World Religion, Keith Crim; The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion, Jonathan Smith; World Religions, John Bowker

Send ideas and comments to Leila Pitchford-English at lenglish@theadvocate.com.

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