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Significant Events Information and 2015 Calendar



Below is a quick guide to some of the significant Festivals, religious days, anniversaries, etc for the ethnic communities.
 
2015 Calendar
link
 
[Chinese New Year] [ Mid-Autumn Festival] [Diwali] [Holi] [Ramadan] [Chuseok]
 

Maori Community

Matariki
Matariki celebrations were popular before the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, and they continued into the 1900s. Gradually they dwindled, with one of the last traditional festivals recorded in the 1940s. At the beginning of the 21st century Matariki celebrations were revived. Their increasing popularity has led to some to suggest that Matariki should replace the Queen's birthday as a national holiday.
When Te Rangi Huata organised his first Matariki celebrations in Hastings in 2000, about 500 people joined him. In 2003, 15,000 people came. Te Rangi Huata believes that Matariki is becoming more popular because it celebrates Māori culture and in doing so brings together all New Zealanders: ‘It’s becoming a little like Thanksgiving or Halloween, except it’s a celebration of the Maori culture here in (Aotearoa) New Zealand. It’s New Zealand's Thanksgiving

Chinese Communities

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is often called the Lunar New Year, especially by people in mainland China and Taiwan. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival. Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxī. It literally means "Yearpass Eve".
 
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important festivity in the Lunar Calendar. The origin of Chinese New Year is itself centuries old and gains significance due to several myths and traditions. Ancient Chinese New Year is a reflection on how the people behaved and what did they believe in the most.
 
Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbours, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, and formerly the Japanese before 1873. Outside of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, Chinese New Year is also celebrated in countries with significant Han Chinese populations, such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. In Canada, although Chinese New Year is not an official holiday, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations and Canada Post issues New Year's themed stamps in domestic and international rates.
 
Within China, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary widely. People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Food will range from pigs, to ducks, to chicken and sweet delicacies. The family will end the night with firecrackers. Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year, and receive money in red paper envelopes. The Chinese New Year tradition is a great way to reconcile forgetting all grudges, and sincerely wish peace and happiness for everyone.
 
Although the Chinese calendar traditionally does not use continuously numbered years, its years are often numbered from the reign of Huangdi outside China. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various scholars, making the year 2009 "Chinese Year" 4707, 4706, or 4646.

Mid Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, or in Chinese, Zhongqiu Jie, is a popular harvest festival celebrated by Chinese people and Vietnamese people (even though they celebrate it differently), dating back over 3,000 years to moon worship in China's Shang Dynasty. It was first called Zhongqiu Jie (literally "MidAutumn Festival") in the Zhou Dynasty. In Malaysia and Singapore, it is also sometimes referred to as the Lantern Festival or Mooncake Festival. 
The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is usually around mid or late September in the Gregorian calendar. It is a date that parallels the autumn and spring Equinoxes of the solar calendar, when the moon is supposedly at its fullest and roundest. The traditional food of this festival is the mooncake, of which there are many different varieties.
 
The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the two most important holidays in the Chinese calendar, the other being the Chinese New Year, and is a legal holiday in several countries. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date. Traditionally, on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomeloes together. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as:
  • Eating moon cakes outside under the moon
  • Putting pomelo rinds on one's head
  • Carrying brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, floating sky lanterns
  • Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang'e
  • Planting Mid-Autumn trees
  • Collecting dandelion leaves and distributing them evenly among family members
  • Fire Dragon Dances
  • Shops selling mooncakes, before the festival, often display pictures of Chang'e floating to the moon.
Qingming Festival
The Qingming Festival (Ching Ming Festival in Hong Kong), Clear Bright Festival, Ancestors Day or Tomb Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival on the 104th day after the winter solstice (or the 15th day from the Spring Equinox), usually occurring around April 5 of the Gregorian calendar (see Chinese calendar). Astronomically it is also a solar term (See Qingming). The Qingming festival falls on the first day of the fifth solar term, named Qingming. Its name denotes a time for people to go outside and enjoy the greenery of springtime and tend to the graves of departed ones.
 
Qingming has been regularly observed as a statutory public holiday in Taiwan and in the Chinese jurisdictions of Hong Kong and Macau. Its observance was reinstated as a public holiday in mainland China in 2008, after having been previously suppressed by the ruling Communist Party in 1949.
 

Indian Communities

Diwali 
Dīwali (or Dīpāwali, often written Deepavali) is a significant festival in Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and an official holiday in India. Adherents of these religions celebrate Diwali as the Festival of Lights. They light diyas (cotton-like string wicks inserted in small clay pots filled with coconut oil) to signify victory of good over the evil within an individual.
 
The five day festival of Divali occurs on the new moon between October 13 and November 14. On the Hindu calendar it is centered on the new moon day that ends the month of Ashwin and begins the month of Kartika, beginning on the 13th day of the dark half of Ashwin (Ashwin 28th) and ending on the 2nd day of the bright half of Kartika (Kartika 2nd). The main day of
celebration varies regionally.
 
In Hinduism, across many parts of India and Nepal, it is the homecoming of Rama after a 14-year exile in the forest and his victory over the Ravana. In the legend, the people of Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (dĭpa), thus its name: dīpāwali. Over time, this word transformed into Divali in Hindi and Dipawali in Nepali, but still retained its original form in South and East Indian Languages.
 
In Jainism, Divali marks the attainment of nirvana by Mahavira on 15 October, 527 BC.
 
Divali has been significant in Sikhism since the illumination of the town of Amritsar commemorating the return of Guru Har Gobind Ji (1595-1644), the sixth Guru of Sikhism, who was imprisoned along with 56 other Hindu kings at Fort Gwalior by Emperor Jahangir. After freeing the other prisoners, he went to the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple) in the holy city of Amritsar, where he was welcomed happily by the people who lit candles and divas to greet the Guru. Because of this, Sikhs often refer to Diwali also as Bandi Chhorh Divas - "the day of release of detainees."
 
The festival is also celebrated by Buddhists in Nepal, a majority-Hindu country, particularly the Newar Buddhists.
 
In India and Nepal, Divali is now considered to be a national festival, and the aesthetic aspect of the festival is enjoyed by most Indians and Nepalese regardless of faith.
 
Dīpāvali means a row of lamps (Sanskrit dīpa = lamp and āwali = row, line). In many modern languages, the popular name has shortened to Dīvali, especially in northern India.
 
Kidha is celebrated for a differing number of days by different communities. Though the core days are common and fall on exactly the same set of days across Nepal and India, they fall in different Gregorian months depending on the version of the Hindu calendar being used in the region. The Amanta ("ending on the new-moon") version of the Hindu Calendar has been
adopted as the Indian national calendar. According to this calendar, which is prevalent in southern India and Maharashtra, the 6-day celebration is spread over the last four days of the month of Ashwina and the first two days of the new month of Kartika. According to the Purnimaanta ("ending on the full-moon") version prevalent in northern India, it falls in the
middle of the month of Ashwayuja/Ashvin. In the Gregorian calendar, it falls generally in the months of October or November. In Nepal, it is celebrated according to Nepalese calendar. The festival marks the last three days and the first two days of nepalese era.
 
Ayodhya, also shown him flying in the Pushpak Vimana, the day in now celebrated as Diwali. The festival marks the victory of good over evil, and uplifting of spiritual darkness. Symbolically it marks the homecoming of goodwill and faith after an absence, as suggested by the Ramayana.
 
On the day of Divali, many wear new clothes and share sweets and snacks. Some North Indian business communities start their financial year on Diwali and new account books are opened on this day.
 
