It will be difficult to ever forget April 2020 with coronavirus ravaging our nation, leaving more than 50,000 dead in its wake and more than 95% of the Country’s population under some form of a stay-at-home order. Still, April is also month with many other occasions to note, some celebrated for thousands of years.
Freedom, Resurrection, Revelation
Three major faith traditions commemorate some of their most significant events in April. The Jewish tradition recognizes April as the month for Passover, the seven-day celebration of the Jews gaining their freedom from slavery in Egypt. This celebration has occurred since at least the 5th Century BCE and remains one of the most treasured celebrations for Jewish families and congregations. In Christianity, Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ, marking the end of his earthly ministry, fulfilling many of the prophecies of the Old Testament. This celebration has occurred for around 2,000 years and remains a cornerstone of Christian beliefs. Ramadan commemorates Muhammad’s first revelation and is regarded as one of the five pillars of Islam. The tradition began in the 7th Century and remains one of the holiest events of the Islam tradition.
Celebrating Trees and the Environment
Earth Day is recognized in April, both raising awareness of environmental damage and celebrating the Earth. Originating 50 years ago due to an oil-spill, Earth Day was instrumental in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency by then President Nixon, and continues to be a notable force in raising awareness of pollution and climate change. Arbor Day is a day in April set aside to acknowledge the importance of trees and the role they play in protecting our environment. First celebrated in Spain in 1805 and in the United States in 1872, Arbor Day is a day recognized worldwide with the planting of trees and raising awareness of the value of trees.
The Significance to Today
Why acknowledge these celebrations at this time? For one, they so well represent our community, one that is diverse and welcoming, and which celebrates all that the outdoors has to offer. Another reason is that each of these have persevered through many trials and hardships. Wars, pandemics, economic recessions and depressions, and political upheaval have not ended any of these traditions. They have adapted to their times, but each have held fast to their underlying values and traditions. So, too, must we during these times. Our values of compassion, diversity, and freedom, along with our traditions of community, optimism, and perseverance must remain and guide us through these ever-changing and challenging times, just as those who have come before us. We must remain true and strong and, in doing so, we will prevail.