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This quiz concerns festivals celebrated by people of different faiths all around the world in the month of March. It shows how for generations man has exalted God and His Presence on earth in this blessed month in so many beautiful ways and found light, peace, bliss.


1. Maha Shivaraathri falls on March 6 this year. This day is spent in meditation on Shiva and fasting. Temples dedicated to Shiva are filled with devotees offering prayers, singing hymns and chanting mantras, especially 'Om Namah Shivaya'. After fasting and meditating throughout the day, a vigil is held all night with continued prayers and meditation.

The Shiva Linga at the temple or in one's home is bathed with milk, honey and water, and offerings are made to Shiva in the form of Bilva [also known as Bael] leaves, fruits, and other specially prepared foods. Offering Bilva leaves to Shiva on Maha Shivaratri is considered especially auspicious.

According to Swami, what is the significance of worshipping Lord Shiva with this three-leaf plant?

2. In the Christian calendar, on March 20 this year, the feast of Holy Thursday is celebrated before Easter. Services held on this day typically include a reading from the Gospel account of the Last Supper, which includes Christ's taking bread and wine, declaring them to be his body and blood, and giving them to the Apostles. This day also stresses Jesus' washing of the feet of the Apostles at the start of the Last Supper, as recounted in the Gospel of John. At services on this day, a minister, priest, or lay leader(s) may wash the feet of some members of the congregation to commemorate Christ's actions and command.

What is this holy day also known as?

3. After sundown on March 20 this year, Bahá’í’s throughout the world celebrate Naw-Ruz, the start of the Bahá’í New Year. For Bahá’í’s, this is a religious holiday that marks the end of the Nineteen Day Fast. Naw-Ruz meaning "new day/daylight", is one of the nine Bahá'í holy days on which work is to be suspended. It is generally observed with a meeting for prayer and celebration, often combined with a dinner since the sunset on which Naw-Ruz begins ends the last day of the Bahá'í fast. It is also a day of gift-giving.

The Bahá’í calendar is divided into 19 months. How many days does each of their months consist of?

4. The most important events in Christianity are the death and later resurrection of Jesus Christ. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter. On March 21, this will commemorate the execution of Jesus by crucifixion. Why do Christians call this day ‘good’?

5. In India, on March 22, Holi, which is the Indian festival of colors and happiness, is celebrated among all ages of people. This colorful festival bridges the social gap and renews relationships. On this day, people rub coloured powder or paints on each others' faces and say, ‘Happy Holi!’

Tradition is that even enemies turn friends on Holi and forget any feeling of hate that may be present, as on this day, people do not differentiate between the rich and poor, and everybody celebrates the festival together, with a spirit of bonhomie and brotherhood.

How does the celebration begin?

6. On March 26, a very important festival, known as ‘Khordad Sal’ is celebrated. It is celebrated as the birthday of Zoroaster. What is this commemorative day also knows as?

7. Each year, on World Day of Prayer [WDP], a worldwide movement of women of many traditions, people come together to observe a common day of prayer. It is a movement initiated and carried out by women in more than 170 countries and regions, symbolized by an annual day of celebration – the first Friday of March – to which all people are welcome. This year it is held on March 7.

Which faith initiated this movement?

8. On March 21 this year, ‘Eid Mawlid An-Nabi’, is celebrated by many Muslims throughout the world. It commemorates the birth date of the Prophet Muhammad. This date is important to Muslims because the birth of the Prophet Muhammad is regarded as a great blessing for the whole of humanity. Prophet Muhammad is deemed to be the chief of all the Prophets sent on earth and it is to him that the Holy Qur'an was revealed.

On what aspect do Muslims focus on this special day?

9. Wherever the Buddha went, the people that he met were very often deeply impressed by his wisdom, energy and boundless creativity. They were attracted to these and other qualities and wished to cultivate them themselves by following the Buddha’s example and practicing the Dharma. These people made up the Sangha, or ________. They came from all walks of life. Some where rich, some poor, some were Kings and had a very high status in society, and others had very low status. There were women and men, people with family responsibilities and those who were homeless wanderers like the Buddha.

What does ‘Sangha’ mean?

10. Easter is a Christian Festival that celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the third day after Good Friday, the day of his crucifixion, now called Easter Sunday, He rose from the dead. Mourners went to His tomb to collect His body. However, He was not there and they were greeted by an angel who said "He is Risen".

The Christian festival of Easter is celebrated this year on March 23. It is the most important Christian festival, and the one celebrated with the greatest joy. Churches are filled with flowers, and there are special hymns and songs.

What flower is most commonly displayed on this day?

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-Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 6 Issue 03 - MARCH 2008
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