Archive for the ‘Religious Holidays’ Category

This week is host to many holy days and holidays. Below is a list of them and their dates. Also we have included articles Faith in Focus, the Missourian and christianity.about.com written about the holy days and holidays.

Palm Sunday, March 28, 2010

Passover: March 30 – April 5, 2010

Maundy Thursday: April 1

Good Friday: April 2, 2010

Easter Sunday : April 4, 2010

Eastern Orthodox Easter: April 4, 2010

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I have recently discovered VBS.tv. It’s an interesting site that specializes in documentary style videos. Many of their pieces have been featured on cnn.com. The most recent one that have caught my attention is the “Mecca Diaries.”

These videos center around the hajja pilgrimage Muslims must make once in their lifetime to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is one of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. The first person account of the trip really intrigues me. The blunt honesty during portions of the videos is really striking to me. I hope you all enjoy these.

Mecca Diaries: Part 1 (Click on image to view video)

Mecca Diaries: Part 2 (Click on image to view video)

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The United Church of Christ in Columbia celebrated Mardi Gras with a traditional German meal on Tuesday.

The ColumbiaMissourian reported Tuesday that it was the 26th annual celebration of Fastnacht, and included traditional German foods and music from Der Deutschmeister Musickers. More photos are online.

Fastnacht celebration in Columbia

Helga Carter and her granddaughter Olivia Carter, 5, enjoy their time at the Fastnacht on Tuesday.

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Roman Catholic Origins:

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there are three different martyrs named Valentine. Two were in the clergy in Italy during the second half of the third century. The third lived in Africa. However, not much is known about him.

There are two prominent legends about St. Valentine:

  • During the reign of Emperor Claudius II it was decided that single men made better soldiers than those who where married and had families. According to History.com, Claudius II “outlawed marriage for young men.” St. Valentine continued to perform marriage ceremonies in secret for young couples. When Claudius II heard of what St. Valentine was doing, he ordered him put to death.
  • Another legend is that while St. Valentine was in prison, he befriended, or fell in love with, his jailor’s blind daughter. Before he was executed, St. Valentine wrote a letter to her, which he signed “from your Valentine.” When she received the letter, and the first Valentine ever, it is said she was able to see.


The pagan fertility festival of Lupercalia was celebrated by ancient Romans on Feb. 14 and 15.

One tradition of this festival was that all the young women would write their name on a slip of paper and place it in an urn. Young men would then choose a name from the urn. The couples would be paired together for the entire festival. Sometimes these parings lasted for up to a year or resulted in marriage.

Some suspect that the feast day of St. Valentine was placed by the Roman Catholic Church on Feb. 14 in order to “Christianize” Lupercalia.

Modern Traditions:

St. Valentine’s Day became associated with love during the 14th century. According to infoplease.com, medieval scholar Henry Ansgar Kelly placed Chaucer as the first one to connect St. Valentine’s Day with love. He wrote the poem “The Parliament of the Fowls” to celebrate a royal engagement. In it he wrote,

“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, /When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”

The correlation between love and finding a mate has continued until present. The tradition of exchanging Valentine’s has also continued and expanded to include gifts as well.



Catholic Encyclopedia


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Many Columbia congregations will observe Lent, a 40-day period of prepartion for Easter that starts with Ash Wednesday.

For a list of specific Ash Wednesday services in the community, go to our Faith Directory which  provides links to church Web sites where information can be found on service times.

The Interfaith Council in Columbia holds a Lenten Breakfast each year hosted by a different congregation each week. The meal is served from 7 to 8 a.m. each Wednesday during Lent. The first will be at First Christian Church, 101 N. Tenth St. Participants are asked to bring a donation of food that will be given to the Russell Chapel Food Pantry. The schedule for the remaining weeks:

  • Feb. 24 at Calvary Episcopal Church, 123 S. Ninth St.
  • March 3 at Columbia United Church of Christ, 3201 I-70 Drive Northwest
  • March 10 at First Baptist Church, 1112 E. Broadway
  • March 17 at First Presbyterian Church, 16 Hitt St.
  • March 24 at Second Missionary Baptist Church, 407 E. Broadway
  • March 31 at Missouri United Methodist Church, 209 S. Ninth St.

There also will be a Good Friday service, at noon on April 2, at Russell Chapel CME Church, 108 E. Ash St.

And for those seeking a new approach to this annual observance, Olivet Christian Church is hosting a film discussion on issues of race and class. The film showing and discussions will be held at the church on Sunday nights during Lent.

Tell us what you’ll be doing to observe Lent this year. Share ideas or make suggestions by adding your comment.

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Olivet Christian Church will be holding film discussions about race and class on the Sundays leading up to Easter.  The sessions will be at 5 p.m. starting Feb. 21 and ending on March 28.

Films that will be discussed include: “Grand Canyon,” “Frozen River,” The Station Agent,”The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” and “The Shawshank Redemption.”

Due to the content of the films, this series is only for adults.

The series will be held at Olivet Christian Church and is free to the public.

For more information please go to the Columbia Missourian or Olivet’s Web site.

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Each language has its own sound, and each sound makes perfect sense to a native speaker. However, issues often arise when trying to translate one language to another. Often mistranslations abound and texts are translated, re-translated and re-translated but still errors can be found. One issue may be that some sounds from languages cannot be accurately translated into English. One of these languages is Hebrew.
There are two more days left in Hanukkah (or is it Hanuka?) and some of you may have noticed that there is more than one way to spell it.

Classical Hebrew translates closer to Hanukkah than modern Hebrew, which uses Chanukah. It’s all because the Hebrew letters that spell out the holiday are pronounced differently in classical Hebrew than in modern Hebrew. The “Ch” was adapted at the beginning of Chanukah because the first letter, in modern Hebrew, sounds like “ch” in loch.

Robert Siegel from NPR spoke to Rabbi Daniel Zemel in Dec. of 2005 about this very subject. In the interview they discus the phonetic ways people try to use to translate Hebrew into English.

In the end, no matter how you spell it, it is still the festival of lights. So happy Hanukkah or Chanukah or Khanukkah to you all.

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