Definitions

Religious festival

Religious festival

A religious festival is a time of special importance marked by adherents to that religion. Religious festivals are commonly celebrated on recurring cycles in a calendar year or lunar calendar. This means that, because ancient calendars were not very accurate, the exact date of the festival changes each year.

Ancient Roman religious festivals

See Ancient Roman festivals

Ludi

Although the ancient Roman holiday of "Floralia," celebrated by the set of games and theatrical presentations known as the "Ludi Florales," began in April, it was really an ancient May Day celebration. Flora, the Roman goddess in whose honor the festival was held, was a goddess of flowers, which generally begin to bloom in the spring. The holiday for Flora (as officially determined by Julius Caesar when he fixed the Roman calendar) ran from April 27 to May 3.

Roman public games or "ludi" were financed by minor public magistrates known as "aediles." The curule aediles produced the Ludi Florales. The position of curule aedile was originally (365 B.C.) limited to patricians, but was later opened up to plebians, too. The ludi could be very expensive for the aediles who used the games as a way of winning the affection and votes of the people.

The Floralia festival

The Floralia festival began in Rome in 238 B.C., to please the goddess Flora into protecting the blossoms. The Floralia fell out of favor and was discontinued until 173 B.C., when the senate, concerned with wind, hail, and other damage to the flowers, ordered Flora's celebration reinstated as the Ludi Florales.

The Ludi Florales included theatrical events, including mimes, naked actresses and prostitutes. In the Renaissance, some writers thought that Flora had been a human prostitute who was turned into a goddess, possibly because of the licentiousness of the Ludi Florales or because, according to David Lupher, Flora was a common name for prostitutes in ancient Rome.

The celebration in honor of Flora included Florida wreaths worn in the hair much like modern participants in May Day celebrations. After the theatrical performances, the celebration continued in the Circus Maximus, where animals were set free and beans scattered to insure fertility.

The Saturnalia

Saturnalia is the feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn, which took place on November 17. Over the years, it expanded to encompass the whole week, up to November 23.

The Saturnalia was a large and important public festival in Rome. It involved the conventional sacrifices, a couch (lectisternium) set out in front of the temple of Saturn and the untying of the ropes that bound the statue of Saturn during the rest of the year. Besides the public rites there were a series of holidays and customs celebrated privately. The celebrations included a school holiday, the making and giving of small presents (saturnalia et sigillaricia) and a special market (sigillaria). Gambling was all, even slaves; however, although it was officially condoned only during this period, one should not assume that it was rare or much remarked upon during the rest of the year. It was a time to eat, drink, and be merry. The toga was not worn, but rather the synthesis, i.e. colorful, informal "dinner clothes"; and the pileus (freedman's hat) was worn by everyone. Slaves were exempt from punishment, and treated their masters with disrespect. The slaves celebrated a banquet: before, with, or served by the masters. A Saturnalicius princeps was elected master of ceremonies for the proceedings. Saturnalia became one of the most popular Roman festivals which led to more tomfoolery, marked chiefly by having masters and slaves ostensibly switch places. The banquet, for example, would often be prepared by the slaves, and they would prepare their masters' dinner as well. It was license within careful boundaries; it reversed the social order without subverting it.

The customary greeting for the occasion is a "io, Saturnalia!" — "io" (pronounced "ee-oo") being a Latin interjection related to "ho" (as in "Ho, praise to Saturn").

Buddhist religious festivals

See Buddhist festivals

Christian religious festivals

The central festival of Christianity is Easter, on which Christians celebrate their belief that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Even for Easter, however, there is no agreement among the various Christian traditions regarding the date or manner of the observance, less for Christmas, Pentecost, or the various less widely recognized holy days listed as Christian festivals and holy days.

Hindu religious festivals

See Hindu festivals and List of Hindu festivals

Hindu festivals include:

Sikh religious festivals

See: Sikh Festivals

Sikh Festivals include:

Islamic religious festivals

See Islamic festivals, Islamic calendar

Islamic religious festivals include:

Messianic Jewish religious festivals

See articles at Messianic Judaism

Messianic Judaism derives most of its liturgical influences directly from Judaism. It adds additional elements from the Christian tradition, since most outsiders would consider it a form of Christianity. Appointed times, called mo'edim, follow the standard Jewish liturgical calendar, though additional hermenuetical applications are derived in light of the teachings Jesus of Nazareth (Yeshua among other transliterations).

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Jewish religious festivals

See articles at Jewish holiday and Jewish holy days.

Jewish holiday, (or Yom Tov or chag or ta'anit in Hebrew) is a day that is holy to the Jewish people according to Judaism and is usually derived from the Hebrew Bible, specifically the Torah, and in some cases established by the rabbis in later eras. The holidays always occur on the Hebrew calendar only. There are a number of festival days, fast days and days of remembrance, collectively known as "Jewish holidays" in English, ("Yamim ''Tovim" or "chagim" in Hebrew).

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