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International Religious Holidays and Observances I

When it comes to international holidays and observances, many center on commemorating religious events or people. From saints to the accomplishments of religious leaders, the holidays and observances mentioned in this article are associated with Persian, English, and Mormon culture.

Naw Ruz , Persian

Also referred to as Now Ruz or NouRooz, the Persians celebrate Naw Ruz as a national festival that marks the Iranian New Year. What makes Naw Ruz different from a lot of other festivals in Persia is that it doesn’t belong exclusively to one religious affiliation. When determining the date of the festival, the solar calendar comes into play. The celebration starts on the first day of spring, and lasts for 13 days. During this time, celebrators rejoice and use this period as a time of renewal. No one is certain where the origins of Naw Ruz can be traced. Some believe that the festival has roots linked to King Jamshid , a legendary figure who is known for triumphing over a host of demons. Others see the celebration has being connected to a fertility cult associated with ancient Near and Middle Eastern regions.

St. George’s Day , England

The celebration centered on the patron saint named George takes place in many different nations, kingdoms, countries and cities. The observation of the holiday is often slated for April 23, which is the traditionally accepted date that St. George died in 303 AD. However, the Eastern Orthodox Old Calendarists use the Julian calendar as the basis of their celebration of the festival on May 6. Countries that celebrate St. George’s Day include England, Portugal, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, and Serbia. Typical ways to celebrate St. George’s Day is with fireworks, parades, as well as wearing red and white.

Pioneer Day , Mormons

Also known as the Day of Deliverance, Pioneer Day is an official holiday that the state of Utah celebrates on July 24. Regional celebrations may also take place in surrounding states that were originally settled by Mormon pioneers. The entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers on July 24, 1847 into the Salt Lake Valley is commemorated on this day. Celebrations may include fireworks, parades, rodeos, and other events.

On Pioneer Day, some offices and businesses close. It is also not uncommon to see members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) celebrating the day by walking parts of the Mormon Trial or reenact entering the Salt Lake Valley. Latter-day Saints throughout the United States will also celebrate with songs, dances, and other pioneer-related activities.