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The Holiest Holidays of World Religions

Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur by Maurycy Gottlieb (1878)

If you’re religious, you probably know what the most important holidays are in the religion you’re practicing, but what about other religions around the world? Here are the most holy holidays of four major religions around the globe.

Yom Kippur

In Judaism, Yom Kippur is the Jewish day of atonement.  According to My Jewish Learning, “The overarching theme of Yom Kippur is repentance. During the holiday all thoughts are supposed to be centered on this theme.  The day revolves around the theme of communal repentance for sins committed during the past year”.

According to Rabbi Sally Firestone, “Yom Kippur is a time when we congregate as Jews to better understand that we are all imperfect and we all sin.  It’s a communal holiday where we fast together and go through that suffering as a group to repent.  After we fast for 25 hours, we are free to eat and replenish ourselves to be better people in the new year”.

Laylat al-Qadr

For Muslims, their most holy day is Laylat al-Qadr or “The Night of Power”.  What this holiday celebrates is the night in which the prophet Muhammed was given the first versus of the Quran by the angel Gabriel.

Shakir Muhammed from the Fort Collins Islamic Center says, “Laylat al-Qadr is the holiest night for Muslims because this is the night that our noble Quran was given to humanity.  It usually falls on the 27th night of Ramadan and is celebrated with devotional readings, prayers and full immersion into reading the Quran”.

Easter

In Christianity, their holiest holiday is Easter and the week leading up to it.  The BBC says, “Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the most important Christian festival while Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter which is the week where Christians particularly remember the last week of Jesus’s life”.

Colorado State University student, Claire Oliver, states that “Easter isn’t about bunnies and decorated eggs, it’s a time to remember the suffering Jesus went through and to remember that he died for our sins and on the third day, he rose from the dead”.

Vesakha

Vesakha is the most important festival in the Buddhist world.  It is a celebration of Siddhattha Gotama’s birthday and the path he took to eventually become the Buddha.

Practicing Buddhist, Connor Griffin, says, “Vesakha is celebrated on the first full moon in May.  Instead of just celebrating his birth, Vesakha celebrates Buddha’s birth, his journey to enlightenment and his death, so it basically is celebrating his entire life.  To celebrate, we usually go to temples to hear sermons, honor the Buddha with different types of ceremonies and to also practice meditation”.

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