April has been a challenging month for all of us with arrival of the global coronavirus pandemic. For many faiths this year, April has had a number of significant religious dates which, in different ways, have brought some comfort to many people.
The Jewish community celebrated Passover (also known as Pesach in Hebrew) over eight days from 8 April. It is regarded as one of the most important festivals in Judaism and a time for reflection when people remember how Moses led the
Jewish people out of Egypt following years of enslavement.
Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is one of the most important festivals in the Christian calendar commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is preceded by the 40-day period of Lent which is a time of fasting
and reflection. This year Good Friday fell on 10 April and Easter Sunday on 12 April.
We are now very much in preparation for Ramadan, which is an annual religious event in Islam. So what is Ramadan?
- Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is one of the holiest months of the year for Muslims. The primary purpose of this month is to improve God consciousness which is achieved through praying, fasting and charity. As the Islamic calendar
is lunar-based, the month moves forward each year by 8-11 days. Consequently, this year, Ramadan is expected to start in the UK on the evening of 23/24 April and will end on sighting the new moon around the evening of 22/23 May 2020.
- Traditionally, prayers and breaking fast, known as Iftar, are done in family and/or community gatherings such as the Mosque. Understandably, with Covid-19, Mosques have been closed down and there are no congregational prayers or external family gatherings.
Therefore, this will be a very different experience this year. Maybe you could join your Muslim friends who are fasting, via skype/teams etc, and do one or two fasts – it’s a great way to lose weight and has many health benefits!
Whatever your beliefs, the one common factor for all these significant dates is families coming together. We recognise just how hard this is on all our colleagues at this time and hope you continue to find ways to keep in touch with your loved ones. From
everyone in the Race, Religion and Belief Network we send you festive greetings and wish you well during these difficult times.