Religion

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Crosses of Porcon

Crosses of Porcon or Cruces de Porcon is a traditional Easter week festival organized in Peruvian town of Granja Porcon, Cajamarca Region. The main day of this festival is Palm Sunday. Four different ceremonies are organized then. First one, the crowning of the crosses. The second one, the greeting of the Lord at the home of the mayordomo (the „boss“ who organizes the whole festival). The third one, the various responses sung in Quechua and Latin. And the fourth one, the procession to the plantation chapel.

Easter in Australia

Easter in Australia is celebrated in the Autumn. It is so as Australia is located in the southern hemisphere. Easter for Australians starts on Good Friday and ends on Easter Monday. Like in other parts of the world Easter is time of praying and family gathering. Egg knocking game is very popular. How is it played? A participant holds an Easter egg and taps it with someone else's egg. A person whose egg survives, meaning whose egg shell does not get cracked, wins.

Holy Week in the Philippines

Holy Week or Mahal na Araw in the Philippines includes numerous traditional events. This is the country where Roman Catholics make 81% of population. 5% of Filipinos belong to Protestant churches. 4% of population belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Iglesia Ni Cristo, Philippine Independent Church, Seventh Day Adventist, United Church of Christ and other Christian communities. Christianity of the country was in many ways influenced by the Spaniards who ruled the country for more than 300 years.

Procession of the Holy Blood in Bruges

Bruges (in Dutch Brugge) is a wonderful Belgian city located in the West Flanders region. Due to its numerous canals it is often called "The Venice of the North". The Ascension day is celebrated on Thursday, the 40th day after Easter Sunday. On the Ascension day people of Bruges organize the Procession of the Holy Blood. The city has the relic of Blood of Christ. It is believed that this relic turns from coagulated state to liquid exactly on the Ascension day.

Easter in Lebanon

Easter in Lebanon is celebrated by local Christian communities (Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syriac Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Chaldean, Assyrian, Coptic, Protestant). Christians make about 40% of Lebanese population. One of delicacies prepared for Easter in Lebanon is Maamoul. Maamoul are little cakes that are made with semolina, sugar, pound butter and water. They are filled with walnuts, dates or pistachios. After baking they are covered with some icing sugar.

Easter traditions

Easter is in its essence a religious holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is also a celebration of life in general. For many it includes Easter eggs, cute bunnies and lot of chocolate. The following lines will tell you something about unique traditions of Easter celebration in different parts of our planet.

Easter egg

Easter egg is one of the most important symbols of Easter. Ancient Egyptians believed that an egg is directly related to the most powerful deity, the Sun. In Ancient Rome there were races held on an oval track. Winners got eggs as prizes. The most famous Finnish epic "Kalevala" contains claims that egg was essential for the creation of the world.

Semana Santa

Spain is very famous for numerous events held during Semana Santa or Holy Week. Holy Week (Hebdomada Sancta or Maior Hebdomada – „Greater Week“) in Christianity is the last week before Easter. It includes religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and Good Friday. I does not include Easter Sunday which belongs to The Great Fifty Days. All of the religious holidays mentioned commemorate the last week in life of Jesus Christ, his crucifixion on Good Friday and the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi (Vinayaka Chaturthi, Ganeshotsav) is the festival celebrating the Hindu deity Ganesha. According to Hindu calendar it is held in the month of Bhaadrapada.

Easter songs

Easter and days of the Holy Week preceding it can not be imagined without music. Numerous different songs are performed. They vary from those of deep sadness performed on Good Friday to those filled with joy performed on Easter Sunday. Here are few songs from different parts of the World. Being from Croatia let me start with the Croatian song "Puče moj" (Oh, my people) by the group Vokalisti Salone. This song is performed on Good Friday.

Festa dei Serpari

Festa dei Serpari is rather special religious festival held in the town of Cocullo located in the Italian region of Abruzzo. The festival is organized on the first Thursday in May. It honours the patron saint Dominic Abbot (951-1031) or San Domenico di Sora, like he is known in Italy. People believe that he can protect from the toothache.
Festa dei Serpari Festa dei Serpari

Krishna Janmashtami

Krishna Janmashtami is the Hindu festival honouring the birth of Krishna. It is held on the Ashtami tithi which is the eighth day of the dark half or Krishna Paksha of the Hindu month of Shraavana.

