|1||January||New Year's Day|
In countries which use the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Day is usually celebrated on 1 January. The order of months in the Roman calendar has been January to December since King Numa Pompilius in about 700 BC, according to Plutarch and Macrobius. However, Roman writers identified years by naming the year's consuls, who did not enter office on 1 January until 153 BC. Since then 1 January has been the first day of the year, except during the Middle Ages when several other days were the first (1 March, 25 March, Easter, 1 September, 25 December). With the expansion of Western culture to the rest of the world during the twentieth century, the 1 January date became global, even in countries with their own New Year celebrations on other days (e.g., China and India). At present, the celebration of the New Year is a major event worldwide. Many large-scale events are held in major cities around the world, with many large fireworks events on New Year's Eve (31 December). Sydney launched over 80,000 fireworks at midnight, and had more than one and a half million attendees; it was also the most-watched event on television worldwide last year. In Valparaiso upwards of two million visitors witnessed the largest fireworks display in a natural setting; a total of more than 21 kilometers of fireworks on the bay, from the commercial port city of Valparaiso to Concon, Chile, all in 25 minutes of entertainment. London's New Year celebrations centre around the London Eye, with an impressive fireworks display while Big Ben strikes midnight. In New York, the celebration is focused around a large crystal ball that descends in a one minute countdown in Times Square. Edinburgh plays host to one of the world's largest Hogmanay events. The celebrations last for four days and attract visitors from around the globe to take part in street parties and attend concerts. In the culture of Latin America there are a variety of traditions and superstitions surrounding these dates as omens for the coming year. January remains a symbol of the New Year's celebration. According to the Christian tradition, 1 January coincides with the circumcision of Christ (eight days after birth), when the name of Jesus was given to him (Luke 2: 21).
Easter (Greek: Πάσχα) is the most important annual religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to Christian scripture, Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the third day of his crucifixion. Christians celebrate this resurrection on Easter Day or Easter Sunday (also Resurrection Day or Resurrection Sunday), two days after Good Friday and three days after Maundy Thursday. The chronology of his death and resurrection is variously interpreted to be between AD 26 and AD 36. Easter also refers to the season of the church year called Eastertide or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the forty days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts for the fifty days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. Easter also marks the end of Lent, a season of fasting, prayer, and penance. Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the vernal equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on March 21. The date of Easter therefore varies between March 22 and April 25. Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian Calendar whose March 21 corresponds, during the twenty-first century, to April 3 in the Gregorian Calendar, in which calendar their celebration of Easter therefore varies between April 4 and May 8. Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover not only for much of its symbolism but also for its position in the calendar. Relatively newer elements such as the Easter Bunny and Easter egg hunts have become part of the holiday's modern celebrations, and those aspects are often celebrated by many Christians and non-Christians alike.
International Workers' Day (a name used interchangeably with may day) is a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the international labor movement. May Day commonly sees organized street demonstrations and street marches by millions of working people and their labour unions throughout most of the countries of the world.
|2||June||Ascension of Jesus|
The Christian doctrine of the Ascension holds that Jesus ascended to heaven in the presence of his Eleven Apostles following his resurrection, and that in heaven he sits at the right hand of God the Father. Jesus died circa 30. In the Epistle to the Romans (c. 56-57), Saint Paul describes Christ as in heaven and in the abyss[Rom. 10:5-7] the earliest Christian reference to Jesus in heaven. The most influential account of the Ascension, and according to the two-source hypothesis the earliest, is in Acts of the Apostles[1:1-11] where Jesus is taken up bodily into heaven forty days after his resurrection as witnessed by his apostles, after giving the Great Commission with a prophecy to return. In the Gospel of Luke, the Ascension takes place on Easter Sunday evening. The Gospel of John (c. 90-100) refers to Jesus returning to the Father.[Jn. 20:17] In the First Epistle of Peter (c. 90-110), Jesus has ascended to heaven and is at God's right side. Pet. 3:21-22] The Epistle to the Ephesians (c. 90-100) refers to Jesus ascending higher than all the heavens.[Eph. 4:7-13] The First Epistle to Timothy (c. 90-140) describes Jesus as taken up in glory.[Tim. 3:16] The traditional ending of Mark[16:19] includes a summary of Luke's resurrection material and describes Jesus as being taken up into heaven and sitting at God's right hand. The imagery of Jesus' Ascension is related to the broader theme of his exaltation and heavenly welcome, derived from the Hebrew Bible. The image of Jesus rising bodily into the heavens reflects the ancient view that heaven was above the earth. Belief in the Ascension of Jesus is found in the Nicene Creed, and is affirmed by Christian liturgy and, in the West, by the Apostles' Creed. The Ascension implies Jesus' humanity being taken into heaven. Ascension Day, celebrated 40 days after Easter, is one of chief feasts of the Christian year. The feast dates back at least to the later 300s, as is widely attested. The canonical account of Jesus ascending bodily into the clouds contrasts with the gnostic tradition, by which Jesus was said to transcend the physical realm and return to his home in the spirit world. It also contrasts with the beliefs of Docetism, in which matter is intrinsically evil and Jesus was said to have been pure spirit.
