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A Breath of Diversity

The History and Celebrations of Spring Holidays

Photo by AI Image Creator on Wix

With spring approaching, the flowers are showing their vibrant colors, the sun is shining brighter and the temperature is getting warmer. Not only do these natural changes occur during the spring, but many religious holidays come about during this season. Many students and faculty at Maclay celebrate certain spring holidays including Easter, Holi, Ramadan and Purim.

Out of the 72 responses to a Spring Holiday survey, 58 replied that they celebrate the Christian holiday Easter. Easter is the celebration of  Jesus’s resurrection, three days after he was crucified. The week leading up to Easter Sunday, or Holy Week, consists of several religiously significant events. During Holy Week, Christians observe Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. Good Friday marks the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. According to Christian belief, this is significant because he died so his followers could be forgiven for their sins.

“Easter is important to me on many different levels,” upper school counselor Tammy Eubanks said. “One, I have a lot of childhood memories of celebrating Easter with my siblings and extended family. My memories of Easter Egg Hunts, fancy outfits, and great food are cherished. As I've gotten older and grown in my faith, Easter is a reminder that I am loved by God and that death isn't final. I know to some, my faith seems based on a fairytale. But my faith is personal.”

Holy Saturday, also known as Easter Eve, is a day of reflection and anticipation for Christians all around the world. Since Holy Saturday is the day after Good Friday, Christians give thought to the death that just occurred. After Holy Saturday, comes Easter Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead.

Not only is Easter Sunday an important spring holiday, but so is Purum, Holi and Ramadan. Out of the 72 responses, one person celebrates Holi, one person celebrates Purim, and one person celebrates Ramadan.

Holi is a Hindu tradition that occurs on the last full moon of the Hindu month Phalguna, the Gregorian equivalent to February and March. This year, Holi occurred on March 25. This holiday celebrates the absence of societal rankings such as caste, gender, age and status. Holi consists of everyone coming together and celebrating as one. It is also a time to start fresh and forget about one’s past.

Holi tradition consists of festivals.  It has been said that during the Holi festivals, the gods turn their heads and Hindus can let loose while enjoying each others’ company. Also, many festival participants throw colorful powdered dye in the air to make each person as colorful and noticeable as possible. In a religious sense, these colors can symbolize new life and vibrancy. When washing off the colors, can symbolize starting a new, fresh life with a clean slate.

This tradition dates back to the story of Hiranyakashipu, who thought of himself as a god and wanted people to worship him. He became angry that His son Prahlad was worshiping the Hindu deity Vishnu. Lord Vishu appears half-lion and half-man, and later, he killed Hiranyakashipu. The story symbolizes that good will always conquer evil.

Another story that plays a role in this holiday is about the unbreakable love between two gods, Radha and Krishna. This festival is a day full of remembrance of the two’s love. Holi plays a special role in the Hindu religion for it is one of the two most important festivals, the other being Diwali,  in this religion for it celebrates good taking over evil and the precious love between humans.

Another springtime holiday celebrated by Maclay students is Ramadan. Ramadan is a month-long, Islamic celebration. It celebrates the Holy Qur'an being sent from Heaven "as a guidance for men and women, a declaration of direction, and a means of salvation." This year’s Ramadan lasted from March 10’s sundown. to April 9’s sundown. 

The month of Ramadan is full of tradition. One of them is fasting. Muslims’ fasting includes no water or food from dawn until sunset. The breakfast meal is called Rahaf Al Bochi and the night meal is called iftar. This act symbolizes closeness with God and the remembrance of the less fortunate.

 During Ramadan,  a  huge tradition is prayer. Many Muslims go to the mosque and spend several hours praying. Adding on to the five other daily prayers, Muslims also recite a special prayer called the Tarawih. It is believed that Muhammad had originally received the Holy Qur’an on a special night, now known as Layat al-Qadr. This night is a meaningful part of Ramadan because it is believed to have changed the Muslim religion. By the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr celebrates the breaking of the fast with a huge gathering of family and friends filled with meals and gifts. This month marks the remembrance of the Muslims who received the wise word of God.

Another holiday celebrated by Maclay students is Purium. Purim is a joyous Jewish holiday on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar. This holiday celebrates the saving of the Jewish people living in ancient Persia. 

This holiday dates back to the fifth century B.C., when Haman was appointed prime minister of the Persian Empire.  he ordered the annihilation of all Jews in Persia. The King of Persia’s wife, Esther, hid her Jewish faith from the king. When she later revealed to the king she was Jewish and told him about Haman’s plan to exterminate her people, he revoked Haman’s order.

This holiday celebrates the strength of the Jewish faith. This year’s Purim was celebrated on March 23 at sunset and continues through March 24. Purim is celebrated with food, charity and gatherings. Jews typically reread the Book of Esther to recall how meaningful their faith is to them. A very common Purim food that is served on this holiday is called Hamantaschen. This sweet treat consists of triangular cookies that are often filled with poppy seeds, chocolate, jelly or other sweet flavors. Typically, adults will perform two acts of charity on this special day. These acts can provide food to the poor or money to cover the cost of a meal. The gatherings for this holiday include carnivals and parades to celebrate Jewish freedom with many people dressing up in different costumes.

The Maclay community celebrates a diverse amount of Holidays in the spring. Though a majority of the Maclay community celebrates Easter, the community recognizes students and faculty who celebrate Holi, Ramadan and Purim. All of these religious holidays occur around the same time during the spring season. Although all of these unique holidays have their differences, they all bring people together to worship the traditions that are valuable to their religion.


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Andy Poll

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