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Ethnic Holiday Calendar

Ethnic holidays factor significantly in the demand for sheep meat (lamb and mutton) and to a lesser extent for goat (chevon, cabrito). The type (size, sex, and condition) of the animal desired by particular people at particular holidays varies. The following table gives the dates of various ethnic holidays for the next five years (2021-2025).


Explanation of 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. It concludes the Hajj and is a three-day festival recalling Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son (Ishmael) in obedience to God (Allah). Muharram is the first month in the Muslim year. Its first day is celebrated as New year's Day.  Mawlid al-Nabi is a celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

While the two Eid Festivals are always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Western calendar (the Gregorian calendar) varies from year to year due to differences between the two calendars, as the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar. Furthermore, the method used to determine when each Islamic month begins varies from country to country. Dates listed are only estimates.

Muslims come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including African, Arab, Asian, and American.

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, commemorating 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 rededication, also known as the festival of lights. It is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.  Jewish holidays are celebrated on the same day of the Jewish calendar every year, but the Jewish year is not the same length as a solar year on the Gregorian calendar used by most of the western world, so the date shifts on the Gregorian calendar.


Christian holidays


Easter is a Christian feast commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion. Western Christian churches and Eastern Orthodox Christian churches uses different calendars (Gregorian vs. Julian) to determine the date of Easter. Sometimes, the two Easters fall on the same day. Sometimes, they are more than a month apart.

Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. The holiday is generally observed on December 25.

Orthdox Christians celebrate Christmas (Epiphany) on January 6 in the Gregorian calendar.

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

This article was written in 2010 by Susan Schoenian.  The calendar was updated 11.25.2020.

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