Learn to say “It’s sunny” in:
|French||Il fait du soleil.||
|German||Es ist sonnig.|
Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth in nature, so it is not surprising that many of the world’s religions have ceremonies and rituals to renew the spirit that occur at this time of year. In the Christian tradition, many youngsters celebrate their first communion or confirmation, marking an important step in their spiritual journey.
Here are some ceremonies from other world religions that represent important moments and milestones.
Two Buddhist celebrations occur in May: The Ploughing Festival and Veska. The Ploughing Festival commemorates the moment of young Buddha’s first moment of enlightenment at age seven. Veska celebrates Buddha’s birth, life and death on the first full moon in May. Learn more about Buddhism at Buddhanet.net.
When a Jewish boy or girl is about thirteen, they celebrate a Bar Mitzvah (for boys, or Bat Mitzvah for girls). This ceremony marks the moment when the child becomes an official follower of the commandments laid out in Jewish Law. During the ceremony, prayers are read and the child will recite portions of the Torah, the Jewish religious text. Afterwards, family and friends often attend an elaborate party with music, food, and gifts for the child.
Shinto is a Japanese religion with roots dating back to the very beginning of Japanese culture. Some consider Shintoism a way of life rather than a specific religion as the rituals and practices are so integrated with Japanese culture. Families will go to Shinto shrines to celebrate important life events such as births and weddings. One month after a baby is born, the family will bring him or her to a Shinto shrine to receive a blessing from the priest. Many wedding are also held at Shinto shrines.
In ancient Hindu practice, when a boy of the upper classes in society reaches adolescence, he takes part in the Ceremony of the Sacred Thread. He shaves his head, wears a saffron robe, and receives a thread with several strands from a guru, or spiritual teacher. The sacred thread symbolizes the connection of the boy to his youth and his devotion to Hindu religious teachings. Although replaced at regular intervals, the boy will wear the sacred thread for life.
Do you practice a special spiritual ceremony for youth? Share your traditions with us in the Comments section.