1. The Thai New Year, called ‘Songkran’ is celebrated every year from 15 April to 17 April. Of all the feasts and festivals in Thailand, which are many, Songkran Festival is the most striking, for it is widely observed not only in this country but also in Burma, Cambodia and the Lao State. Thais wish ‘ Sawatdee pi Maï’ or Happy New Year to every one.
How do they most widely express their ritual on this day?
A. By burning firecrackers on the streets.
B. By cleansing images of the Buddha.
C. By reading from the scriptures with the monks.
D. By ringing huge gongs in the monasteries.
2. Celebrated on April 14th, Tamil New year day is a holy day for the Hindu Tamils of Tamil Nadu in South India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and of other parts of the world. Tamilians exchange greetings of “Puthandu Vazthukal”, meaning Happy New Year on the auspicious occasion of Tamil New Year. The highlight of the festival is the 'Maanga Pachadi' (a dish made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers), which is at the same time sweet, sour and bitter.
According to Swami, what is the significance of this special dish?
A. It brings in Prosperity.
B. It is Lord Krishna’s favourite food.
C. It indicates that joy and sorrow have to be treated with equanimity.
D. It creates harmony and peace in family relationships.
3. Every year on April 13, the Sikh community celebrates ‘Vaisakhi’, also known as ‘ Baisakhi’. People of North India, particularly in the Punjab, thank God for a good harvest. It is thus a festival of joy and happiness and the beginning of the Sikh New Year. Baisakhi is of major importance for the people following the Sikh faith, as it celebrates the founding of the Khalsa order of Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh, when he baptized 5 disciples, later known as the "Panj Piaare" or Five Beloved Ones. By doing so, he eliminated the differences of high and low and established that all human beings were equal. The festival is marked with ‘nagar kirtan’ (processions through the streets), which form an important part of Sikh culture and religious celebrations. "Nagar' means 'town' and 'Kirtan' is a term meaning the singing of hymns from the Guru Grath Sahib, the Sikh holy book.
While singing the hymns, what do Sikhs do at these processions?
A. Carry their Holy Book into the Gurdwara.
B. Distribute food packets to the homeless.
C. Distribute donations given by their community.
D. Distribute copies of their Holy Book to passers-by.
4. On April 14, devotees all over the world will be celebrating Ramanavami. Rama is one of the ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu, and one of the two most popular, along with Krishna. He was the first of the four sons of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. Swami tells us: “Ramayana is the history of Rama. It is HIS-story. The Ramayana has been described as the story of Rama, the ideal man. In fact every human, in a way, is Rama Himself, when he embodies the ideals of Rama. The Ramayana has been divided into two parts: Purva Ramayana and Uttara Ramayana. Purva Ramayana (the earlier part) deals with the prowess of Rama as a Dheera (hero) who destroyed Vali, Ravana and others…”
What does the Uttara Ramayana reveal?
A. The Compassion of Rama.
B. The Love for His Brothers.
C. His Sacred Dharmic Rule in His Kingdom.
D. Rama’s Role of an Honourable Son.
5. On April 18, Jains will be celebrating a very important event called ‘Mahavira Jayanti’ - a celebration of the birth of the great Jain teacher, Mahavira when accounts of his life are read aloud and his image is anointed with scented water. Mahavira lived a life of absolute Truthfulness, a life of perfect honesty and a life of absolute chastity. He lived without possessing any property at all. He preached his message of Peace for thirty years after the attainment of Omniscience. Many kings became his disciples.
‘Maha’ means great; what does ‘Vira’ mean?
C. Honest Being
6. Of all the Jewish holidays, ‘Pesach’ is the one most commonly observed as it celebrates the birth of the Jewish nation. It is the first of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance (the other two are Shavu'ot and Sukkot). The name "Pesach" means to pass through, to pass over, to exempt or to spare. In English, the holiday is known as the Passover. It is an eight day observance.
How do Jews start this ritual?
A. With a festive meal.
B. With the decoration of homes with special flowers.
C. With singing at dawn.
D. With giving charity to the homeless.
7. ‘Ridvan’ is a twelve-day festival in the Bahá'í Faith, [April 21 to May 2] commemorating the days of Bahaullah in the Garden of Ridvan where He proclaimed His Mission as God's Messenger after his exile from Baghdad. It is the most holy Bahá'í festival, and is also referred to as the "Most Great Festival". The First day of Ridvan is not only the “King of Festivals” as referred by the Bahai’s, it could also be said to have marked the beginning of the Bahai Faith.
What does Ridvan stand for?
8. On April 20, 2008, falls a sacred day when Shri Hanuman is worshipped all over India - either alone or together with Lord Rama. Every temple of Sri Rama has the murti or idol of Sri Hanuman. Hanuman, it is believed, is the Avatara of Lord Shiva. A few among his other names are Pavanasuta, Bajrangabali and Mahavira.
After which God is his name ‘Pavanasuta’ dedicated to?
A. The Sun God
B. The Wind God
C. The Fire God
D. The Goddess Earth
9. Islam, in Arabic, means "submission," that is, submission to the Will of God. It also means "peace," specifically, the peace one finds through submission to God's Will. Muslims pray five times a day - at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and evening - facing toward the Ka'bah, the House of God, in the Great Mosque at Mecca. They may pray wherever they are when prayer-time arrives, in any clean place, preferably in the company of other Muslims. While giving a Divine Discourse in 1983, Swami compared the significance of the Muslim ritual of praying 5 times to the Hindu culture for the arousal of Aathmic Consciousness and promoting the manifestation of Aathmic Illumination.
Until when should a Muslim pray 5 times a day?
A. For a month.
B. Until one achieves Self-Realization.
C. Only during holy days.
D. Up to the moment of death.
10. ‘Kwanzaa’ is a week-long holiday honoring and encouraging strength in African-American families and communities. The name Kwanzaa comes from the East African language of Swahili. It means first fruits of the harvest. On this day, candles are lit to reinforce Principles and Values.
What does this celebration promote?
C. Sharing and Giving
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