Hindus have several significant events associated with it:
Return of Rama to Ayodhya: Diwali also celebrates the return of Rama, King of Ayodhya, with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana to Ayodhya after a 14 year exile, and a war in which he killed Ravana. It is believed that the people of Ayodhya lit ghee lamps along the way to light their path in the darkness. Since Ram traveled from South India to his kingdom in
North India, he passed through the south earlier. This is the reason why the festival is celebrated a day earlier in South India.
The Killing of Narakasura: Celebrated as Narak Chaturdashi, one day before Diwali day, it commemorates the killing of Narakasura, an evil demon who created havoc, by Krishna's wife Satyabhama. This happened in the Dwapara Yuga during this time of Krishna's avatar. In another version, the demon was killed by Krishna ( Krishna provokes his wife Satyabhama to
kill Narshna defeating Indra: Govardhan Puja is celebrated the day after Diwali. It is the day Krishna defeated Indra, the deity of thunder and rain. As per the story, Krishna saw huge preparations for the annual offering to Lord Indra and questions his father Nanda about it. He debated with the villagers about what their 'dharma' truly was. They were farmers, they should do their duty and concentrate on farming and protection of their cattle. He continued to say that all human beings should merely do their 'karma', to the best of their ability and not pray for natural phenomenon. The villagers were convinced by Krishna, and did not proceed with the special puja (prayer). Indra was then angered, and flooded the village. Krishna then lifted Mt Govardhan and held it up as protection to his people and cattle from the rain. Indra finally accepted defeat and recognized Krishna as supreme. This aspect of Krishna's life is mostly glossed over but it set up the basis of the 'karma' philosophy later detailed in the Bhagavat Gita.
 
 
Holi 
Holi, also known as The Festival of Colours, is the second most important festival of India. Observed since ancient times, Holi festival - a spring festival in India - glorifies good harvest and fertility of the land.
 
Holi is also a festival of fun accompanied by folk songs and dances. People celebrate it by covering each other with colored powder, and drenching with colored water. The colorful festival bridges social gaps and differences, bringing people and communities together. Immigrant Indian communities all over the world including New Zealand celebrate Holi.
 
The main day, Holi, also known as Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing colored powder and colored water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahlad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. Holika Dahan is referred to as Kama Dahanam in Andhra Pradesh.
 
Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna (February/March), (Phalgun Purnima), which usually falls in the later part of February or March

Mankar Sankrati
Mankar Sankrati is one of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar and celebrates tge sun's journey into the northern hemisphere, a period whichis considiered to be highly auspicious.
 
Mahashivratri
Mahashivratri (also known asShivaratri) is a Hindu festival dedicated to Shiva, who destroys the universe, one of the deities of the Hindu trinity. While most Hindu festivals are celebrated during the day, Mahashivratri is celbrated during the night and day that comes just before the new moon. Each new moon is dedicated to Shiva, but Mahashivratri is especially important because it is the night when he danced tha "Tandav", his cosmic dance. It also celebrates te wedding of Shiva and Sati, the mother divine. Night represents evil, injustice, ignorance, sin, violence, and misfortune. Tradition says that Shiva, like his symbol the new moon, appeared in orderto save the world fron darkness and ignorance, before the world entered complete darkness. More on Mahashivratri

Vaisakhi
Vaisakhi (Punjabi: ਵਿਸਾਖੀ visākhī, Hindi: बैसाखी baisākhī), also known as Baisakhi, Vaishakhi, or Vasakhi) is an ancient harvest festival celebrated across North India, especially in the state of Punjab.
 
In Sikhism, it is one of the most significant holidays in the Sikh calendar, commemorating the establishment of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib in 1699, by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
 
This day is also observed as the beginning of the Hindu solar new year celebrated by people across Nepal, the Assam Valley, Kerala, Orissa, West Bengal and other regions of India. The particular significance attached to the occasion shows regional variation outside of Punjab too. In Himachal Pradesh, the Hindu Goddess Jwalamukhi is worshipped on Vaisakhi, while in Bihar, the Sun-god Surya is honoured. The festival is celebrated as Rongali Bihu in Assam, Naba Barsha or Pohela Boishakh in Bengal and Tripura, Puthandu (Tamil New Year) in Tamil Nadu, Vishu (or Vaishakhi) in Kerala, Bikhu or Bikhauti in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, Maha Vishuba Sankranti (or Pana Sankranti) in Orissa, and the Sinhalese New Year festival in Sri Lanka. Besides Punjab, Vaisakhi is widely celebrated as a traditional harvest festival in many northern states of India, such as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In many places the day is marked by ritualistic bathing in sacred rivers like the Ganges.
 