|3||June||End of Ramadan|
Eid ul-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر ‘Īdu l-Fiṭr), often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity", while Fiṭr means "to break fast"; and so the holiday symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. It is celebrated after the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, on the first day of Shawwal. Eid ul-Fitr lasts for three days of celebration and is sometimes also known as the "Smaller Eid" (Arabic: العيد الصغير al-‘īdu ṣ-ṣaghīr) as compared to the Eid ul-Adha that lasts four days and is called the "Greater Eid" (Arabic: العيد الكبير al-‘īdu l-kabīr). Muslims are commanded by the Quran to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and then recite the Takbir all throughout the period of Eid.
Pentecost (Ancient Greek πεντηκοστή [ἡμέρα], pentekostē [hēmera], "the fiftieth [day]") is one of the prominent feasts in the Christian liturgical year. The feast is also called Whitsun, Whitsunday, Whit Sunday, and Whitsuntide, especially in the United Kingdom. Pentecost is celebrated seven weeks (50 days) after Easter Sunday, hence its name. Pentecost falls on the tenth day after Ascension Thursday. Historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, which commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the Exodus, Pentecost now also commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2 in the New Testament. For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described as "the Church's birthday". The Pentecostal movement of Christianity derives its name from this biblical event.
|9||August||Sacrifice Feast (Tabaski)|
Eid al-Adha (Arabic: عيد الأضحى ‘Īdu l-’Aḍḥā) "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham (Ibrahim) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God, but instead was able to sacrifice a ram (by God's command). Eid is also about spending time with family and friends, sacrifice, and thanksgiving for being able to afford food and housing. In traditional or agrarian settings, each family would sacrifice a domestic animal, such as a sheep, goat, cow, or camel, by slaughter (though many contemporary muslims do not sacrifice an animal as part of their observance). The meat would then be divided into three equal parts to be distributed to others. The family eats one third, another third is given to other relatives, friends or neighbors, and the other third is given to the poor as a gift. Eid al-Adha is the latter of two Eid festivals celebrated by Muslims, whose basis comes from the Quran. Like Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Adha begins with a short prayer followed by a sermon (khuṭba). Eid al-Adha is celebrated annually on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja (ذو الحجة) of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for three days or more depending on the country. Eid al-Adha celebrations start after the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat. The date is approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan.
|15||August||Assumption of Mary|
According to the belief of Christians of the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches and by some Anglicans, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life. The Catholic Church teaches as dogma that Mary, "having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." This doctrine was dogmatically and infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950, in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus. This belief is known as the Dormition by the Orthodox. In the churches which observe it, the Assumption is a major festival, commonly celebrated on August 15. In many countries it is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation. In his August 15, 2004, homily given at Lourdes, Pope John Paul II quoted John 14:3 as one of the scriptural bases for understanding the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. In this verse, Jesus tells his disciples at the Last Supper, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also." According to Catholic theology, Mary is the pledge of the fulfillment of Christ's promise.
All Saints' Day (in the Catholic Church officially the Solemnity of All Saints and also called All Hallows or Hallowmas), often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November in Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. In terms of Western Christian theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. In the Roman Catholic Church, the next day, All Souls' Day, specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries.
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated on December 25, but this date is not known to be Jesus' actual birthday, and may have initially been chosen to correspond with either the day exactly nine months after some early Christians believed Jesus had been conceived, a historical Roman festival, or the date of the northern hemisphere's winter solstice. Christmas is central to the Christmas and holiday season, and in Christianity marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days
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