Celebrating Religion

Celebrating Religion

Article: Bridget Hausler ’23 | Stock Photography

A way to celebrate diversity within our community is to appreciate the great religious festivals in April that bring groups of various faiths together to observe their shared beliefs and values. These religious celebrations give members of our community an opportunity to preserve their religious customs. You may not be aware that Suffield Academy was founded in 1833 to train young men for ministry in the Baptist church. Today, Suffield Academy is a multi-denominational school with a Christian Fellowship Club, a Jewish Organization of Students (JOS), and students faithful to Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. The following is a list of some April religious festivals.

Easter (April 9)
Easter is the Christian holiday that observes the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his crucifixion. By rising from his grave, Christ conquered death and redeemed us from sin. Easter is joyful conclusion to the Lenten season, a 40-day period of prayer and sacrifice.

Passover (April 5 – April 13)
Passover is the Jewish holiday that commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.  One of the most important Passover rituals is removing leavened food products before the holiday begins and abstaining from them throughout its duration. The biblical narrative for unleavened bread, called matzah, is that the Israelites left Egypt hastily and could not wait for their bread dough to rise.

Ramadan (March 22 – April 21)
Ramadan marks the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims commemorating the revelation of the Quran of this time as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community. Muslims do not eat nor drink from dawn to sunset during the month. The Quran states that fasting was prescribed for believers so that they may be more conscious of God and practice self-control. Many Muslims maintain that fasting fosters feelings of empathy towards those living in poverty.

Vaisakhi (April 14)
Vaisakhi is the traditional harvest festival celebrated by Sikhs and first observed in the Punjab region of India. It commemorates the inauguration of the Khalsa in 1699, a term used for Sikhs who have been baptized. Vaisakhi is the day when Hindus believe River Goddess Ganga descended on earth from heaven and marks the Hindu solar New Year.

At Suffield, we are fortunate to have a diverse group of students and teachers from many different cultures, backgrounds, and religions. All of us can benefit from learning more about different religious festivals and respecting each other’s religious values and customs.