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Explanation of Holidays

Sheep were originally domesticated in the Middle East and Asia more than 10,000 years ago. As a source of not only food, but also textiles (wool), sheep were introduced and became popular throughout many regions of the world. The Romans introduced sheep into Great Britain over 2,000 years ago. Lamb was not introduced into the Western Hemisphere until the early 16th century when the armies of Spanish explorers brought sheep with them on their explorations.

Since ancient times, lamb has been regarded as a religious symbol. It was commonly used as a sacrifice, and a symbol of sacrifice in many religions including Judaism. In many countries, lamb is a traditional dish at Easter in commemoration of the Last Supper, at which it has been speculated that lamb was served. Jesus is often referred to as the "Lamb of God."

The following is an explanation of the holidays at which lamb is often served. Please feel free to suggest that the NLC include other such holidays.


Muslim Holidays

Ramadan is the ninth month of the year in the Islamic calendar. A fast, held from sunrise to sunset, is carried out during this period.

Eid-al-Fitr is a festival that ends the fast of Ramadan. In Arabic "Eid" means festival or festivity.

Eid-al-Adha is second in the series of Eid (festivals) that Muslims celebrate. Eid-ul-Adha is celebrated as a commemoration of Prophet Ibrahim's (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail for Allah.

Muharram is the first month of the Muslim year. It's first day is celebrated as New Year's Day.

Mawlid al-Nabi is a celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam.


Note: The Islamic calendar differs from the Western calendar. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, while the Gregorian (Western) calendar is a solar calendar. Therefore, while the two Eid (festivals) are always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the dates on the Western calendar vary from year to year. Furthermore, the method used to determine when each Islamic month begins varies from Middle Eastern country to country. Consequently, all dates listed are only estimates.

Jewish Holidays

Passover is a holiday beginning on the 14th of Nisan (first month of the religious calendar, corresponding to March/April) and traditionally continuing for eight days. It commemorates the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. Also called, Pesach.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. It is marked by solemnity as well as festivity.

Chanukkah is the Jewish festival of re-dedication. It is also known as the festival of lights. It is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.


Note: Jewish holidays are celebrated on the same day of the Jewish calendar every year. However, the Jewish year is not the same length as the solar year of the Gregorian (Western) calendar. Therefore, the dates shift on the Gregorian calendar.

Christian Holidays

Easter is a Christian feast commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion. The Orthodox Eastern Church calculates Easter to have occured several weeks after the dates used in the West.


Note: Eastern Orthodox Christians come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds: Greek, Russian, Egyptian, Romanian, Serbian, Ukrainian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Albanian, Ethiopian, Syrian, and American.