Religious Festivals

Religious Festivals.

What gifts to buy and what to eat!

Buddhist

 

Wesak: This most important Buddhist festival is known as  Vesak, Wesak or Buddha Day, and is celebrated annually on the full moon of the ancient lunar month of Vaisakhi. It is the celebration of Buddha’s birth. For Theravada Buddhists, it is also the celebration of Buddha’s enlightenment and death. During this celebration, statues are decorated, offerings are taken to monasteries and fireworks light up the sky. Gifts and presents are given and shared, especially vegan and vegetarian delights from Walnut Tree.

Dates : Thursday 8 April 2021 … Sunday 15 May 2022

Vassa: A three lunar cycle festival that happens during the rainy season when travelling is difficult It is a period of time when Buddhists used to meditate and study. At its conclusion when travelling was easier people would bring new robes to the monks in the temples.

Buddha tells us “The greatest gift is the act of giving itself” so if you’re looking to give a gift to vegetarian and vegan Buddhist friends, colleagues or relatives, then a Walnut Tree dried fruit or nut tray would be much appreciated.

Dates: Monday 6 July 2020 … Wednesday 25 July 2021

Budha
Islan Id ul-Fitr gifts, Id ul-Adha gifts

Islam

 

Islan Id ul-Fitr: This festival lasts one month and finishes when the new moon can be seen. Muslims go to their mosques to pray, visit friends and relatives, eat special foods and exchange gifts, presents and cards. It is a time of thankfulness and appreciation for Allah’s blessings which contrast with the challenging experiences of fasting during the month of Ramadan. The traditional meal to break the fasting is called Iftar and the menu comprises dried fruit , milk, dates and water. The belief is that the Prophet Mohammed ate three dates when he broke his fast.

Dates : Thursday 13 May 2021 … Tuesday 3 May 2022

Hajj: This is the pilgrimage to worship at the Ka’bah in Mecca. Muslims try to do this once in their lifetimes. Pilgrims wear plain identical clothes to symbolise that they are all equal in Allah’s eyes. Once there, they walk round the Kaaba counter clockwise seven times, walk or run seven times between two hills and then walk to Mount Arafat. On their way back they throw stones at three stone pillars which represent Satan and finish the Hajj with another seven circles around the Kaaba.

If you or your family are going to the Hajj we recommend you take along vitamin and protein rich dried fruit and nuts.
Dates : Wednesday 22 July 2020 … Sunday 11 July 2021

Id ul-Adha: If you go to Mecca or stay at home this festival is celebrated at the end of Hajj. It is traditional to eat lamb often cooked in a tangine with apricots, chicken biryani with saffron and couscous sprinkled with cranberries and apricots. And to end the feast on a delicious sweet note, cookies filled with nuts, dates or figs. These biscuits are often exchanged as gifts between neighbours and relatives.

Dates : Thursday 30 July 2020 … Tuesday 27 July 2021

Id Ul-Ghadir: This festival in celebrated in the Shia communities and marks the  anniversary of the Holy Prophet Mohammed’s completion of his final message to humankind.

Dates : Saturday 8 August  2020 … Wednesday 28 July 2021

Milas an Nabi: Marks the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad. Although not a major festival, the day is celebrated with great rejoicing with a special feasts befitting the founder of Islam. The food prepared during Milad-un-Nabi is known as Mawlid, and features the Prophet’s favourite ingredients of dates and honey. In India and Pakistan, spicy meat dishes are the usual favourites, and for dessert, Aseeda. Part of the celebrations include the telling of the stories of the Prophet’s birth, childhood, his character, manhood and his mission.

Dates : Wednesday 28 October 2020 … Tuesday 18 October 2021

Lailat al-Qadr: Translates as the Night of Power. It marks the night on which the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed by Allah. It is celebrated on one of the odd numbered nights during the last ten days of Ramadam. Special prayers are said, the Qur’an is read and angels descend to earth. Special foods are eaten including dates and sweet halva.

Dates : Sunday 4 April 2021 … Sunday 17 April 2022

Ramadan dates
easter gifts, Christmas gifts

Christianity

 

Easter: The festival of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was crucified on a Friday, by the Romans at Calvary, now know as Good Friday and three days later on what is called Easter Sunday, the Christians belief is that he was resurrected by God, as a sign of his love. Forty days (not including Sundays) are counted before Easter. This period is called Lent and represents the time Jesus spent fasting and praying in the wilderness. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and finishes on Maundy Thursday when Jesus famously ate his last supper.

