Calendar of multi-faith and other events and festivals 2024

The main religions in the UK are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism and Jainism

❑ Some religions follow the Julian rather than the Gregorian calendar and in addition the phases of the moon are major influences, so dates can vary from year to year. Furthermore, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and other religious groups in different parts of the world vary in who, when and what is celebrated. Equally Christianity has many different denominations such as Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, United Reformed, Seventh Day Adventist, etc, with emphasis on different aspects of Christianity and different forms of worship

❑ I have included information provided by Jain, Muslim and Buddhist friends. In addition I have consulted calendars of the different religions as well as multi-faith calendars used by the NHS and in schools

❑ There may nevertheless be some mistakes and omissions in the calendar, for which I apologise. I encourage people to point these out where they have occurred./br>

JANUARY
1st New Year’s Day

7th Orthodox Christian Christmas celebrated by many eastern and south eastern countries including Russia, Armenia and Ukraine.
Greek Orthodox Christians in UK celebrate on 25th December.

14th Orthodox Christian New Year .

21st World Religions Day

25th Burns’ Night celebrating the work of Robert Burns and Scottish culture

25th Mahayana Buddhists’ New Year

27th Holocaust Memorial Day

FEBRUARY
LGBT History Month

10th Chinese New Year

14th First Day of Lent – Christians commemorate when Jesus Christ fasted in the desert for 40 days and resisted the devil .

14th St Valentine’s Day

15th Paranirvana Day – 2nd most important Buddhist festival when Buddha predicted his death and recited a summary of his teachings and code of discipline

24th Magha Puja/Sangha Day – celebrating friendship amongst the world wide community of Buddhists.

MARCH
1st St David’s Day, patron saint of Wales,

8th International Women Day

10th. Mothering Sunday

10th Start of Ramadan, the most sacred day in Islam when Muslims fast for 30 days from sunrise to sunset. The time is focused on prayer, charity and self reflection. It is the time in which the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed by the angel Gabriel in AD 610. It ends with the joyous celebration called Eid al-Fitron. Expected end 10th April

17th St Patricks Day, patron saint of Ireland.

21st International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

23rd Purim – Jews commemorate the saving of the Persian Jews, as described in the Book of Esther in the Fourth Century BC. Ends 24th March.

24th Holy week when Christians remember Jesus Christ’s life, beginning with celebration on Palm Sunday and his crucifixion on Good Friday.
Easter Sunday is the most important festival of the Christian year, celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Ends 1sr April.

25th Holi – Hindus celebrate the end of winter, the triumph of good over evil as represented in the story of the young prince who worshiped the god Vishnu rather than his father. Much throwing of coloured water.

APRIL
13th Theravada Buddhists’ New Year

14th Visakhi or Baisakhi – Sikh New Year festival and also commemorates 1699 when Sikhism was born as a collective fa

22nd Pesach or Passover when Jews commemorate the exodus of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Ends 30th April

23rd St George’s Day, patron Saint of England.

MAY
14th Christian Aid Week

15th Mental Health Awareness Week

19th Pentecost or Whitsun – 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples and the start of their mission worldwide.

23rd Wesak / Vaisakhi Puja / Buddha Day – major festival of Buddhists and some Hindus, commemorating the birth, enlightenment and achievement of nirvana in death of Siddartha Gautama, commonly known as Buddha.

JUNE
11th Shavuot – the Feast of Petecod – Jews celebrate the giving of the Torah containing the 10 commandments on Mount Sinai. Ends 13th.

14th Haji – the sacred Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca to be undertaken at least once in a person’s lifetime. Many rituals including a visit to Mount Arafat where the Prophet Mohammed delivered his last sermon. Ends 19th June.

16th Father’s Day

29th Pride in London

JULY
7th Rath Yatra – Hindu festival when statues of 3 sibling gods, Jagannah (Lord Krishna), Belabhadra and Subhadra are taken from the temple and paraded through the streets; in London from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square.

7th Al Hirja -Islamic New Year.

14th Disability Awareness Day

21st Asalha Puja / Dharma Day – one of the most important festivals for Buddhists, celebrating Buddha’s first sermon setting out the doctrine that thad come to him following his enlightenment.

AUGUST
9th Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan – brother and sister day for Hindus.

30th Festival of Paryushan- a major 8 day religious festival of fasting and meditation when Jains seek forgiveness for misdemeanours committed and
resolve not to repeat them. Ends 8th September.

SEPTEMBER
7th Ganesh Chaturthi – Hindus celebrate the birthday of the elephant headed deity, Ganesha, god of prosperity and wisdom.

16th Al Mawlid Al Nabawi – Muslims celebrate the birth of the Prophet Mohammed

OCTOBER
Black History Month
2nd Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year – 5772 years from the creation of the world. A most important time of the year. Ends 4th October.

3rd Navratri – 9 day Hindu festival celebrating the battle between the powerful demon Mahishasusra and the goddess Durga – the ultimate victory of good over evil. Ends 12th October

6th Silver Sunday – celebrating the contribution of older people to society.

11th Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement when Jews ask for forgiveness and look the future. The holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar. Ends 12th.

16th Sukkot – a time of joy and happiness for Jews, commemorating God’s protection of Jews travelling from Egypt to the Promised Land. Ends 23rd.

NOVEMBER
1st Diwali or Festival of Lights celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance and is the start of the Hindu/ Jain /Sikh new year and lasts for 5 days. Ends 5th November.

11th National Armistice Day/Remembrance Day

30th St Andrew’s Day, patron saint of Scotland

DECEMBER
3rd International Day of Disabled Persons

25th Kanukkah / Chanukah – Jews celebrate the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem after the victory over the occupying Greek armies. Ends 2nd January.

25th Christmas Day – Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ the son of God.

26th Boxing Day – historically when employers gave gifts in ‘boxes’ to their employees.

Compiled by Christine Heath, member of the Equality. Diversity and Inclusion Group

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