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July 2020

Eid al-Adha begins at sundown

July 30, 2020

At the end of the annual pilgrimage, Muslims celebrate the "Festival of Sacrifice." It includes a ritual sacrifice of a sheep, camel, or goat, to honor the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God's command.

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August 2020

Al-Hijra, the Muslim New Years Day, begins at sundown

August 19, 2020

Al-Hijra, the first day of the month of Muharram, marks the beginning of the Islamic New Year. Muhammed’s popularity was seen as threatening by the people in power in Mecca, and so Muhammad took his followers on a journey from Mecca to Medina in 622. This journey is called the Hijrah (migration) and the event was seen as so important for Islam that 622 is the year in which the Islamic calendar begins.  

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September 2020

Rosh Hashana begins at sundown

September 18, 2020

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, takes place at the beginning of the month of Tishrei, which is actually the seventh month of the Jewish year (counting from Nisan in the spring). It is both a time of rejoicing and of serious introspection, a time to celebrate the completion of another year while also taking stock of one’s life.

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Yom Kippur begins at sundown

September 27, 2020

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year, when we are closest to the Lord and to the essence of our souls. Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement,” as the verse states, “because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.” (Leviticus 16:30) For nearly 26 hours, believers “afflict their souls.” They abstain from food and drink, do not wash or apply lotions…

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October 2020

Sukkot begins at sundown

October 2, 2020

A celebration of the fall harvest that begins five days after Yom Kippur, Sukkot is named after the booths or huts (sukkot in Hebrew) in which Jews are supposed to dwell during this week-long celebration. According to rabbinic tradition, these flimsy structures represent the huts in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt. Much of the imagery and ritual of the holiday revolves around rejoicing and thanking God…

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Simchat Torah begins at sundown

October 9, 2020

Simchat Torah is a joyful feast that marks the end of the old Torah reading cycle and the beginning of a new cycle. All the synagogue's Torah scrolls are removed from the ark and are carried around the sanctuary in a series of seven hakafot (circuits). Although each hakafa need only encompass one circuit around the synagogue, the dancing and singing with the Torah often continues much longer and may overflow from the synagogue onto the streets.

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Mawlid an-Nabi: Birth of the Prophet Muhammad, Founder of Islam

October 29, 2020

Mawlid al-Nabim, celebrated on the 12th of Rabiulawal, marks the birth of Muhammad in A.D. 570. The holy day is celebrated in different ways by different Islamic sects. Mohammed (ca. 570–632) is considered by Muslims to be the prophet and messenger of Allah. Mohammed was raised an orphan in Mecca. As a young man he was a caravan manager in his native city and felt that charity and kindness were lacking in his society. Though reports suggest he had a…

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National Dashiki Day

October 30, 2020

National Dashiki Day is a day of cultural celebration to the colorful garment that was adopted by African-Americans in the 1960s and 1970s as a symbol of pride, awareness, independence and power. Although the loose-fitting pullover garment traces its roots to West Africa, it found a place in America during the post-civil rights era of the late 1960s during the black power movement.  

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December 2020

Chanukah begins at sundown

December 10, 2020

Chanukah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers, and special foods. In the second century BCE, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in the Lord. Against all odds, a small band of faithful but poorly armed Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies…

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First Day of Kwanzaa

December 26, 2020

Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States and in other nations of the Western African diaspora in the Americas. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. It was created by Maulana Karenga, and was first celebrated in 1966. Dr. Karenga researched African harvest celebrations and combined aspects of several different celebrations, including those of the Ashanti and the Zulu, to form…

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January 2021

Tu Bishvat

January 28

The Jewish “New Year of the Trees”is celebrated with observances that connect humankind to the natural world. This holiday has special significance because "Man is the tree of the field" (Deuteronomy 20:19). Through cultivating strong roots – faith and commitment to the Lord – we produce many fruits. On this day it is customary to eat the fruit with which the Holy Land is praised in Deuteronomy 8:8: olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates. When tasting any of these fruit…

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February 2021

Purim begins at sundown

February 25

The festival of Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar, in late winter or early spring. It commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman’s plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews,young and old, infants and women, in a single day,” as recorded in the Megillah (Book of Esther). Purim means “lots” in ancient Persian. The holiday was thus named since Haman had thrown lots to determine…

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“And let them first pray together, that so they may associate in peace.”
–St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict