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The History of Religious Holidays and Traditions

Updated on August 18, 2014

Many people today enjoy religious holidays, but don't stop thinking and analyze what are traditions of holidays, and why we celebrate them the way we do. Many of today's holidays are mixed in Pagan traditions, but that doesn't discount the religion that the holiday is supposed to celebrate. If you look at history books, it's true that religious holidays use Pagan traditions so that it made Christianity, Judaism, and Islam to pagans in the 1st century A.D. These Pagan traditions got passed down generation to generation, these traditions just stuck, and no one questioned it.

On a personal note, I am a Christian, so even though I write how Pagan traditions has infiltrated many religions today, I am not knocking it. I write this article with respect for all religions, not just Christianity.

For Christianity, two holidays that are considered holy include Easter and Christmas. In reference to Easter, this holiday is a celebration of the day of Jesus's resurrection after three days of death from being crucified on the cross. The day that Passover and Easter is celebrated is not fixed on our traditional calendar each year, it depends upon the Jewish calendar. Passover takes place on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon.

The Easter tradition of decorating and hiding eggs is because in most cultures, eggs represent rebirth. Throughout the past, most eggs were dyed red, in reference to the blood of Christ. Another Easter tradition is rabbits or heirs. This started because it was a common practice for pagans to pray for fertility around early Spring. The Pagans used this holiday as a time for most women to pray to certain saints, and rabbits were used as a symbol of fertility.

For Christmas, it is celebrated on December 25 each year, which is a common tradition in many Pagan religions. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ to a virgin, but the wrong day is celebrated. According to the Bible, Jesus was born in the spring, and according to Astronomers, by referencing the stars, he was likely born in May. Another Christmas tradition is to give gifts. This tradition dates back to when the three wise man gave gifts to the infant Jesus.

One popular holiday for Muslims is Ramadan. Ramadan is a holy month in which Muslim individuals fast from sunrise to sundown. During this time, they usually eat traditional food at night, such as lemon and fig chicken or lentil soup. Another tradition would be for a Muslim family to eat dates and drink water before the sunrises so they have enough energy to endure the fast during the day.

Another holiday is the Islamic New Year. Many Muslims remember this day as the day of the migration to Medina. Traditionally, most Muslims fast during this day, and stay home from work to pray or go to Mosque. During this time, many mosques gather food for the poor, so they can come to the mosques and receive canned food and a hot meal.


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    • Alli Rose profile image

      Alli Rose Smith 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      I enjoy learning from all the different hug breeders! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Alli Rose profile image

      Alli Rose Smith 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      That's a lot of really good knowledge. Thank you for all the information!

    • shara63 profile image

      Farhat 3 years ago from Delhi

      Gud effort to peep into the aura of traditional relevance of religious holidays .....Since Christianity, judaism and Islam all are Ibrahimic in origin, their traditional way of celebration have few things in common and fasting is one of them's a good practice for the soul as well as body. ...

      Here you have quoted Ramadhan as a holiday ..its not true....Ramadhan is not observed as holiday all over the world...Ramadhan is a month of 30 day 'Fasting', which is one of the five pillars of Islam and a must for all muslims (above 11 yrs of age) . Only in some gulf countries this tradition of 30 day holiday is in practice ...and in rest of the world there is only one day holiday for the festival known as IED-Ul-FITR the day celebrated as the mark of happiness after 30 days of tough fasting of Ramadhan....Thankyou!

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 3 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Interesting hub-page that could be developed to include an explanation, for instance, as to how Easter got its name and why Good Friday is not a public holiday in Roman Catholic countries, or why until recently most people in northern Europe called Christmas Yuletide - you can still get 'Yuletide Greetings' cards in England, although it's been on the wane since the 1960's.

      Easter was a concession by the Roman Church to gain converts at the expense of the Celtic church in the north of Britain (including the then kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia). Named after the goddess Eoster, Easter was already celebrated as a rite of spring by the Angles, Jutes and Saxons in Britain. Belthane, the night of evil spirits carries on as All Hallows.

      Keep up the good work, Alli. Good start.