Eid Al Adha

Eid Al Adha

Every year Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha (June 17), the Feast of Sacrifice. It is considered to be one of the most significant holidays of the year and is celebrated for one to four days, depending on regional cultural norms. Eid al-Adha marks Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Ishmael, his son by Hagar. God, however, seeing Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, provided a ram to sacrifice in Ishmael’s place. 

Muslim families remember Abraham’s willingness to serve God by slaughtering a costly animal — a sheep, goat, cow, or camel. The animal is divided into thirds; one-third is kept for one’s own family, one-third for friends and neighbors, and one-third is given to the poor. 

Join us in prayer for Muslims during Eid al-Adha:

  • Ask God to show Muslims that He provided the ultimate sacrifice for us, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29b)
  • Pray that Muslims will understand Jesus’ sacrifice. “People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” (Romans 3:25b)
  • Pray the Good News of Jesus’ sacrifice will be joyfully shared among family, friends, and neighbors, producing a wave of new followers of Jesus Christ.

LEARN ABOUT OTHER FESTIVALS AND HOLIDAYS

VESAK
The celebration honors Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. Many believe that … LEARN MORE

THE NIGHT OF POWER
…the night when Mohammed is thought to have begun receiving the … LEARN MORE

THE FESTIVAL OF COLORS
… bright, powdered pigments that are a trademark of this festival… LEARN MORE

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

This year, Chinese New Year (CNY) begins on Saturday, February 10, marking the new year’s arrival (on the traditional Chinese calendar) for nearly one-sixth of the world’s population. The whole celebration lasts 16 days, from New Year’s Eve through the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the new year. For a portion of those days, nearly 1.4 billion people return to their family homes, making it the largest annual migration of people on earth.

Once home, families usher in the New Year by eating a family meal together, honoring their ancestors with offerings, exchanging gifts of money, and generally welcoming good fortune into their lives for the upcoming year.

The reunion meal, eaten on the Eve of Chinese New Year, is considered to be the most important meal of the year. Before the meal begins, the family honors their ancestors by offering food and lighting incense. Then the family enjoys many symbolic foods, which, when consumed, are believed to ensure a happy, healthy, and prosperous year. On the stroke of midnight, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits and bad luck. Many cities have huge public displays, but some families and businesses also have private ones.

Liberal use of the auspicious color red also courts good fortune in the new year. Red lanterns, banners, couplets, and symbols decorate businesses and homes. Red clothing is a must and is thought to protect people and bring good luck and fortune.

Giving money in bright red packets is a way to pass on good luck. Children delightedly receive the envelopes from family members and close friends. Married people pass these packets to their single friends, and businesses often give them to their employees and loyal customers.

During this time, people adhere to many rituals and taboos. There is to be no cleaning of the home, laundry, or even oneself on New Year’s Day. To do so would be to sweep or wash good fortune away, ensuring a difficult year. One should not use sharp objects such as knives, get a haircut, break anything, say unlucky words (“death” or “sickness”) or do anything taboo that could cause good fortune to leave the family.

Please pray that people would realize that wealth alone can blind one to their true state of being. As Revelation 3:17 says: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.”

HOW CAN WE PRAY:

  • Pray that Beyond field workers would be ready to engage those celebrating CNY with the truth of the gospel.
  • Pray that the seeds sown during this time will find fertile soil and will take root, and pray that those who hear will come to know that life in Christ is the best choice they could ever make.

 

Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong or Loi Krathong (ลอยกระทง), also known as Thailand’s Festival of Lights, is one Thailand’s biggest festivals. This year, it will take place on November 27th. This traditional Siamese festival has been celebrated annually for generations, to pay respect to the Goddess of Water and seek forgiveness from her. Nowadays, Thais celebrate it as a way to get rid of negativity and welcome good fortune in the coming year.

The word Loy means “to float” and Krathong translates to “basket” or “boat.” A krathong is a small, decorative float made primarily from banana leaves, traditionally resembling a lotus flower or small boat. The krathong is customarily adorned with candles, flowers, incense sticks, small offerings, and coins.

The floating krathongs carry the hopes, wishes, and gratitude of individuals as they navigate rivers, lakes, or canals during the festival. While not a public holiday, it is celebrated nationwide. 

Thai people begin the festival by making their krathongs at home with friends and family, although these days many buy them from local shops.

At dusk, people gather near rivers, lakes and canals with their decorated krathongs. They light candles and incense before gently releasing the krathongs onto the water. This symbolizes the release of negativity and honors the water spirits. It is believed that if the krathong remains lit until it disappears from sight, it will bring good luck for the following year.

Ways to Pray for the Thai People during this Festival:

  • Pray that Thai people worldwide would come to know the true Light of the world, Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for missionaries working among Thai people, that during this festival the Holy Spirit will guide them to people of peace who can open their homes and families to learn about the God who gave His life for them.
  • Pray that Thai people would know the freedom that only Jesus can bring.

LEARN ABOUT OTHER FESTIVALS AND HOLIDAYS

THE FESTIVAL OF COLORS
… bright, powdered pigments that are a trademark of this festival… LEARN MORE

VESAK
Vesak is considered to be the most important Buddhist  … LEARN MORE

THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
A celebration of light triumphing over darkness … LEARN MORE

Dussehra

Dussehra

Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami will be celebrated on Tuesday, October 24th. It is the final day of a Hindu festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil, generally marking Lord Rama’s defeat of the demon king Ravan.

Different parts of India celebrate Dussehra in different ways. Scenes from Rama’s life might be enacted, grand processions may take place or effigies of Ravana burned.

For some Hindus it is a very religious holiday; for some it isn’t. Hindu families who celebrate Dussehra in a religious fashion commemorate it with the worship of idols, objects of prosperity, and weapons.

Another common religious duty is fasting – though only the women fast. There is not one set way to fast; some will fast all daylight hours, some might only fast garlic and onions. 

Many Hindus feel the pointlessness of following empty customs. They feel the hypocrisy of oppressing their neighbor while observing supposedly meaningful religious traditions. It has been reported that many are actually becoming atheists.

Let us pray that those truly desiring to connect with God will meet the God for whom there is no idol. Pray that they come to understand that it is by mercy and lovingkindness and truth (not superficial ritual) that wickedness is cleansed from the heart. [Proverbs. 16:6]

LEARN ABOUT OTHER FESTIVALS AND HOLIDAYS

THE FESTIVAL OF COLORS
… bright, powdered pigments that are a trademark of this festival… LEARN MORE

THE NIGHT OF POWER
…the night when Mohammed is thought to have begun receiving the … LEARN MORE

RAKSHA BANDHAN
Rakhsha Bandhan is an annual Hindu festival celebrating the …
LEARN MORE

Rakhsha Bandhan

Rakhsha Bandhan

Rakhsha Bandhan is an annual Hindu festival celebrating the special bond between brothers and sisters or unrelated persons with a similar familial bond. “Rakhsha Bandhan” is a Sanskrit phrase translated as “the bond of protection, obligation, or care.”  In the main event of this festival, sisters tie a “rakhi” (amulet) around the wrist of their brother for his protection and then feed him a sweet treat. Brothers then give a gift and a sweet in return. 

This interchange also symbolizes the responsibility a brother has in protecting and caring for his sister throughout her lifetime. In rural areas where women marry outside of their villages, they are allowed to return home for this ceremony, and their brothers will sometimes escort them as they travel. It is common for brothers to be the official intermediary between their parents and their sisters’ married homes. In 2023, this festival falls on Wednesday, August 30th.

Let’s pray for Hindu peoples around the world:

  • Pray Hindus would accept the call to live in freedom through Christ Jesus and that siblings would model themselves after Jesus: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” 1 John 3:16,18
  • Pray that brothers’ and sisters’ love for one another would reflect Romans 12: 9-10.Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
  • Pray for siblings to embrace Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

 

LEARN ABOUT OTHER FESTIVALS AND HOLIDAYS

THE FESTIVAL OF COLORS
… bright, powdered pigments that are a trademark of this festival… LEARN MORE

THE NIGHT OF POWER
…the night when Mohammed is thought to have begun receiving the Quran … LEARN MORE

THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
A celebration of light triumphing over darkness … LEARN MORE