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 Unique Calendar Events  -  Interfaith Surprises

 
In the complex mix of global religion calendars seemingly unpredictable confluences of events occur.  The truth is that each system of sacred time development and observance follows rules based on moon, sun, or stars combined with the spiritual insights of the particular tradition, their location on the earth, and historical events.
  • The sacred times for March 20 and 21, 2008 present a unique illustration. Here is a listing of some of them: 
March 20, 2008 Ta'anit Esther (Jewish); Maunday Thursday (Christian); Mawlid al-Nabi (Islamic); Birth of Mahavira (Jain); Spring Higan (Buddhist); ~Thunder Dance (Iroquis); Ostara (Pagan); Mabon (Pagan); ~Ibu Afo Festival (Yoruba); Spring or Atumnal Equinox (Pantheism). 
March 21, 2008
Purim (Jewish); Frawardin 1 (Zoroastrian); Nawruz (Zoroastrian); Good Friday (Christian); Festival of Naw-Ruz (Baha'i); Nineteen-Day Fast,1st of Baha (Baha'i); ~Panguni Uttiram (Hindu); ~Caitra Purnima (Hindu); Hanuman Jayanti (Hindu); Magha Puja (Buddhist); ~Iduna and Summer Finding (Pagan). 
     ~  means that the dates are variable. 
These particular dates often have a number of sacred observances but 2008 is unique in the large number. The global nature of religion comes to the foreground as the Internet provides information that is more accessible than at any other point in human history. Curious people look at such a confluence of observances and think about how this comes to be. In so doing information about world religions enters the public arena via the curious mind. 
  • The Spring Equinox is one explanation for religions attention to these dates. In the northern hemisphere the arrival of spring is marked by opportunity to plant crops as the soil warms, there is increased length in days bringing increased light, and people celebrate the sensation of increasing life. In 2008 the Spring Equinox is at 05:48 GMT on March 20.  The sun has reached a point directly above the equator. 
  • Religions tend to observe natural events like seasonal changes. Religious meaning is given to earth changes that are predictable. At one time this was understood in supernatural terms. In the 21st century the focus is more on the events as evidences of the natural order of the universe. 
This format of dating is complicated by the northern and southern hemisphere. Whether one is moving toward Spring or Fall depends on the hemisphere where one lives. Another complicating factor for setting exact dates is the International Date Line. The Interfaith Calendar is written and published in the north central region of the American continent and reflects that place. Everyone has to be some where. 
For definitions of the March 20 and 21 holy days go to the Definitions page. 
One valuable resource for the listing above for  March 20 and 21 is "Religious Holidays and Calendars: An Encyclopedic Handbook Third Edition"  edited by Karen Bellenir    Published by Omnigraphics  2004
Update 
July 10, 2009
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