31 December 2009

2010 Jain, Taoist, Confucian & Shinto Holidays


* 1/1 to 1/6: Shogatsu/Shinto New Year's Festival--The Kami (Nature Spirits) of the four directions are honored, and prayers for happiness, good health, and prosperity are made. [a/k/a Shihohai, Genshisai, Shinnen-enkai]


* 1/7: Koshogatsu--Shinto rite honoring Goddess Izanami, partner of God Izanagi. They created Nature and the Kami.


* 1/15: Seljin-no-hi/Coming of Age Day--Shinto festival honoring 20-year-old men and women.


* 2/3: Setsuban-Sai--Shinto rite in which good fortune is invoked and evil exorcised. Shinto try to live in harmony with the cosmic forces of the Kami. [a/k/a Bean-Throwing Festival, Turn of the Seasons Festival]


* 2/14 to 2/17: Hsih Nien/Suhl/Tet--Chinese and East Asian Lunar New Year (Year 4708: the Tiger).


* 2/17: Toshigoi--Shinto rite honoring the Kami and offering prayers for a bountiful rice harvest. The Kami are manifestations of the one universal, primordial and eternal, immanent and transcendent Deity, Kuni-Tokotachi-no-Kami. [a/k/a Kinensai]


* 3/3: Girls' Festival--Shinto festival honoring girls. [a/k/a Hina Matsuri, Doll Festival]


* 3/5: Day commemorating the birth of Taoist Lao-Tzu (570? BCE). Taoists seek enlightenment and live in harmony with Nature. [570?-490? BCE; alternate dates 604-531 BCE]


* 3/21: Taoist festival honoring the Shen (Deities) of Water, East, and Spring; prayers are made for growth. Taoists believe the unity of Yin (Eternal Feminine) and Yang (Eternal Masculine) make up the psyche-matter-energy of the eternal all-encompassing Ch'i.


* 3/21: Shunki-Korei-Sai--Shinto rite honoring ancestral spirits. [a/k/a Haru-no-Higan]


* 3/22 to 3/30: Navapad Oli--Jain period of fasting, recitation of holy scripture, and meditation on the principles of right knowledge, right faith, right conduct, and right penance. Jainas honor Arihantas (conquerors of passions), Siddhas (liberated souls), Acharyas (spiritual leaders), Upadhyayas (spiritual teachers), and Sadhus (renouncers). [a/k/a Navapada, Nav-pad Oli, Navapad Oli, Ayambil Oli, Aambil ki Ooli, Oli, Oliji, Siddha Chakra, Navadevata Puja, Vardhaman tap]


* 3/28: Day commemorating the birth of Mahavira Vardhamana Jnatrputra (599 BCE), founder of the Jain faith. Jainas avoid aggression and practice harmlessness, simplicity, and charity to attain enlightenment and unity with Deity. [599-527 BCE: exact dates unknown] [a/k/a Mahavir Jayanti, Mahavira Jayanti, Mahavir Bhagwan's Janma Kalyanak]


* 4/8: Hana Matsuri--Shinto rite honoring the Kami of Flowers. [a/k/a Flower Kami Festival]


* 4/17: Akshay Tritiya--Final day of Jain fast; day of Jain pilgrimage. Jainas practice harmlessness, simplicity, and charity to attain enlightenment and unity with Deity. [Jainas who have undertaken fasts are rewarded with sugar cane juice.] [a/k/a Akshaya Tritiya, Akshaya Thritiya, Akshyatritiya, Akshay Trutiya, Akhatrij, Varshitap Prarana, Varshitap Parna]


* 5/3: Taue Matsuri--Shinto rice-planting festival.


* 5/5: Boys' Festival--Shinto festival honoring boys.


* 6/15: Suijin Matsuri--Shinto rite honoring the Kami of Water. [a/k/a Water Kami Festival]


* 6/21: Taoist festival honoring Shang-Ti/Heavenly Emperor, Father of Justice and Law, and manifestation of the Te (Virtuous Inner Power). Also celebrates the peak of the masculine Yang half of the year and the Shen of Fire, South, and Summer; prayers are made for strength and maturity, and offerings are made to the ancestors.


* 6/30: Oharai/Grand Purification Festival--Shinto rite exorcising evil from the world. [Devotees are purified from offenses committed.] [a/k/a Oh-Harai-Taisai, Great Purification Festival]


* 7/7: Tanabata--Shinto rite honoring the Kami of the Stars. [a/k/a Star Kami Festival]


* 8/15: Kaza Matsuri--Shinto rite honoring the Kami of Wind. [a/k/a Wind Kami festival]


* 9/5 to 9/11: Paryusana--Jain festival of recitation of holy scripture, fasting, self-discipline, introspection, and reserve. Jainas grant forgiveness to others, ask forgiveness of others for harm done, whether knowingly or unknowingly, during the past year, and make vows to avoid causing future harm. The festival ends with a communal meal. [a/k/a Paryusan, Paryushan, Paryushan Parva, Paryushan Mahaparva, Pajjusan] [Ends at Samvatsari a/k/a Samvatatsari]


* 9/23: Taoist festival honoring the Shen of Winds, West, and Autumn; thanksgiving is made for the harvest. Taoists live simply, respect life, and recognize the equality of all.


