Religious Festivals and Noteable Dates

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The exact dates of many religious festivals are determined by the cycle of the moon and therefore change every year. Below are the approximate months during which they occur. A typical exception is the Islamic month of Ramadan which continuously moves across the year.

This page is currently a Work in Progress . . . . .


Below is brief list of the main festivals and dates celebrated by Norwich Faith Communities. A comprehensive list with current year dates can be found on the UK Interfaith Network website.


January
  • The Hindu and Sikh festivals of Lohri and Makar Sankranti/ Pongal usually around 13th to 15th January celebrate the days getting longer and the end of the winter season. It is celebrated with food around a bonfire.
  • World Religion Day is held annually on the third Sunday in January and aims to encourage interfaith understanding and harmony by highlighting the commonality at the heart of all religions.
  • Annual Holocaust Memorial Day is held on 27th January. More details here . . .

February
  • Pagan Imbolc traditionally marks the mid point between the winter solstice and spring equinox and celebrates the growing light and warmth bringing new beginnings. It is also the festival of the pagan goddess Brigid.
  • Christian Ash Wednesday is 46 days before Easter Sunday, which is a moveable feast based on the cycles of the moon therefore Ash Wednesday varies each year and can occur on any Wednesday between 4th February and 10th March. It marks the start of Lent which is a period of fasting and prayer leading up to Easter.
  • Hindu festival Vasant Panchami around February/March is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati who is considered to be the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, arts, and music. This day also marks the end of winter and the arrival of the spring season. Celebrations highlight the colour yellow.

March
  • Christian Good Friday occurs on the Friday before Easter Sunday and commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ
  • Christian Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and can fall at any time between the end of March to late April as it takes place on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after 21st March.
  • Spiritualist Hydesville Day on 31st March celebrates the birth of Modern Spiritualism on that date in 1848 when events at a house in Hydesville, New York established that it was possible to communicate with those in the world of Spirit.
  • The Hindu festival Holi, also known as the ‘festival of spring’, falls in late February/March on the last full moon day of the Hindu luni-solar calendar month marking the spring, Coloured powders are thrown over people and bonfires are lit,

April
  • Chaitra Navratri/Gudi Padva marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year and occurs in March/April. Navratri is about praying, meditating, fasting and enjoying nine days of festivities. Devotees avoid consuming non-vegetarian food, alcohol and tobacco.
  • Jewish Pesach or Passover is in March/April, celebrating the Exodus from Egypt under Moses.

May
  • Jewish Shavuot is the festival of Pentecost in May/June.

June
  • Humanist World Humanist Day is held annually coinciding with the Summer Solstice. It is a time for Humanists to gather socially to celebrate the positive aspects of Humanism.

July

August

September
  • Jewish Rosh Hashanah is Jewish New Year and is celebrated in September for 10 days followed by:-
  • Jewish Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement.
  • International Day of Peace is celebrated annually around the world on 21st September.

October
  • Jewish Sukkot is the Autumn festival of Tabernacles or shelters in September/October

November
  • Hindu, Jain, Sikh’s celebrate Diwali in October or November depending on the cycle of the moon. It symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness.
  • Remembrance Day has been held on the 11th day of the 11th month since the end of the First World War. A two minute silence is observed at 11am to remember those of all religions and beliefs who have lost their lives in wars and conflicts since then.
  • Remembrance Sunday is the second Sunday in November when parades followed by services and the laying of poppy wreaths are held at the Cenotaph in London and war memorials around the country to coincide with a 2 minute silence at 11am. The Norwich parade ends with a service at the war memorial opposite City Hall.
  • InterFaith Week starts on Remembrance Sunday and runs until the following Sunday. It aims to strengthen good relations, increase awareness of different faith communities and increase understanding between people of religious and non-religious belief.

December
  • Jewish Chanukah is the Festival of light usually in December.
  • Christian Christmas Day annually on the 25th December, celebrates the birth of Jesus.

January to December
  • Islamic month of Ramadan is determined by the first sighting of the new moon during the month of Ramadan. No adjustments are made to the Islamic lunar calendar so the start and end dates move by up to 11 days every year. It is the month when the Prophet received the first revelation of verses of the Qur’an and is the holiest month for Muslims, when they dedicate themselves to spiritual renewal, prayer and reading of the Qur’an. During the month of Ramadan Muslims are required to fast from daybreak until after sunset.
  • Islamic Eid-ul-Fitr is a 4-day period of celebration following the end of the month of Ramadan. It is a time to donate to the poor, get together with friends and family, share food, exchange presents and attend special Eid prayers and sermons at the mosque.
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