November: Dancing lights in the darkness

NOVEMBER 2015: As calendars turn around the world, the month of November becomes a dance of lights in the darkness.

ALL SAINTS—In many Christian communities around the world, the growing darkness in the Northern Hemisphere is regarded as opening up an especially thin place between this world and the next. Halloween is about far more than pumpkins, candies and costumes, as our story on that holiday reports. It’s part of a traditional three-day cycle of holidays recalling departed loved ones. Millions gather to remember them in services on All Saints Day and many pray for them in the afterlife on All Souls Day.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME—In the secular world, a patchwork quilt of U.S. states and other nations are flipping clocks back an hour as Daylight Savings Time (DST) ends. The whole idea of DST sparks debate and even a scattering of political campaigns over its future, as our story reports.

KRISTALLNACHT—For the millions who vow “Never Again!” in remembrance of the Holocaust, autumn brings a reminder of a different kind of darkness. Read our story about this event in 1938 that was a key milestone in the unfolding Holocaust.

DIWALI—In India, Diwali is one of the largest festivals of the year, also known as the Festival of Lights. Homes are extensively cleaned in preparation for the festival, and lighted lamps (diyas) are lit inside and outside the home. Gifts are exchanged and sweets consumed across India. For Jains, Diwali remembers the attainment of moksha by Mahavira, a Tirthankar, or spiritual exemplar. Stay tuned for our upcoming Diwali story.

THANKSGIVING—For most Americans, Thanksgiving is the brightest light in the heart of November—a gathering of family and friends (although “our neighbors to the north” in Canada already have celebrated their annual Thanksgiving feasts on October 12). One of the most delicious resources in ReadTheSpirit magazine is the weekly FeedTheSpirit column by Bobbie Lewis. Looking for some unusual Thanksgiving recipes this year? You might start by scrolling through recent FeedTheSpirit columns by Bobbie, each one with a recipeAnd stay tuned for our upcoming Thanksgiving story, as well.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING—Finally, more than 2 billion Christians around the world begin anticipating Christmas (or The Nativity, as Orthodox Christians call the holiday). Eastern Christians in a wide range of Orthodox churches begin a challenging Nativity Fast on Sunday, November 15, this year, as they prepare themselves for the celebration of The Nativity. (Of course, the Orthodox world is diverse and liturgical calendars differ.) Western Christians, including the majority of Americans, begin their Advent season on Sunday, November 29. Stay tuned for our upcoming story about the start of the Orthodox Nativity Fast and Advent for Western Christians.


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