Ratha Yatra

Ratha Yatra (Gundicha Jatra, Navadina Jatra) or the Festival of Chariots is celebrating the Lord Jahannath. Hindus believe that he is a form of Vishnu. For Buddhists he is a form of Buddha.

El Rocío

El Rocío is probably the most popular Spanish pilgrimage. Almost 1 million people participate in it each year.

Scoppio del carro

Scoppio del carro (in English “Explosion of the Cart) is a traditional event set in the Italian city of Florence, Tuscany.

Corpus Christi in Spain

Corpus Christi (in latin Body of Christ) is a Christian festival honouring the Eucharist. It is celebrated on Thursday following Trinity Sunday. Corpus Christi is celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of England and some other Anglican churches. The date for celebration is not fixed. It varies according to the date of Easter. In 2013 Corpus Christi will be celebrated on the 30th of May. The most common way of celebrating Corpus Christi is a procession through cities and towns. But each place has some other traditions that accompany the procession.

Baranek Wielkanocny

Easter lamb or “Baranek Wielkanocny” is a lamb figure traditionally made of butter. It is an important part of Easter in Poland. It represents the Jesus as the Lamb of God. A white banner with a red cross is usually added to the lamb. Flags in other colours exist too. The lamb is always present at the Easter table when a priest blesses a meal.
Baranek Wielkanocny Baranek Wielkanocny

Dyngus

Dyngus or Smigus-dyngus or „Lany Poniedziałek“ is celebrated in Poland on the Easter Monday.
Dyngus Dyngus or Smigus-dyngus
On this day boys wait hidden to surprise and sprinkle girls with water or perfume. People believe that girls who get soaked will marry within the year. There are doubts about the origin of this tradition. Some say it is pagan as the pouring of water is a spring symbol of cleansing and purification.

Sinulog

The Sinulog is a festival organized in Cebu City, Philippines on the third Sunday in January. The festival is dedicated to the the Santo Niño (Holy Child) or Baby Jesus. The festival commemorates Pagan past and acceptance of Roman Catholicism by the local people. The festival lasts for 9 days. The highlights of Sinulog are held close to its ending.
Sinulog festival, 2010 (photo: Harry Wad) Sinulog festival, 2010

Lingam

The lingam (in Sanskrit – "symbol, sign") or linga or Shiva linga is the symbol of the god Shiva. It is the most popular form of worshipping the Shiva among Hindu people. Some use the term lingam as synonym for "shivalingam" which is a particular type of icon or altar representing Shiva.
Lingam Lingam

Saint Agatha's Procession of Catania

Saint Agatha's (Sant' Agata) Procession is one of the biggest processions in Italy. It is held between 3rd and 5th of February in the city of Catania located on the island of Sicily. Agatha lived in Sicily of the 3rd century AD. People of Catania are very devoted to their saint. When there is a danger of eruption from the nearby Mount Etna volcano locals carry statues of the saint to the mountain hoping that she will stop the flow of lava.
Saint Agatha Saint Agatha

Ovoo

Ovoo (in Mongolian "heap") is a cairn made in Mongolia for ritual purposes. They are made from stones or wood. They can be usually found on mountains. People passing by an ovoo traditionally circle around it three times in clockwise direction. A person makes an offering by adding a stone to the pile. Some people leave money, milk or some alcoholic beverage. He or she then makes a wish.
Ovoo Ovoo

Senju Kannon

Senju Kannon or Sahasrabhuja is the Buddhist statue that can be seen in most Buddhist temples. It is known as the "Thousand-Armed Buddha of Mercy". These 1000 arms represent unlimited mercy. In reality most statues have 42 arms. What is the reason for this difference?
Senju Kannon Senju Kannon

Macchina di Santa Rosa

Saint Rose of Viterbo (1235_1252) is the patron saint of the city of Viterbo located in Italian region of Lazio. In the evening of 3rd of September 100 local men known as “Facchini di Santa Rosa” (porters of Saint Rose) carry the "Macchina" through the medieval city centre.

Saint Ranieri of Pisa

The Italian city of Pisa is located in Tuscany. It is famous for its Leaning tower (Torre pendendte) and Battle of the bridge (Gioco del Ponte). The patron saint of Pisa is Saint Ranieri (Rainerius). He is also the patron saint of travellers. He lived in the 12th century. His feast day is on the 17th of June.
Luminara in Pisa, Italy Luminara in Pisa, Italy

Jizo

Ksitigarbha is a bodhisattva mainly present in the Buddhism of Eastern Asia. In Japan he is known as Jizo or Ojizō-sama. He is very popular. His statues can often be seen in shrines, along roads and at cemeteries.