It is a time of repentance and celebration and a time when families get together, give Easter gifts and share a meal with dessert being the semmel cake adorned with marzipan.

Dates : Sunday 4 April 2021 … Sunday 17 April 2022

Christmas: Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the son of God. It is primarily celebrated on 25 December as a religious and cultural celebration amongst billions of people around the world. It is a time when families get together to share a meal and give gifts and cards to family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and even pets.  The gift giving is symbolic of the presents given to Jesus by the Three Wise Men of frankincense, gold and myrrh. The traditional Christmas meal varies from country to country but often consist of a stuffed turkey with vegetables and roast potatoes, Christmas pudding, Christmas fruit cake and mince pies all made with an abundance of dried fruit.

Dates : Friday 25 December 2020 … Saturday 25 December 2021

Hinduizm

 

Diwali: Is the most widely celebrated Hindu festival. Known as the festival of lights or rows of lighted lamps, it revolves around light superseding darkness or triumph of goodness over evil, when Lord Rama won over the demon King of Lanka, Ravana. Homes, businesses and places of worship are decorated with lights and candles. A traditional banquet often of highly spiced vegetarian food is shared with family and friends and the evening of celebrations often conclude with a spectacular display of fireworks. Exchanging of gifts and presents is a big part of the celebrations, especially sweets and food hampers  as it’s thought that the giving of gifts show how much you love and honour those who you hold dear.

Dates : Saturday 14 November  2020 … Thursday 4 November 2021

Holi: The festival of colour heralds the spring in India. Holi starts in the evening with Hilika Dahan and the burning of an effigy of Holika, an evil entity from Hindu mythology, which signifies the triumph of good over evil. The evening celebrations are spent dancing to traditional folk music, singing traditional folksongs and eating food. Gifts and presents wrapped in colourful paper and colourful gifts of sweets and glace fruits are given to family and friends as a sign of love and friendship and enmity and harsh feelings are thrown into the fire. The celebrations continue with the sprinkling of coloured powder and a banquet of dishes piled high with brightly coloured foods are shared with family and friends. There is an atmosphere of joy and festivity all round. This festival is also celebrated in a similar way by Sikhs.

Dates : Monday 29 March, 2021 … Friday 18 March 2022

Indian festival gifts
Indian Festival food

Navratri and Dussehra: Navratri is a nine-day festival in which Hindus worship all the manifestations of Goddess Durga. The tenth day of the festival is known as Dussehra or Vijayadashami which celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over the demon King Ravana. During Navratri, people fast for nine days and pray for the wellbeing of their family members. Gifts of gold and silver coins are considered to be auspicious as they bring prosperity to the house of the recipient. During this time it is forbidden to eat onion and garlic however, one can eat milk, curd, fruits and nuts.

Dates : Saturday 17 October 2020 … Wednesday 6 October 2021

Krishna Janmashtami: This is a popular Hindu festival which celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Hindus fast on this day, temples are decorated with flowers and candles and prayers are said at midnight as this is when Lord Krishna was born.

Dates : Tuesday 11 August, 2020 … Monday 30 August 2021

Maha Shivratri: This festival celebrates the marriage of Lord Shiva to Goddess Parvati. Although it is considered a fast day, you are allowed to eat certain food types including nuts  and fruit. Some Hindus think that festivals not only reaffirm their faith and devotion to God, but also to provide them with the opportunity to make their lives a celebration.

Dates : Thursday 11 March, 2021 … Monday 28 February 2022

Sikhism

 

Baisakhi: The Sikh Solar New Year festival is one of the most important dates in the calendar. Not only does it mark the start of the Punjabi new year, it is also when in 1699 Sikhism was born as a collective faith. The festival begins with a visit to the gurdwara, which is a place of worship, and then after the service the day continues with singing, dancing in the streets and chanting of hymns. Traditional foods such as Kheer are eaten, gifts of vegetarian sweetmeats are given and colourful traditional clothes are worn.

Dates : Tuesday 13 April 2021 … Thursday 14 April 2022

Guru Nanak Jayanti: This festival commemorates the birth of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru and founder of Sikhism. It is a celebration of his philosophy and a reminder to his followers to remember his teachings and overcome the five vices – lust, greed, attachment, anger and pride – and to devote one’s life to the selfless service of God. Traditional vegetarian food  is prepared by the community and served with love in the spirit of service and devotion.

