Bahai News - Festivals are universal in nature
23 October 2000
Festivals are universal in nature
By A Staff Reporter
MUMBAI: "Festivals should not be classified. All festivals are universal
in nature and belong to humanity... not to a particular faith alone,"
observed Prof. S A Upadehyaya, director of the department of Sanskrit and
ancient culture of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. He was speaking at a seminar on
`Festival of Faiths -- for peace, understanding, amity and national
integration', held on Sunday at St. Xavier's college.
The seminar was held under the auspices of World Federation of
Inter-Religious Councils, Zoroastrian College Interfaith Peace studies
department, St. Xavier's college inter-religious studies department and
the Jewish religious Union. Representatives from different faiths
discussed their festivals and their significance.
Mohan Ingole, head of department of commerce at Elphinstone college,
spoke on the festivals of Buddhism. He said, "Buddhist festivals are
commonly based on the events of Lord Buddha's life and teachings and
there observance is based on the Lunar calendar." Among the festivals he
discussed were the Therwada festivals, the New year, Wesak and Vaishakhi.
The festivals of the Bahai faith, were discussed by Djena Sunavala, member
of the management committee of the New Era High School at Panchgani. "There
are no rituals or customs followed in the celebration of Bahai religions,"
she noted, adding, "But each festival brings the message of peace,
togetherness and happiness to humanity. She discussed the festival of
`rizwaan' which Bahais observe across the world and shared that the Bahais
are spread in over 233 countries and independent territories across the
Father Lance Prabhu, head of St. Xavier's college inter religious studies
department gave the spiritual message of the immensely popular festival
of Christmas. "The holy crib where Lord Jesus was born is seen with
shepherds, camels, cows the wise men, all together with the lord. This
reflects cultural diversity," he observed.
The significance of Id-ul-fitr and Moharram, the two main festivals
followed by Muslims, was shared by member of the St Xavier's college
religious studies department, Prof. Zohair Filmwalla. He said, "Id is
considered as a celebration of vicotry over one's undesirable or evil
instincts." David Haeems, vice-president of the Jewish Religious Union
spoke about the two main Jew festivals -- Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
He discussed the rituals observed during these two festivals.
Sevantilal Shah, president of the Jain Swetambar Murtipujak Vidyarthi
Bhawan delivered a talk on Jain festivals. Elaborating on the teachings
of Jainism he said, "Non-violence is a virtue that extends to all
religions and doesn't remain confined to Jainism alone. And non-violence
does not merely denote the absence of violence but also absence of fear
Festivals of the Zoroastrians were discussed by member of the Maharashtra
Legislative Assembly, Dinaz Patrawala. Joginer Singh Sethi, founder of
the Guru Tegh Bahadur Nam Seva Society, spoke about the teachings of Sikh
gurus. Dr V M Dhalla, member with the committee of the Temple of
Understanding, Indian Chapter, spoke on Shinto-Taoism-Confucianism.
Discussing the teachings of the native Japanese religion, Shinto,
regarding festivals, he said, "It teaches that the gods descend from
heaven during festivals." He further elaborated on the teachings of
China's foremost sage Confucius.
©Copyright 2000, The Times of India
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