Upcoming Cultural Events

Ashura: 9-10 September 2019

The Islamic holy day of Ashura literally translates to 'tenth' as it falls on the tenth day of the important first month of the Islamic calendar. In 2019, this falls between 9-10 September.

For Sunni Muslims, Ashura marks the day Moses parted the Red Sea and saved the Israelites from persecution by the Egyptian Pharaoh and the day that Noah left the Ark. This is a day marked by reflection, respect, and gratitude.

For Shia Muslims, Ashura is a mourning period in remembrance of the Battle of Karbala (680 CE). It is particularly reserved for grieving the death and martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Many Shia Muslims will undergo a pilgrimage to the shrine in Karbala in Iraq. It is a day of rest, mourning, reverence, and remembrance.

Ashura has become a national holiday in seven countries across the world.

Moon Festival: 13 September 2019

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is one of the four most important Chinese celebrations. The festival takes place on the full moon of the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, which this year falls on 13 September 2019. The festivities have taken place since the Shang dynasty and surround the worship of the moon, including offerings to the lunar diety Chang'e. For over three thousand years, Chinese and Vietnamese peoples have come together for celebration, prayer, and thanksgiving at this time of year which would follow the successful autumn harvest. Major traditions of the Festival include the eating of sweet pastries called mooncakes, the lighting of lanterns often with riddles, moongazing, performances such as dragon and lion dances, and various games and activities.

The Moon Festival will be celebrated on Saturday 7 September 2019 in Melbourne's Chinatown. Locally in Glenferrie, Indomart Asian Groceries, 739 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn and Grand Laguna, 772 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn are selling mooncakes.

Yom Kippur: 8-9 October 2019

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in the Jewish religion. It is a day of fasting and prayer observed on the tenth day of the civil year in the Jewish calendar, which this year falls (approximately) between the sunset on October 8 until after nightfall on October 9. Yom Kippur marks the biblical event when Moses descended from Mount Sinai after eighty days of praying to God for forgiveness on behalf of the Israelites for sinfully worshipping a false idol, the Golden Calf.

During Yom Kippur, those of the Jewish faith abstain from eating and drinking, wearing leather shoes, applying lotions or creams, washing or bathing, and having sex - as well as not working on the holy day, which is customary within the Jewish faith (eg. Shabbat). Jewish people will spend the day in the Synagogue participating in five prayer services, extra charity and mitzvah observance, and a multitude of traditions. Yom Kippur is preceded by two meals, and the closing service is followed by the eruption of joyous song and dance and a celebratory festive meal to break the fast. For people of the Jewish faith, Yom Kippur is a solemn period reserved for the atonement of one's sins and asking for God's forgiveness through abstaining from personal pleasures and intensive prayer, an event surrounded by family and community, festivities, and celebrating the new year.

Diwali: 25-29 October 2019

Diwali (or Deepavali), also known as the Festival of Lights, is a five-day annual festival held in honour of the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. The main celebrations take place on the third day of Diwali, which in 2019 falls on Sunday 27 October. Diwali celebrates the new moon on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month, marking the transition between the dark (waning moon) and light (waxing moon) halves of the Hindu lunisolar calendar.

Diwali is one of the most popular festivals in Hinduism. It is celebrated through the symbol of light, which represents knowledge and triumph over darkness and evil. Participants dress up extravagantly for the occasion, launch fireworks, hold family feasts to share food, traditional sweets, and gifts, and decorate the interior and exterior of buildings with lights, lanterns, candles, and lamps on what is one of the darkest days of the month.

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