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March Cultural Holidays

Cultural Column
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Ramadan/Eid

Ramadan is the ninth month, March 11th to April 9th, in the Islamic calendar where Muslims traditionally fast to strengthen their relationship with God. This fast starts at sunrise and continues until sunset, when the fast is broken with a big feast called iftar. Those who are exempt from this fasting typically include pregnant or menstruating women, ill people, or those whose health would be affected by the fast. Eid al-Fitr is on April 10th this year and is the holiday where Muslims pray and celebrate the end of their fast. During this time, they also give donations to a charity before starting to pray. 

Holi

Holi, otherwise known as the festival of colors, originates in India. Celebrated by throwing brightly colored powder and bonfires, Holi takes place on March 25th this year. One of the many stories in Hindu Mythology is the tale of Hiranyakashipu and his son, Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu was a king who demanded to be worshiped like God; betraying his father, Prahlada chose to worship the Hindu deity Vishnu, the god of preservation, instead. The king then asked his sister, Holika to kill Prahlada. While wearing a fireproof cloak, Holika attempted to trick Prahlada by taking him into a fire, but since she sought to use her garment for evil, it flew off of her and onto Prahlada. Vishnu defeated Hiranyakashipu and Prahlada was saved. Bonfires are lit in order to showcase this victory.

 

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