Food For Thought
As those of us who are Christians head to one of our faith's most holy days of the year, we as Freemasons should be aware of the holy days that our brothers of different faiths observe. It is for that reason that I print the article I put in the Alpha Gazette in 2011/12.

There may be more holy days for every faith, but those that are printed appeared in the original source, except for The Bahai faith, where the editor made a judgement call on which were chosen.

Remember as you read this the poem The Mother Lodge by Rudyard Kipling which truly encapsulates the Craft.

To all of you I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in the manner in which you celebrate these national holidays.  John BG


This report is strictly in Alphabetical order of six predominant faiths (BBC selection) plus the Bahai faith which is mentioned in the New Zealand Statistics included herewith.


Nineteen Day fast ending in Naw-Ruz - 1/03/2017 ending 19/03/2017
Nineteen Day Fast (start 2 nd March and ends 20 th March is the period Baha'is go without food or drink from sunrise to sunset. It immediately preceeds the Baha'i New Year's day called Naw-Ruz on the 20th March.
Ridvan -  20/04/2017 to 1/5/2017
The greatest of Bahá'í festivals is the Festival of Ridván. For a period of 12 days starting on April 20th, Bahá'ís around the world will celebrate Bahá'u'lláh's public declaration of His mission, an event which took place on the eve of His departure from Baghdád for Constantinople. No less than three Holy Days are celebrated in the course of this time period, and elections for Local and National Spiritual Assemblies take place.
Race Unity Day - 11/06/2017 (Second Sunday in June):
The Baha’i-sponsored observance promotes racial harmony and understanding and the essential unity of humanity. It was established in 1957 by the Baha’is of the U.S.

Nirvana - 12/02/2017
Paranirvana Day is a celebration of the death of the Buddha. Meditations are done for the
recently deceased to give them support wherever they are. The event occurs during the full
moon of February.
Wesak - 10/05/2017
Wesak (Buddha Day) is the main Buddhist festival. It is the celebration of the Buddha’s birth,
enlightenment and death. Japanese Buddhists observe these events over three days. It takes
place during the full moon of May/June.

Lent begins - 1/03/2017
In many churches Easter is preceded by a season of prayer, abstinence, and fasting called Lent. This is observed in memory of the 40 days' fast of Christ in the desert. In Eastern Orthodox churches Lent is 50 days. In Western Christendom Lent is observed for six weeks and four days.
Easter Holidays celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They include Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras), Ash Wednesday, Lent, Passion Sunday, Annunciation, Holy Week, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter itself and Petecost.
Easter Day - 16/04/2017
Easter is a religious holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death by crucifixion some 2,000 years ago. For Christians, Easter is a day of religious services and the gathering of family.
Christmas Day - 25/12/2017
Christmas Day celebrates the birth of Jesus. A rich variety of songs and carols have developed and it is traditional to depict the nativity in the manger through sets in churches and homes and plays which re-enact the events of the story. Evergreens are also traditional as symbols of unfailing life. Feasting and gift giving are the order of the day. The Christmas season lasts for twelve days. Those Orthodox Churches who retained the old calendar celebrate all fixed festivals thirteen days after the Western Churches. [December 24/25 in Western churches]

Holi - 12/03/2017
Holi was originally a spring festival of fertility and harvest. Now it also marks some Hindu legends, which provide some of the ingredients for the celebrations. Holi is an ancient festival which is referred to in the 7th century Sanskrit drama, Ratnaval.
Diwali - 18/10/2017
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, is the most popular of all the festivals from South Asia. It is also an occasion for celebration by Jains and Sikhs. The festival of Diwali extends over five days. Because of the lights, fireworks and sweets involved, it's a great favourite with children.
The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance, although the actual legends that go with the festival are different in different parts of India..

Ramadan - 27/05/2017
The month of fasting from dawn to sunset every day. Fasting includes the prohibition of all foods, drinks and smoking. It is an experience of self-discipline and enables all to experience the deprivation of poverty. The atmosphere is one of solemnity rather than sadness.
Eid-ul-Adha - 1/09/2017
Four days which commemorate the end of the Hajj Pilgrimage to Mecca. All over the Muslims sacrifice animals (Like Abraham did in substitute for his son- Muslim version his son Ishmail). A third of the meat is distributed to the poor, the rest is shared with relatives.

