EDUCATION AND CELEBRATION Calendar of Religious Festivals

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Calendar of Religious Festivals
July 2019 – December 2020
Loy Kratong at the Buddhapadipa Temple in Richmond Park, South London

Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals 2019 - 2020
EDITORIAL 2019 – 2020
We informed you last year that it would happen, and it did! The Working Party celebrated its 50th Jubilee with a conference at the Shap Wells Hotel, where our Shappery first began in April 1969. And now the Working Party no longer exists as such. We leave the work it undertook in the hands of others, and give our individual support in a multitude of different forms to all who work for the cause of World Religions in Education.
The Calendar will however continue, on line and by post, along with the Shap website and the Shap Audio-Glossary, available on the Shap website, and the Shap Archive in the Bodleian Library in the centre of Oxford ([email protected]).
The Calendar is in the hands of a group of twelve members of Shap, led by a team of four of us, Paul Hopkins, David Rose, Roger Butler and myself as Editor. It has developed steadily over its 50 years of its life and we intend that it will continue to grow and change steadily in the future. In particular we have simplified its name, which will now be ‘The Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals’; and ‘Shap Calendar Group’ will be the new name of our bank account, as shown on any invoices we send you in the future.
We are still debating other changes and hope our 2020-2021 edition will include news of additions or amendments to the text we provide, the pictures we send and the development of a Shap App. For the moment we plan to distribute our eCalendar, our Wallchart, our Photographs and some form of New Year Freebie, all at the same prices, though this may change in 2020 – our prices have been the same for some eight years now!
Our updating of description of festivals in the eBooklet has been slow this year while we have been preparing a host of data about Shap that will now appear on our website, but have a look at the text for the four Jain festivals we cover, which has been extensively modified.
There have also been changes to the Baha’i festival dates that follow attempts to unify the Islamic and Gregorian Baha’i calendars. Please note that these all commence at sundown on the evening before the date shown.
We also hear of uncertainty among the international Sikh bodies that determine which annual calendars shall operate. The tension between the earlier Bikrami traditional lunar calendar and the more recent Nanakshahi

Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals 2019 - 2020
calendar has resurfaced, and we are advised that ‘the safest thing is to go with the latest Akal Takht/SGPC directive’. Some gurdwaras in the UK operate the Bikrami calendar, others the Nanakshahi calendar, depending on the views of those managing the Gurdwara. The birthday of Guru Nanak is fixed across both calendars as on Monday, November 30th in 2020. We show both dates for the birthday in January of Guru Gobind Singh. As always my thanks go to each of the following for their input into what is genuinely a team effort: to David Rose (Pictorial Calendar) and Paul Hopkins (Wallchart and everything else) especially, but also to Anne (Krisnan), Brian (Gates), Clive (Lawton), Gill (Rose), Jasjit (Singh), Kim (Knott) (whom we warmly welcome to our ranks), Malcolm (Deboo), Roger (Butler) and Wendy (Dossett). Peter (Woodward) Editor

Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals 2019 - 2020
Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals 2019–2020


1. Title Page


2. Editorial


3. Contents


4. Origins of the Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals


5. Current Officers of the Shap Calendar


6. NBs – Things to Note






9. Index


10. Acknowledgements


11. The Shap Website and the Shap Archive


12. Back Numbers of the Shap Journal



Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals 2019 - 2020

Origins of the Shap Calendar

The Calendar was first published in the autumn of 1969, consisting of two A4 pages sent by post to subscribers, costing 30 pence! This also included bibliographies and schemes of work. By 1972 it consisted of six pages, produced and distributed by the Community Relations Commission, and later by the Commission for Racial Equality.
It grew under the Editorship of Desmond Brennan and then Clive Lawton to include a separate Mailing/Journal, a colourful wallchart, and then a printed Pictorial Calendar, using photographs supplied mainly by David Rose. Around 2012 it became an eCalendar with a dozen additional ePhotographs, alas well as a separate Wallchart, created and distributed by Paul Hopkins. Costs still set at £4 (eCalendar) and £6 (Wallchart)!


Peter Woodward Paul Hopkins [email protected] for orders and enquiries


Paul Hopkins [email protected]

The Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals is a registered educational charity. Its registered address is: The Religious Education Council of England and Wales, Can Mezzanine, 49-51 East Road, London, N1 6AH

Our postal address for general post and payments is: The Shap Calendar, 7 Garners Walk, Madeley. Crewe. CW3 9HG

Our Web site address : Contact address – by email please: Calendar contact address: [email protected] [email protected]

© Copyright 2019-2020 The Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals

All rights reserved. Purchase of this product allows permission for its use by the purchaser only. Multi-site use is available on request. Apart from this no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, printed, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise.

The contents of this calendar are compiled and published in good faith and the Shap Calendar Group accepts no liability for any claim arising from them whether the loss is direct or indirect.


Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals 2019 - 2020
July 2019 – December 2020
Please Note
1. The page number references given at the end of each entry relate to:
a) the first edition of the book, Festivals in World Religions, published for the Shap Working Party by Longman in 1986;
b) the new edition of the same book published by RMEP in 1998.
2. Orthodox Christians celebrate their festivals using either the ‘Old’ (the Julian) or the ‘New’ (Gregorian) calendar. The Orthodox choice of calendar tends to reflect local conditions and is NOT a matter of church doctrine. The formula for calculating the date of Easter differs for the Orthodox from that used in the Christian West. However, the Orthodox Easter Cycle is celebrated on the same dates throughout all Orthodox communities. In 2020 Orthodox dates will fall a week later than Western ones.
3. Jewish festivals commence, like Shabbat, at sunset on the evening of the day prior to the dates shown below.
4. Muslim festivals begin in the evening before the Gregorian dates we show in this Calendar. Since they are lunar, each Muslim Festival’s date recedes by 10 or 11 days each Gregorian year.
5. All Baha’i and several Pagan festivals also commence at sundown/sunset on the day before the dates shown here.
6. Zoroastrian dates vary according to the three different ‘Calendars’ currently in use. The dates of several Zoroastrian festivals (notably in the Shahenshai and the Kadmi / Qadimi Calendars) recede by one day each Gregorian Leap Year. Elsewhere, in the Iranian Zorostrian communities, they remain constant.
7. *month indicates uncertainty as to the exact date of the festival
8. We now use the Name of the Festival to show in BOLD if its date remains the same in each (Gregorian) year; in ITALICS if it changes by just one or two days from year to year; and in ITALICS but UNDERLINED if it varies considerably, as is the case with most lunar dates.
9. There are now five download websites following the text for each Festival and these mostly follow a regular pattern: i) Description, often from within the appropriate tradition; ii) An alternative description, usually from a different type of source; iii) Educational material, for school, college or research; iv) Audio visual materials of an evocative nature; v) Something creatively different.
10. The bottom row of the new Wallchart gives the names of twelve eminent individuals who have made a significant contribution that is noteworthy to Science, Ethics, Humanism, Atheism, Agnosticism or Theistic belief. Information on their achievements and their lives features at the start of each Calendar Month in the Booklet, along with informative download websites, prepared and selected by Professor Brian Gates of the University of Cumbria.

Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals 2019 - 2020
2019 2019 2019 2019 2019 2019
JULY 2019
Nana Asma’u Here is the seventh of twelve people, one for each month, who have been chosen because a) they exemplify how our deepest beliefs affect the pattern of our lives; and b) because of the variety and the strength of their beliefs. Each person chosen is markedly different in what they believe; but it is the very nature of these beliefs that has shaped their lives and their achievements; and it is in large part the depth of their commitment to what they believe that makes them of interest to us today. Nana Asma’u died in 1864 at the age of 71 in Northern Nigeria. She was the daughter of the Sultan who led the creation of the Sokoto caliphate – one of largest African empires of the time with a population around 10 million. In her own right she made adult education acceptable, especially (but not only) for Muslim women. She set up a school for both men and women, and then the Yan Taru organisation of travelling teachers she’d trained to go out and teach in towns and villages, often using lesson plans, poetry, and creative mnemonic devices which she herself had devised. She was mother of six children. Small wonder that she is still remembered as a pioneer educationalist, and not only by fellow Muslims and Sufis. More Information'u.pdf

Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals 2019 - 2020
Monday, 1 July, 2019 JASHN-E TIRGAN (TIR JASHAN) Zoroastrian (Iranian) Jashn-e Tirgan is an ancient quarter year summer festival, celebrated about three months after the spring NoRuz. Tirgan is devoted to the divinity Tir and is associated with the dog-star Sirius and the coming of the rains in Iran and the fertility they bring. On this day it is customary to visit the Fire Temple to give thanks to Ahura Mazda, to participate in a jashan or thanksgiving ceremony, listen to stories of how the boundaries of Iran were established in antiquity with its Central Asian neighbour Turan (now Turkmenistan) by an archer shooting an arrow, share a community meal, play with ‘rainbow’ bracelets made of seven coloured silks, splash each other with water, and dance and make merry. a) pp 254-255; b) p 131. More information at … 1. Cais SOAS - Celebrations - Jashn-e-Tirgan 2. Bintudaddy: Tirgan Iranian Summer Festival (Yeki Bood Yeki Nabood) 3. Zoroastrian Heritage - Tirgan 4. Images for Jashn-e-Tirgan 5. Iran Review: Arash the Archer and the Festival of Rain (Jashn-e Tirgan)

Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals 2019 - 2020
Thursday, 4 July 2019 RATHA YATRA Hindu ‘Chariot journey’. This is observed most notably at Puri in the Indian state of Orissa, where processions of thousands of devotees pull huge waggons (rathas) supporting images of Krishna. He is known under the name of ‘Jagannath’, (Lord of the Universe), from which the English term ‘juggernaut’ comes. Krishna is attended on his journey by his brother and sister. The festival and others like it are celebrated in Britain with processions through various parts of London on appropriate Sundays. a) p 123; b) pp 68-69, 75, 79-80. More information at … 1. Rath Yatra - the Chariot Festival of Puri 2. ISKCON UK: Ratha Yatra - Festival of the Chariots 3. Harekrsna: The Ratha Yatra 4. Rath Yatra: The Chariot Festival of Puri, with photos 5. Swaminarayan: Rath Yatra

Shap Calendar of Religious Festivals 2019 - 2020
Saturday, 6 July 2019
CHOKOR (also CHO KOR DU CHEN) Buddhist Chökhor Düchen, the festival of ‘Turning the Wheel of Dharma’, is one of the four major Tibetan Buddhist holidays. It is a Tibetan and Nepalese festival that commemorates the first teaching (the turning of the wheel of law) given by the historical Buddha. It is a colourful and relaxed midsummer festival, when statues of the Buddha and copies of the scriptures, engraved on narrow, rectangular wooden blocks, are carried round the district with music and jollity, symbolising the promulgation of the Buddha’s teaching. The whole community, clerical and lay, male and female, joins in the processions and the picnics.
For eight weeks after his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, the Buddha did not give any teaching, even though Buddhist belief holds that one attains enlightenment in order to help other sentient beings. The normal explanation of this suggests that at that time there were no beings present who had sufficient ‘good karma’ to receive such important teachings from the Buddha. Other stories suggest that the Indian gods Indra and Brahma presented him with gifts and pleaded with him to begin his teaching. In the event the Buddha ‘Turned the Wheel of Dharma’ for the first time, at the Deer Park in Sarnath, near Varanasi, by expounding the ‘Four Noble Truths’.
He gave this first teaching to five of his companions from his earlier time of practising asceticism. They had previously left him on the banks of the Niranjana river after becoming disillusioned with him for giving up his practice of austerities. When they saw him once again, they were overwhelmed by his presence, and their curiosity was such that they could not resist asking him to explain what had happened. The Buddha taught them the Four Noble Truths which have remained the basis of all traditions of Buddhism. He talked with them all through the night, and when morning came, these first five students took refuge with him in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Together with the Buddha, they became the first members of the Sangha, the community of practitioners who follow the teachings of the Buddha, and they became enlightened arhats. At this time of year Buddhists today reflect on and seek to follow their example.
45 years after that first gathering, 1250 enlightened personal disciples of the Buddha came spontaneously to the Bamboo Grove at Rajagaha on the full moon of Magha (usually in late February or early March). This was one of the earliest large gatherings of Buddhists, and this was when the Buddha taught the principles of the Dharma and set out his teachings to the assembled arahats (enlightened monks) for them to study, learn and follow.
‘Duchen’ means ‘great occasion’ and like Chotrul Düchen, Saga Dawa Duchen, and Lhabab Düchen, Chokor Duchen is regarded as a ‘ten million multiplier’ day, multiplying the effects of all positive and negative actions ten million times! Together these four major Tibetan Buddhist holidays mark the four events known as the ‘great deeds’ of the Buddha. The first is Chotrul Duchen, and celebrates the time when the Buddha is said to have displayed a different miracle each day to spur on his disciples. Next is Saga Dawa, which remembers the Buddha’s enlightenment, death and parinirvana. The third is Chokhor Duchen, which commemorates the Buddha’s first sermon and the teaching of the Four Noble Truths.
In Tibet Chokor Duchen is a day of pilgrimage when believers visit particularly holy spots to leave offerings of incense and prayer flags. The whole community, monks and lay people alike, join in processions bearing statues of the Buddha and copies of the scriptures. They make much use of Chokhors or prayer wheels, which are common religious objects in Tibet, a normal part of daily life for all Tibetan Buddhists. These hand held wheels contain hollow wooden or metal cylinders attached to a handle. When turned, these are believed to spread spiritual blessing. Mantras - such as Om Mani Padme Hum - believed to evoke the attention and blessings of Shakyamuni, the Buddha of Compassion - may be printed or etched on the cylinder, and each revolution is said to equal one repetition or prayer. Larger prayer wheels are also lined up on racks along the paths circling the monasteries or at other sites so that passing pilgrims can set them into motion.
More information at …
1. chokhor duchen-one of the four great Tibetan holy days 2. Chokor du Chen – Buddha Multiplying Day 3. Mythic Maps: Chokor Duchen 4. Tibet Travel: Festivals - Chokor Duchen 5. Blogspot: Dream of my guru on Chokhor Duchen

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EDUCATION AND CELEBRATION Calendar of Religious Festivals