What do I mean by celebrations?
A celebration is an event that takes place to commemorate an occasion. This can be anything from birthdays to religious events such as Eid and Diwali, and even Halloween and Bonfire night.
Why are we talking about celebrations?
As it’s coming up to the end of the year and some of us are going to be celebrating Christmas and New Year’s, we wanted to reflect on all of the celebrations that took place during lockdown and begin to think about how it has been different this year.
Even though we have celebrated a lot of events in lockdown, it doesn’t take away the true meaning of these celebrations and we shouldn’t be disheartened by not being able to celebrate them as we usually would do.
Here are some of the celebrations that take place;
Hajj and Eid-UL-Adha are celebrated once a year, one after the other where Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca. After the trip to Mecca, Eid-UL-Adha takes place. The trip to Mecca is a religious commitment which is part of the five pillars of the Muslim faith. Mecca is a display of harmony among the Muslims as they demonstrate respect to Allah, their God.
How was Hajj different this year?
This year, the kingdom’s Hajj ministry revealed in the conference that the ritual would still go ahead for those who lived in Saudi Arabia. People who went would get tested for Coronavirus when they arrived at Macca and required to quarantine when they get home. As well as this face masks were mandatory for both pilgrims and organisers and when they were doing congregational prayers, they had to keep social distance.
Easter marks the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the compensation of mankind. Easter is celebrated over a three day period, usually starting on a Friday which is called Good Friday. This is the assumed day of Jesus’ death by crucifixion. The celebration ends on the following sunday (Easter Sunday) which is the day when Jesus rose from the dead. Before this celebration begins, Christians and others who want to take part, do ‘Lent’ where they fast, pray and let go of something for 40 days.
How was Easter different this year?
Usually, Easter time would be celebrated by families and friends coming together to give Easter eggs, have Easter egg hunts and do various activities to celebrate. Also, on Easter Sunday, people would go to Church.
However, Covid-19 happened and it meant that we had to celebrate in a different way. It meant that everything moved online. The church service was online, the Easter activities were done online and Easter eggs would be sent through post or just drop them outside people’s houses.
Diwali (festival of lights) is celebrated over a five day period where people celebrate the success of the good over the evil. As well as this, they commemorate the lord of virtue who returned after fourteen years of exile. Diwali is celebrated by lighting candles and setting of fireworks, as well as, decorating their houses with colourful patterns drawn on the floor known as rangoli. Meanwhile they also give back to the community and the less fortunate.
How has Diwali been different this year?
In Wales, Diwali has been celebrated differently to England. Wales has just come out of lockdown and England went into a month long lockdown before Diwali started.
This meant that in Wales, families and friends could meet up but keep social distance and private prayer and worship were able to take place in temples. However, other events were still being held online. A temple in Cardiff called the Shree Swaminarayan Temple, delivered craft boxes so children could decorate their homes.
However, in England, Diwali was celebrated all online. Local councils in different places in England streamed events that involve having traditional songs, folk dances and performances. Also, the events that usually took place in person, as best as it could went online where people were invited to attend.
Hanukkah is another festival of lights which is celebrated around late November or December. Hanukkah is a celebration of how when the temple was rededicated after an extent of affliction, the external light was renewed. However, it was thought there would only be sufficient oil for a few days. Amazingly, the oil lasted for eight days, until more oil was found. This formed the Menorah, a candelabra with eight candles acting as the eight days. There is one extra candle to light the others which is a central focal point for prayers said during the nights of Hanukkah.
Other festivals include Christmas, Ramadan and Eid-UL-Fitr, Chinese New Year’s, Setuban, Navaratri and so many more.
So, what has been so different this year?
One of the obvious reasons why it is so different this year is because of COVID-19. It means that we have had to celebrate religious festivals, birthdays and so on within the confines of our houses with the people we live with. However, this should not stop us from celebrating the things that are important to us!
It just means that we celebrate with others outside of our household over Zoom calls, phone calls, text and even record what we got up to (COVID Safe) and share it with our friends and family.
Reflecting on these celebrations is important because even though we couldn’t celebrate in person with everyone that we wanted, we still came together with our family and friends to make these celebrations happen.
As people have different experiences, reflect on what was so different as an individual in these celebrations and think how you have adapted to these situations. That should be something we all should be proud of as no one was expecting COVID-19 to happen.
Remember to think about the positives and make the most of the time you have with your family and friends.
What about Christmas and New Years?
Christmas is a festival that takes place near the end of December where we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas takes place over a three day period, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Shortly after Christmas, there is New Year’s celebration which takes place on the 31st of December (New Year’s Eve) which marks the beginning of the new year. On the eve, we party until 12pm on the 1st of January, where a firework ceremony begins.
As Christmas Day and News Year’s have not yet began, there is a lot to think about in terms of still being able to celebrate these festivals but still be COVID safe so keep an eye on our website to find out more on how to make the most of Christmas and New Years!