A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths

Pesach Sheni (Second Passover). 30 days ago, any type of leavened bread was prohibited during Passover. These leavened chametz products included other grain-based foods such as pasta, pastries and savoury biscuits. Unleavened matzo foods with none of the extra ingredients in most breads, cakes, and biscuits were eaten with other Kosher-for-Passover foods. As well as an opportunity for the spring cleaning of the kitchen and the removal of all leavened products, Passover provided an opportunity for a careful examination of the soul, removing the unnecessary to make space for the new and then focussing on the basics and what truly matters. Pesach Sheni (פסח שני) started at sunset on 25 April, 14 Iyar, and ends at sunset today. It is a second Passover, the day to make up the prescribed Korban Pesach (Pascal lamb sacrifice) if it was missed on Passover and some Hasidic Jews conduct a seder ritual feast resembling a Passover seder. Pesach Sheni has its origins in the ritually impure and the absent not being eligible to offer the Korban Pesach. The rituals are the same but although chametz (leavened food) cannot be eaten with the Korban Pesach unlike on Passover it is possible to possess and see it and the full 7-day Ḥag haMatzot (חג המצות, Festival of Unleavened Bread) is not observed for Pesach Sheni. Image: chabad.org.

Prayer The Lord spoke to Moses saying any person who becomes unclean or is on a distant journey shall make a Passover sacrifice for the Lord in the second month and shall eat it with unleavened cakes and bitter herbs and in accordance with all the statutes connected with the Passover sacrifice. Amen

Hanuman Jayanti (Hanuman Vratam, Hanumath Jayanthi). This very significant Hindu festival from sunrise on the full-moon 15th day of the Shukla Paksha in the Hindu lunar month of Chaitra through to 27 April commemorates the birth of Lord Rama’s supreme devotee, the monkey-headed Lord Sri Hanuman. Devotees apply sindoor (turmeric powder) to their foreheads, as Hanuman’s idol is covered in orange sindoor, and visit the Hanuman temple, chant the Hanuman Chalisa devotional hymn (stotra) and recite poems (shlokas) to Lord Hanuman, offering flowers such as marigolds and garlanding Lord Hanuman’s idol with roses to appease the god. Normally, clay oil lamps (diyas) and ghee butter candles are lit and mustard oil is poured on the idol of Lord Hanuman, with the singing of bhajans, aarti and chalisa worship songs. A day-long fast is observed and various kinds of food and sweets are prepared to offer to Lord Hanuman and for mass distribution to his followers as Prasad for eating after worship. Hanuman was the 11th Rudra Vedic god incarnation of Lord Shiva, devoted his life to Lord Rama and Sita and has magical powers with which he conquers evil spirits. Image: indianexpress.com.

Holy Monday. During the Orthodox Christian Holy Monday services, the parable of the Ten Virgins who took their lamps going out to meet the bridegroom, 5 of them foolish who took no oil and 5 of them wise who took oil, is commemorated. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he proceeded to give His disciples their final instructions and the services on Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday thus share similarities and it is during these 2 days that devotees remember these teachings. Although technically Holy Week is separate from Great Lent, its services mirror those of Great Lent and are contained in the same book, the Lenten Triodion. Whereas during Great Lent each week has its own theme, during Holy Week each day has its own theme, again based upon the Gospel readings for the day. Image: latestly.com.