How do religious traditions begin

Young people between exclusion and integration

A good way to learn about the customs and traditions of different cultures is to celebrate religious festivals together. You can also invite your parents who might bring typical food and drinks and tell you how they used to celebrate the festivals in their families (possibly outside of Germany).

The celebrations can either take place in the school or in the respective church, mosque or other religious place.

The following information gives you an initial overview of the most important religious festivals ...

... in Christianity

For Christians all over the world is Easter the "festival of festivals". Not Christmas, as many believe, but Easter is the climax of the church year and here again the Easter Vigil, the actual celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. The Easter days begin with Maundy Thursday, it reminds of the "last supper", the farewell meal that Jesus held with his disciples on the evening before his death. Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday.

The Christian Pentecost is the feast of the "outpouring of the Holy Spirit" and the foundation of the church and the last feast of the Easter festival circle.

Christmas is one of the three high feasts in the church year next to Easter and Pentecost. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on these days. The main holiday is December 25th, which is celebrated the evening before - Christmas Eve.

... in Judaism

With the Rosh ha-Shanah, the Jewish New Year, ushers in a time of repentance and conversion that ends on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. While most Jewish holidays have their origins in historical events, Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur are purely religious festivals. According to traditional belief, the book of life is opened on Rosh ha-Shanah, the "head of the year", and a judgment is written about the way people live. The following ten days are dedicated to active repentance, reconciliation and conversion: disputes and discord are to be eliminated, bad behavior and bad thoughts are to be repented.

At the Yom Kippur, the highest religious festival in Judaism, the verdict is sealed and the book closed. In the synagogues, which are kept in white color at this time, on Yom Kippur the book of Jonah is read: The prophet Jonah spoke to the inhabitants of the city of Nineveh about God's judgment. They then repented of their sins and were saved.

... in Islam

The Ramadan, the month of fasting belongs to the five pillars of Islam. The other four pillars are: the creed, ritual prayer, the social contribution and the pilgrimage to Mecca. Ramadan fasting is a duty from which a Muslim can only be released under very specific circumstances. The climax of Ramadan is the "Night of Destiny" (Lailat-ul Qadr), in which the first sura of the Koran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad according to the Islamic history of salvation and teaching. For thirty days all Muslims - Sunnis and Shiites alike - are called to be celibate and to abstain from all pleasures from sunrise to sunset. After sunset, breaking the fast is done by eating a date or drinking water. The month of fasting ends with the three-day festival of breaking the fast ('Id-ul Fitr). This includes not only the festival itself but also a special donation to the poor, the zakat-ul-fitr, which should be given before the festival.

... in Hinduism

Durga puja is one of the great festivals of Hinduism and is celebrated by Hindus all over the world - including in Germany. The actual festivities and ceremonies last ten days, the first four of which are spent in communion with other believers. Through the ritual awakening of the Durga on the first day of the festivities, the goddess is invited to be present throughout the festive season. During this time, the believers honor the goddess through ritual baths, new and richly embroidered clothing, prayers and sacrifices in temples as well as solemn processions before the Durga is ritually bid farewell on the last day.

... in Buddhism

Vesakh is the most important festival in Buddhism. In the Theravada tradition, the "three times holy" Vesakh festival coincides with the birth of the Buddha, his awakening (bodhi) in Bodh Gaya and his entrance into nirvana (extinction). Other traditions and schools only celebrate awakening. In Mahayana Buddhism, the three events in the life of the Buddha are celebrated on different days (Hanamatsuri, Bodhi Day and Parinirvana)

In Germany too, Vesakh is celebrated by many Buddhist communities. A tendency can be observed that Buddhists from other schools also take part in this festival and Vesakh thus becomes the central holiday of all Buddhists. According to the dating of Western Buddhism, the Vesakh festival falls on the first full moon day in May. However, depending on the region and municipality, the dates vary from the beginning of May to mid-June.

More information on the Internet

Festivals of Religions
An overview by the religious scholar Kerstin Probiesch with descriptions of selected religious festivals and holidays, descriptions and links to biographical festivals (rituals of baptism, naming, wedding, death), collections of links, e.g. African and Asian festivals and holidays, information on symbolism, e.g. color symbols. An intercultural and interreligious festival calendar for the current year, which is constantly being expanded, contains dates of worldwide religious festivals and holidays. Many of these festivals are now also celebrated in Germany.

Religions information platform
The information platform Religion is a project of the Religious Studies Media and Information Service e. V. REMID in Marburg.