Ramadan and Eid ul-Fitr
Ramadan (also written Ramazan, Ramzan, Ramadhan, Ramdan, Ramadaan) is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, and indulging in anything that is in excess or ill-natured; from dawn until sunset. Fasting is meant to teach the Muslim patience, modesty and spirituality. Ramadan is a time to fast for the sake of Allah, and to offer more prayer than usual. During Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through selfrestraint and good deeds. As compared to solar calendar, the dates of Ramadan vary, moving forward about ten days each year. Ramadhan was the month in which the first verses of the Qur'an were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
 
The name "Ramadama" had been the name of the ninth month in the Arab world long before the arrival of Islam; the word itself derived from an Arabic root rmd, as in words like "ramida" or "ar-ramad" denoting intense heat, scorched ground and shortness of rations. In the Qu'ran, God proclaims that "fasting has been written down (as obligatory) upon you, as it was upon those before you". According to the earliest hadith, this refers to the Jewish practice of fasting on Yom Kippur.
 
Laylat al-Qadr, considered the most holy night of the year, is the night in which the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad, the "Night of the Power". Muslims believe it to have occurred on an odd-numbered night during the last 10 days of Ramadan, either the night of the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th (in Sunni thought) or the 19th, 21st or 23rd (in Shi'a thought). Ramadan ends with Eid ul-Fitr on the 1 of Shawwal, with much celebration and feasts. During the month following Ramadan, called Shawwal, Muslims are encouraged to fast for a further six days, known as as-Sitta al-Bid, or "the white six." When fasting is over, Muslims go to Mosques in nice clothes to pray the first Eid prayer. They give out presents to the young ones and greet their friends and families. They then thank God for what He has given them.
 
Eid ul-Fitr.
The Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the fasting period of Ramadan and the first day of the following month, after another new moon has been sighted. The Eid falls after 29 or 30 days of fasting, per the lunar sighting. Eid ul-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking the Fast; a special celebration is made. Food is donated to the poor (‘Zakat al-Fitr’), everyone puts on their best, usually new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends. The prayer is two rakaahs only, and it is optional (sunat) prayer as opposed to the compulsory five daily prayers.
 

Japanese Community

 

Korean Community

Chuseok - Korean Moon Festival
'Chuseok', the autumnal full moon day that fall on the 15th day of the eighth month (15 August) by the lunar calendar is one of the largest Korea National Holiday together with New Year's day by the lunar calendar as well. 'Chuseok' is probably the most anticipated festive day for modern Koreans.
 
Endless throngs of cars fill motorways and almost all institutions and stores are closed for 3-5 days because they are obligated to visit their hometown and serve their families as well as old and dead seniors in family.  Family members get together, pay tribute to their ancestors, and visit ancestral graves.  People living in cities return to their hometowns to observe Chuseok.
 
Viewing the foolmoon and making a wish is an important feature of the evening.
 
All Korean who live in New Zealand as well will meet Chuseok on 3 October this year which is calculated from the lunar calendar.  Korean community has a plan to held some festivals to celebrate Chuseok.  Chuseok has meaning of appreciation to GOD same as Thanks Giving days in Western countries. 
 
Expecially the day of the Chuseok this year is a very significant day because this date is Korea nation's dedicate day since 6,000 years.
 
Before 7-10days from the date of Chuseok, all markets are busy to sell goods like gifts including electronic and consumable, healthcare goods.
 
 

Pacific Communities

White Sunday (Samoan)
White Sunday is traditionally celebrated in Samoa on the 2nd Sunday of October. It is a day for parents and communities to acknowledge and celebrate childhood and children, and their contribution to the community. There are special programmes during church services which include scriptural recitations ("tauloto"), Biblical story reenactments, and creative dance performances. Children receive gifts (often new clothing and/or school supplies) on White Sunday and are allowed privileges normally reserved for elders, such as being the first to be served food at family meal time.
 
On White Sunday, Samoan women and children dress completely in white clothing. Some of them trim the clothes with the other two colors of the Samoan flag, red and blue. Men will wear white shirts with either white slacks or the traditional 'ie faitaga form of the lavalava. If a lavalava is worn it need not be white. White Sunday is also celebrated in Tonga.
 
White Sunday is celebrated by Samoan congregations and families throughout ethnic Samoan expatriate communities.

In the Samoan language the holiday is called "Lotu Tamaiti," literally "Children's Service" or "Prayer for Children".

 

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