* 9/23: Shuki-Korei-Sai--Shinto rite honoring ancestral spirits. [a/k/a Aki-no-Higan]


* 9/28: Birthday of Confucius (K'ung Fu-Tzu) (551 BCE). He taught that societal harmony could be realized when individuals acted with loving care for family, concern for friends and neighbors, benevolence to strangers, and respect for all. [Founder of Confucianism.] [Death day 11/29/479 BCE]


* 10/15 to 10/22: Navapad Oli--Jain period of fasting, recitation of holy scripture, and meditation on the principles of right knowledge, right faith, right conduct, and right penance. Jainas honor Arihantas (conquerors of passions), Siddhas (liberated souls), Acharyas (spiritual leaders), Upadhyayas (spiritual teachers), and Sadhus (renouncers). [a/k/a Navapada, Nav-pad Oli, Navapad Oli, Ayambil Oli, Aambil ki Ooli, Oli, Oliji, Siddha Chakra, Navadevata Puja, Vardhaman tap]


* 10/17: Shukaku Matsuri--Shinto rite offering thanks and first fruits of the rice harvest to the Kami. [a/k/a Kannamesai, Harvest Festival]


* 11/6: Day commemorating the death of Mahavira Vardhamana Jnatrputra (527 BCE), founder of the Jain faith. [599-527 BCE: exact dates unknown] [a/k/a Mahavir Nirvana, Mahavira Nirvana, Mahavir Bhagwan's Nirvan Kalyanak]


* 11/10: Jnan Panchami--Day that Jainas celebrate knowledge, education, and holy books with recitations, meditation, and worship. [a/k/a Gnan Panchami, Gyan Panchami, Jnana Panchami]


* 12/1: Suijin-Matsuri--Shinto rite honoring the Kami of Water. [a/k/a Water Kami Festival]


* 12/22: Taoist festival honoring Wang-Mu/Empress Mother, Mother of Compassion and Wisdom, and manifestation of the Tao (Cosmic Power of Creation and Destruction). Also celebrates the peak of the feminine Yin half of the year and the Shen of Earth, North, and Winter; prayers are made for rest and renewal, and offerings are made to the Cosmos.


* 12/22: Tohji-Taisai--Shinto rite honoring Sun Goddess Amaterasu. Storm God Susano-o angered Her, and She withdrew into a cave until enticed out with music and dance.


* 12/31: Oharai/Grand Purification Festival--Shinto rite exorcising evil from the world. [Devotees are purified from offenses committed.] [a/k/a Oh-Harai-Taisai, Great Purification Festival]


[Jainism was founded by Mahavira Vardhamana Jnatrputra in 6th Century BCE India. Jainism is an ascetic religion in which the primary mandate is ahimsa (harmlessness) and the goal is to free the soul from the material existence accumulated from karma. The holy scripture of the Jainas include the Angas (Sermons and Dialogues of Mahavira) and the Digambara Texts. There are two monastic denominations of Jainas: the Svetambara and the Digambara. The former includes orders of women and recognizes spiritual equality; the latter eschew orders of women and clothing. Lay Jainas venerate the Tirthankaras (24 great Jain teachers) at Jain temples. Jain festivals and the Jain calendar (Vir Samvat) are based on the Indian lunisolar calendar (Bikrami calendar or Vikram Samvat). Some Jainas outside of India date the Jain holidays based on the Moon in India, while others date the Jain holidays based on the Moon at their respective locations. Consequently, some Jainas in the United States and Canada may celebrate some of these holidays 1 day before the Indian celebration.]


[Taoism (Daoism) was founded in 3rd Century BCE China by Lao-Tzu. Taoism is a philosophical and spiritual system grounded in Nature and its rhythms. Taoist holy scripture is called the Tao Tsang. It includes the Tao-Te Ching and over a thousand other writings. Taoist holidays and the Taoist calendar are based on the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Chinese religion is a fusion of Taoism and Confucianism, and most Chinese also practice Chinese Mahayana Buddhism.]


[Confucianism was founded in 6th Century BCE China by Confucius (K'ung Fu-Tzu). Confucianism is a philosophical system focused on ethics and social structure.]


[Shinto (Shintoism) originated in Japan. Shinto is grounded in Nature and its rhythms. Shinto practitioners make daily offerings and prayers at home shrines and attend regional or national Shinto Shrines on annual festival days. Though Shinto holidays were previously based on a lunar calendar, the Shinto calendar is now based on the Gregorian calendar, which has been adopted in Japan. Most Japanese practice both Shinto and a form of Mahayana or Tantric Buddhism.]


Excerpted from THE MYSTIC'S WHEEL OF THE YEAR 2010 A Multifaith Calendar Reflecting Eco-Egalitarian Spirituality © 2009 Marija Miovski
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