Festivals’ deeper meaning

By Pastor Peter Demuth of St John’s German Lutheran Church, Springvale

Every time when a faith group celebrates one of its main festive times or celebrations, it’s a time of opportunity and wonder and perhaps awe.

It’s a time to discover and to learn.

A time to discover each other’s traditions and to learn the meaning and history behind those rituals, festivals or religious beliefs.

Preparing this message of hope I rediscovered that just in this short period of time in March and April three religions celebrate their important festivities.

On 29 March the Hindu festival Holi is celebrated, which is considered one of the most revered and celebrated festivals of India and is celebrated in almost every part of the country as well as internationally.

It is also sometimes called the “festival of love” as on this day people get to unite together forgetting all resentments and all types of bad feelings towards each other. (holifestival.org).

Around the same time Passover is celebrated in the Jewish religion.

In Hebrew ‘Pesacḥ’ is a holiday commemorating the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt and the “passing over” of the forces of destruction.

The festival marks the first and most momentous event in Jewish history.

Passover is celebrated from Sunday, March 28 to Sunday, April 4 in 2021.

And Christianity celebrates Easter during the first two weeks of April in western and eastern traditions.

Easter is the principal festival of Christianity, and celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day.

The earliest recorded observance of an Easter celebration comes from the 2nd century, though the commemoration of Jesus’ Resurrection probably occurred much earlier in the first century.

Having the opportunity to experience and to get to know in person these festivities is a great opportunity to learn more about each other’s culture and traditions and beliefs.

It’s a time to celebrate our own traditions, perhaps in our own language, in song or rhyme.

But it’s also a time to go out and see and experience and learn.

Perhaps I can encourage you through this article for both. Especially getting to know the meaning, the teachings of those different traditions is eye-opening and horizon-broadening.

I can make a start by sharing from my tradition celebrating Easter. Every year we hear and proclaim the same message that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas and then to the Twelve”. (1 Corinthians 15:4).

But we always ask again and again how this message is good news and able to reach into our lives today and what relevance it has today for us and our communities.

Christians believe and hope that the experience of faith in the resurrected Christ produces and changes our lives towards others and yourself through: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control.

Christians are Easter people living in a world that seeks peace and healing.

For the time of celebrations ahead I wish all blessings and encouragement.