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  • Writer's pictureHilary McCormack

Eid Mubarak from Saudi Arabia

This year the holy month of Ramadan, the Christian festival of Easter, and Jewish Passover overlapped for the first time in my lifetime, making 2022 a very auspicious year. According to the Lees McCrae College in North Carolina, this overlap of our three religious observances occurs every 33 years.

This rare event for our major world religious holidays is possible because the Christian calendar, determined by the course of the sun and used in the western world, is a twelve-month solar calendar of 365 days. In contrast, the Islamic calendar is aligned with the lunar year and only 354 days.

Thus the Islamic cycle of annual holidays moves each year across the Western calendar. The shifting dates for the annual Muslim holidays mean Muslims experience Ramadan over the course of a lifetime in different seasons and climates.

By contrast, the Jewish holiday Passover and the Christain holiday of Easter always occur in the spring of each year.

Easter is the first Sunday following the full moon on or after the spring equinox.

The Passover can also be any day during this period, as the Passover occurs in the middle of Nisan, the seventh month in the Hebrew calendar, and on the first full moon. This puts the Passover holiday in close proximity to the Easter celebration. However, it is rare that these dates fall so close to Ramadan.

This year the Greeks, plus other Eastern orthodox groups and the Russians, celebrated their Easter holiday a week later.

The commonalities of these sharing events do not just end with the dates; what is so striking is how we all celebrate these occasions. These annual events are about families coming together to give thanks for all we have and to look after the less fortunate in our communities. It is a time for spoiling our children and passing on traditions, including the cooking of special meals and the sharing of small gifts.

While my Muslim colleagues enjoy these days with their families, I will travel once again to do something similar, and spend time enjoying the company of my own family and friends.

Wishing you all peace, joy, and happiness this Eid al Fitr.

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