Religion Posts

  • My new Twitter handle is now live - check me out at @jackiewgibson!

  • CNN has posted a history of bias against Sikhs - more reason for people to learn about religions before they attack anyone:...

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Hackers group Anonymous takes down Vatican website:

  • WGN-TV calls doomsday prophecies "an illusion":

  • RT @graceishuman: Really,? Asking people JUST LEAVING the service how they felt about it? Tacky, tacky, inappropriate

  • Whitney Houston's funeral service really took the world to church. Love Pastor Winans' honesty, very moving.

  • #teacher ? Here are appropriate responses to situations with your Jehovah's Witness student:

  • #Teachers: Want to know why your Jehovah's Witness student won't say the pledge and how to respond?

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The following series of winter religious holidays was written by Religion Transcends writer Jackie Walker for the Winter 2009 issue of Relate magazine. Relate’s mission is to inspire teen girls to pursue their dreams with confidence and to teach them to be an example for others in their speech, life, love, faith and purity. Religion overviews may have Christian overtones to make the content relatable for the Christian teen audience.

If you’re putting the finishing touches on a winter wonderland of figgy pudding, jingling bells, and neatly wrapped presents, you’re in good company. Each year, about 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas. That’s more than 9 out of every 10 people in the United States!

Of course, Christmas comes in a variety of packages: Santa and his sleigh, Jesus and his manger, the Grinch and his itty-bitty heart. So just what is the real Christmas story? And what are some of the holy nights that the other 7% of Americans are celebrating this winter?

Set aside those gingerbread cookies and read this holiday list (we checked it twice!).


Holiday: Ashura

Date: December 27

Main Players: Noah, Moses, Hussein

The Story: Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims celebrate Ashura differently. Sunnis are those who believed a new leader should be elected when Muhammad died. Shi’ites are those who thought the new leader should be a descendent of Muhammad. Sunnis remember the day Noah stepped off the Ark. They also use Ashura to celebrate the day Moses parted the Red Sea and escaped from the Egyptians. Shi’ites mourn the death of Hussein ibn Ali. Hussein was the grandson of Muhammad. As a descendent, Shi’ites believed he should rule over the Muslim community. But the Sunnis didn’t recognize him as leader…so Hussein started his own kingdom. Because he refused to pledge allegiance to the government that was in place, he was killed and beheaded during battle. Today, Shi’ites consider Hussein a martyr because he died for his religion.

Traditions: Sunnis celebrate Ashura by fasting (meaning they don’t eat that day). Shi’ites mourn the anniversary of Hussein’s martyrdom on Ashura and sometimes for weeks after. To show their grief, they may:
-Mourn in public
-You may have seen pictures of Muslim men walking in a line and beating themselves on Ashura; this is a way to show grief
-Visit Hussein’s tomb in Karbala, Iraq

Other installments in this series:
-Buddhism: Bodhi Day
-Judaism: Hanukkah
-Christianity: Christmas
-Hinduism: Vasant Panchami

Other holidays this winter:
-Islam: Hijra (December 18)
-Wicca: Winter Solstice (December 21)
-Shinto: Gantan-sai (January 1)
-Baha’i: World Religion Day (January 17)
-Buddhism/Confucianism: Chinese New Year (February 14)

Created by Religion Transcends, 2009

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