Passover - 11-18/04/2017
Passover recalls the Exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, celebrates early spring harvest, and has become a vehicle for giving children and families the elements of Jewish identity
Rosh Hashanah - 21-22/09/2017
New Year's Day, commemorates the creation of the world. The blowing of the ram's horn reminds Jews of Abraham's sacrifice of a ram in place of his son. This festival begins ten days of repentance and self-examination ("Yamim Hanoraim" - the days of awe) during which God sits in judgment on each individual. Apples and pastry dipped in honey are eaten in the hope of a 'sweet' year. During the ten days of awe, some orthodox Jews sacrifice chickens who are supposed to take on themselves the sins of the people. According to tradition, during this time, the names of the righteous are inscribed in the book of life, while those who have not repented are recorded for doom. The books are sealed are the holidays by tradition, making the judgment irrevocable. The traditional greeting for Rosh Hashana is "leshana tova tikhatevu vetichatemu" - may you be registered and sealed for a good year. During the days of awe, the traditional greeting used by most observant Jews is gmar chatima tova - may you finish with a good seal..
Yom Kippur - 30/09/2017
The Day of Atonement climaxes the ten days of repentance. It is the holiest day of the year. Observant Jews neither eat nor drink for a full day. They spend a large part of the day in prayer asking for forgiveness for past wrong doing and resolving to improve in the following year. Yom Kippur is an extremely solemn holiday. In Israel automobile travel, TV and radio are stopped and only essential services are maintained.
Hannukah Begins - 12-20/12/2017
Hannukah celebrates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees in 164 BCE won it back from the Syrian Greeks. For the eight evenings of the festival, candles are lit on a special eight-branched candlestick, one on the first evening, two on the second and so on.

Baisakhi - 13/04/2017
Baisakhi Festival marks the beginning of the solar year. People of North India, particularly Punjab thank God for good harvest. Visit to Gurudwaras, Vaisakhi processions and traditional performances are the highlights of the day. Baisakhi has special significance for Sikhs as on this day in 1699, their tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji organized the order of the Khalsa.
Birthday of Guru Nanak / Gurupurab - 4/11/2017
Gurupurab is the most sacred festival of Sikhs, which commemorates the birth anniversary of the founder of Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Dev. It is also known by the name of Guru Nanak Jayanti. This festival is celebrated generally in the month of November every year but the day varies according to the lunar calendar.




    The Mother-Lodge

    There was Rundle, Station Master,
    An' Beazeley of the Rail,
    An' 'Ackman, Commissariat,
    An' Donkin' o' the Jail;
    An' Blake, Conductor-Sargent,
    Our Master twice was 'e,
    With 'im that kept the Europe-shop,
    Old Framjee Eduljee.

    Outside -- "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"
    Inside -- "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
    We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
    An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!

    We'd Bola Nath, Accountant,
    An' Saul the Aden Jew,
    An' Din Mohammed, draughtsman
    Of the Survey Office too;
    There was Babu Chuckerbutty,
    An' Amir Singh the Sikh,
    An' Castro from the fittin'-sheds,
    The Roman Catholick!

    We 'adn't good regalia,
    An' our Lodge was old an' bare,
    But we knew the Ancient Landmarks,
    An' we kep' 'em to a hair;
    An' lookin' on it backwards
    It often strikes me thus,
    There ain't such things as infidels,
    Excep', per'aps, it's us.

    For monthly, after Labour,
    We'd all sit down and smoke
    (We dursn't give no banquits,
    Lest a Brother's caste were broke),
    An' man on man got talkin'
    Religion an' the rest,
    An' every man comparin'
    Of the God 'e knew the best.

    So man on man got talkin',
    An' not a Brother stirred
    Till mornin' waked the parrots
    An' that dam' brain-fever-bird;
    We'd say 'twas 'ighly curious,
    An' we'd all ride 'ome to bed,
    With Mo'ammed, God, an' Shiva
    Changin' pickets in our 'ead.

    Full oft on Guv'ment service
    This rovin' foot 'ath pressed,
    An' bore fraternal greetin's
    To the Lodges east an' west,
    Accordin' as commanded
    From Kohat to Singapore,
    But I wish that I might see them
    In my Mother-Lodge once more!

    I wish that I might see them,
    My Brethren black an' brown,
    With the trichies smellin' pleasant
    An' the hog-darn passin' down; [Cigar-lighter.]
    An' the old khansamah snorin' [Butler.]
    On the bottle-khana floor, [Pantry.]
    Like a Master in good standing
    With my Mother-Lodge once more!

    Outside -- "Sergeant! Sir! Salute! Salaam!"
    Inside -- "Brother", an' it doesn't do no 'arm.
    We met upon the Level an' we parted on the Square,
    An' I was Junior Deacon in my Mother-Lodge out there!