Fiestas del Pilar

Zaragoza is the capital of the autonomous region of Aragon located in the northwest of Spain. Its patron saint is the Virgen del Pilar (Virgin Mary of the Pilar). She is honoured during the Fiestas del Pilar held on the 12th of October. It is one of the most popular festivals in Spain. There are some festival activities organized in the week before the main event. It is officially opened with the Pregón (Opening speech). The speech is given from the balcony of the City Hall by some famous personality. Each year there is a new speaker.

Fête des lumières

Fête des lumières or Festival of Lights is held on the 8th of December in the French city of Lyon. People of this city traditionally put candles along their windows. Lyon looks really special during that December night.
Saint John's Cathedral in Lyon Saint John's Cathedral in Lyon

Corpus Christi in Cusco

Cusco (Cuzco) is the city located in the southeast of Peru. It used to be the capital of Inca Empire. The UNESCO declared it a world heritage site in 1983. Inside Peru it is known for its impressive Corpus Christi celebration. It is held 60 days after the Easter Sunday.
Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru Corpus Christi in Cusco, Peru

Lord of Miracles

Lord of Miracles or Señor de los Milagros is one of the biggest religious festivals in South America. It is held between the 18th and 28th of October in the Peruvian capital of Lima.

Chinowa

Chinowa or saganuki is a big ring-shaped object made of cogon grass (in Japanese chogoya). It is placed vertically on the path leading to the Shinto temple.

Poy Sang Long

The Shan people live in several parts of southeast Asia. Most of them live in the Shan province of Myan Mar (Burma).

Santa Tecla

Saint Thecla was one of early Christians. She belonged to one of the communities set up by Saint Paul. She is the patron saint of the Catalan city of Tarragona.

Miyamairi

When the Japanese baby is about one month old she or he is brought to a Shinto shrine.

La Chandeleur

Fête de la Chandeleur or just La Chandeleur is a popular French name of the Catholic holiday of Candlemas.

Romeria Nacional de los Gitanos

Romeria Nacional de los Gitanos or in English National Pilgrimage of the Romani people has been organized since 1969 in the town of Cabra, Córdoba located in central Andalucia, Spain.

Saint Anthony of Padua

Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) is one of the most popular Catholic saints. He was the Portuguese priest and member of the Franciscan order.

Black Christ

Portobelo is a small coastal town in the Colón Province of Panama. Each year on the 21st of October tens of thousands of pilgrims arrive there to celebrate the festival of Black Christ (El Cristo Negro).

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe (Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe) is celebrated all across Mexico on the 12th of December. Her feast has its origin in 1531 AD.

Lord of the Earthquakes

Lord of the Earthquakes or El Señor de los Templores is the religious festival held on the Easter Monday in Cuzco, Peru.

Santa Agueda

The celebration of Santa Agueda (Saint Agatha) in the Spanish village of Zamarramala, Castilla y Leon is rather unique.

Saint Sarah

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer ("Saint Marys of the Sea") is a small town in the south of France. It is the capital of the Camargue region (Provençal Occitan Camarga). On the 24th of May thousands of Roma people from all over the world arrive to this town. They arrive as pilgrims to Saint Sarah (in Romani Sara e Kali). She is their patron saint.

Saint Barbara

Saint Barbara is honoured among Roman Catholics but also in Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy. In Roman Catholic Church her feast day is on the 4th of December. She is the patron saint of miners, army engineers and everyone else who work with explosives. She is also honoured by the people from the world of mathematics.
Cabinet with the statue of Saint Barbara Cabinet with the statue of Saint Barbara

Saint Blaise's Day

Saint Blaise was a physician and bishop of Sebastea, Armenia. This place is now called Sivas and it is located in Turkey. He became Christian martyr by being beaten, tortured with iron carding combs and then beheaded. Saint Blaise is popular in Armenia, Croatia (especially in the city of Dubrovnik), Germany, Great Britain and Italy.
Saint Blaise Saint Blaise

The Rocket War of Chios

Chios (Khíos, Híos) is the Greek island located in the Aegean Sea. It is only 7 kilometres from Turkish coast. Local Nea Moni monastery from the 11th century is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.