Absent holy days (there are none), persons may nevertheless engage in
festivities and commemorations (see typical examples, below). In the United
States, freethinkers may commemorate “Freethought Day,” the anniversary
date of a ruling by the colonial governor of Massachusetts that outlawed use
of spectral evidence, thereby helping bring to an end the Salem Witch trials.
Other examples include: 1) Seasonally mark the equinoxes and solstices of
the solar cycle with celebration of certain aspects of life and living, 2)
Commemorate human advancements of reason over superstition and
milestones in severance of church and state [a birthday of a scientist like
Darwin or a rationalist like Thomas Paine may be celebrated, for instance];
and 3) Observe anniversaries of certain other significant historical events,
such as the martyrdom of Hypatia, or of Giardano Bruno.
Wesak celebrates the life of the historical Buddha. Dhammacakka
celebrates the Buddha's first sermon where he taught the principles of
The main festivals celebrate the life of Jesus Christ: Christmas, celebrating
his birth, Easter, marking his death and resurrection; Ascension Day,
celebrating his return to Heaven. Pentecost celebrates the coming of the
Holy Spirit onto the Disciples.
There are many festivals, of which the main ones are: Mahashivaratri
celebrating Shiva; Holi, the harvest festival in honor of love and of Krishna;
Divali, celebrating the New Year and Rama and Sita, central figures of The
Ramayana, a Hindu epic.
The Muslim calendar is lunar and moves eleven days earlier each year,
compared with the Western solar calendar. Ramadan is the month of
fasting; Eid ul Fitr (Idul-Fitr) marks the end of Ramadan and the giving of the
Qur'an to Muhammad; Eid ul Adha (Idul-Adha) is the time of the Haj, the
pilgrimage to Mecca and celebrates the obedience of the Prophet Ibrahim.
Passover or Pesach celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt (the
seder meal in the home is observed); Shavuot marks the giving of the Law
to Moses; Rosh Hashanah is the New Year festival, and Yom Kippur, the
day of repentance, Chanukah (Hanukkah) celebrates the survival of the
Baisakhi celebrates the foundation of the Khalsa; other major festivals
include the Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, the birthday of Guru Nanak, the
founder of Sikhism; the Martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur; and the birthday
of Guru Gobind Singh.
There are hundreds of local festivals. The main festivals: Chinese New Year;
Ching Ming, for the veneration of the dead; the Hungry Ghosts' festival for
the release of the restless dead; and the Moon Festival, celebrating the
DEIST Worldview (of historical interest)
Teaching About Religion
in support of civic pluralism