Dates : Monday 30 November, 2020 … Friday 19 November 2021

Maghi: This is a celebration of the end of winter, the beginning of spring and a new harvest season. The festival starts with a Guru Granth Sahib recital. The biggest Maghi festival occurs in Muktsar city where pilgrims take a holy dip in the Sarovar’s sacred waters and visit shrines. Pilgrims march in large numbers to Gurdwara Tibbi Sahib from the principal shrine to conclude the three-day long celebration. In order to sustain ones health Kheer is eaten.

Dates : Saturday 27 February 2021 … Thursday 13 January 2022

Sikhism festival gifts
Kosher gifts, Passover gifts

Passover: This is one of the Jewish religion’s most scared and widely observed festivals. It commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, on a journey from slavery to freedom. During this eight-day festival many food types are prohibited, special foods, such as matzah, are eaten and different prayers and customs are observed. It is a time of gathering for meals with family and friends. Gifts and presents are given, in particular dried fruit and nuts from Walnut Tree.

Dates : Saturday 27 March 2021 … Friday 15 April 2022

Judaism

 

Rosh Hashanah: This festival commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the festival of Yom Kippur. Special prayer services are held in the synagogue and repeated blasts from a ram’s horn, called a shofar, are shared with the community. After the services, family and friends gather to enjoy a festive meal which includes carrots  cooked in honey, apple dipped in honey or sugar and honey  cake. Honey signifies the hope that the new year will be sweet. Gifts especially food and presents are given to family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.

Dates : Friday 18 September 2020 … Monday 6 September 2021

Rosh Hashanah gifts
Sukkot festival gifts

Sukkot: This festival commemorates the time the Israelites lived in booths in the desert after they left Egypt and travelled to the Promised Land. During this eight-day festival, booths are erected in gardens, simply decorated with baskets of fruit and as many meals as possible are eaten in them. Family and friends join together to eat traditional meals that include holishkes and dried fruit compote. Gifts and presents  of food are often given to share with the host family. It is a time of joy and festivity.

Dates : Sunday 9 October 2020 … Monday 20 September 2021

Chanukah: This is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights”, celebrated with a nightly menorah (candelabra) lighting, special prayers and fried foods.

In the second century BCE, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs. Against all the odds, a small band of poorly armed Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G‑d. When they sought to light the Temple’s menorah they found only a single cruse of olive oil. Miraculously, they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be prepared. To commemorate and publicise these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. Traditionally foods cooked with oil are eaten such as latkes and doughnuts and gifts and presents of money are given, especially chocolate coins for the children.

Dates : Thursday 10 December … Sunday 28 November 2021

Tu B’Shevat: This is the ‘New Year for Trees’. The Torah forbids Jews to eat the fruit of new trees for four years after they are planted. So this festival marks the day from which to start counting this four year period. It is customary to eat 15 different types of fruits, especially ones associated with the Torah: figs, pomegranates and dates.

Dates : Wednesday 27 January 2021 … Sunday 16 January 2022

Hakunnah gifts, kosher gifts

Read more about us, our story, the Great Taste Awards we’ve won and why we have a passion for superior tasting gifts and snacks.

Walnut Tree Gifts is one of the UK’s leading packers of superior quality dried fruit, nuts and chocolate. We’ve been working in partnership with high-quality retailers since 1995. We are privileged to supply prestigious London stores, palaces, castles, stately homes, garden centres, delicatessens, farm shops, hamper companies, department stores and gift shops with corporate or Walnut Tree custom made gifts.

We’re the only company with Great Taste Awards for marron glacé, glacé fruit, dark chocolate ginger and pate de fruit, so you’re never more than a click away from some delicious delicacies. The website is open 24/7. We will despatch your order within 48 hours.

All gifts purchased included complimentary gift bags and card. Choosing a meaningful gift can be difficult – we’re always happy to offer advice. Call or email us. We pride ourselves on our excellent service.

You’ll be delighted to know that as you’re buying directly from the source, you’ll be getting excellent value for your money. And if you’re not happy with your purchase, we’ll refund or replace it.

This year, Walnut Tree is supporting Future Dreams Breast Cancer Charity with dried fruit and nuts for the care packages they distribute to patients in hospitals throughout London. www.futuredreams.org.uk

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