The word “holy” means, “dedicated to (a) god”. Therefore, in common English language one may speak of holy places, holy days, holy books, etc.
Example of holy days:
In ancient Greece of the Hellenistic Empire, the first day of the week was called the day of the Sun, Sunday. Hellas, the Sun was the chief symbol of God, or the chief God for most people. The empire was dedicated to Hellas, viz the Hellenistic Empire. Sunday was a holy day dedicated to the chief god, Hellas. Monday, was dedicated to the Moon god and so the week went along, each day dedicated to another god. Being pragmatic people, and very much in tune with reality, the Greeks also dedicated a day to the naughty side of life. On that day, they celebrated the Satyr by getting drunk, getting in trouble with the neighbour’s wife, and allowing slaves freedom to revel in boisterousness and letting their hair down.
Do we celebrate Christmas and Diwali?
We do celebrate Christmas but we dont participate in all the ritual (we dont shop till we drop, and we dont shower gifts upon people). We enjoy family dinners with our non-Christian friends and Christian friends who don’t have family they can be with. Christian homes are traditionally closed to people outside of the family, therefore Wayists have a lot of guests and a great meal. We will have a tree and $5 gifts if there are children because little one’s should not feel left out of mainstream society. Many Wayists volunteer to work Christmas shifts so that Christians can be with their families. Diwali is special to us. As with Christmas, we identify with the reason for celebration. Because Hindus are so good at hosting festivals, we try hard to have Hindu friends and always hope to be invited even though many dont serve alchohol. There are many Buddhist festivals that are not to be missed. They often celebrate with beautiful colours and amazingly sensuous food.
Wayists know that every day is holy. We experience the Presence of the Divine every day, several times per day.
Nevertheless, we do have special remembrance and ritual days, mostly festivals. These days help to refocus us, to realign us on the Way. These days are not holy per se, but they become holy because we make it so. We celebrate sometimes in contemplation, sometimes in joy, and often in revelry with friends and family but always in increased mindfulness of the presence of the Divine in all things. We celebrate life with all our heart and our whole being.
Wayist tradition always held that Iesous’s human birth took place in the month of September, but we never celebrated the event. Wayists celebrate the event that happened in the Heavenly Council, when the heavenly Father blessed the Lord, bestowed upon Him the title of Avalokitesvara, and proclaimed that He and his angels descend to our realm to remain with sentient beings until all have achieved enlightenment, or in other words, until all are reborn as spiritual beings. We learned about this, the most magnificent event in human history, during the 2nd 4th Buddhist Council in Kashmir in the year 78AD as it was announced in the Lotus Sutra.
According to tradition, the 2nd 4th Buddhist Council formally started in April and ended in September. For that reason, we always held the September equinox as a rememberance day. This is the most important rememberance festival in Wayism. It is celebrated over two days; starting sunrise the day before the equinox, ending sunset the day of the equinox. Employers are most unhappy when the equinox falls on a Wednesday.
How do we celebrate the September equinox festival?
We are children of the Light. The Lord is our Light on the Path. We strive toward enlightenment. We celebrate the knowledge that all sentient beings will fulfill the purpose of life and be elightened. We give thanks to Heaven for making the Lord available to us.
Start the first day going around to many different places to leave (appropriate!) food for our neighbours so thay can all join us in celebrating this special event. Part of the fun of this is to learn who they are, where they live, and what they eat. Preperations start long before. Take the family on a drive to parks, rivers, streams, etc. Become aware again of all the other species with whom we share this precious space. Some Wayists work at nature conservancy and campaigning for more green space in cities. Many Wayists donate town and city lots to their local Wayist society or the City to be turned into parks, mostly for the benefit of our neigbours.
Picknics are popular getogethers for families to enjoy nature and sharing space with other species. Share with those who have less or rely on handouts. A common joke about this time of the year is that we even feed our plants dessert during the festival.
The theme is Light.
Food: Yang-style sunshine food includes lots of fresh vegetables, nuts, and fruit. Yin-style desserts, especially moon pies (Chinese moon pie, Hindu Gujiya moon pie, Samoan half moon pie). See Lifestyle and Recipes for more information.
Home shrine and Temple shrine: Dress the altar with yin-dark and yang-light colours. Fresh fruits to be consumed afterward. Fresh bright flowers. Tanghka Fascilitator of The Way
Main focus on: Avalokitesvara
An equinox occurs when the hours of days and nights are almost equal; when the duration of night equals that of daytime. From this point forward things change; seasons change and days become shorter or longer depending on your location.
March equinox usually falls on the 20th or 21st. It marks a worldwide change in living conditions for all beings from ants to humans to fish, lizards and birds.
We strive for equanimity of mind that allows angels to communicate with our souls, but we acknowledge that change is inevitable. During this festival we keep ourselves more aware of how the changes affect our neighbours on this planet. While some communities plant flowers and feed squirrels and geese, communities in another hemisphere store food and prepare for times when humans and animals alike will need access to resources. Both sides do beautiful and spiritually enriching celebrations.
The theme is Equality of all beings, awareness of neighbours and sharing of resources.
Food: Salted fish, lettuce, and onions. Pickles and preserves. Fish soups and curried fish.
Home shrine and Temple shrine: Light pastel colours
Main focus on: White Tara
On the June solstice, we celebrate the shortest day and longest night in one hemisphere and the shortest night and longest day in the other hemisphere. From this day forward, the cycle starts to reverse, and things change. Nights become longer in one hemisphere and shorter in the other. Growth cycles of plants change, animals know to start breeding or to start fattening up for the season when food becomes scarce. People change as they adapt. It is a time of change and reversal.
We celebrate and embrace change. Change is what makes life eventful, rich and worth living. Change is good for the soul and may bring discomfort or comfort to the mind, but it remains good for soul growth. Some fear change, some pray for it, some beg for it.
We give gifts of poetry about changes in lives, changes in seasons, and the inevitable, blessed, eternal cycle of change that soul beings are living on so many levels. It is a time for increase indulging in mysticism.
Wisdom is a feminine, Yin, concept. We honour the female aspect of the universe, in all things. Contemplative.
The theme is Wisdom results from living the ever-changing life.
Food: Sweet and sour
Home shrine and Temple shrine: We honour the silent, background figure known to us as the outpourer of wisdom, the “holy spirit” (Christian term). Oblations of low light, dark candles, moonlight, dark brews and deep rich wines.
Main focus on: Mahasthamaprapta
This period is the most celebratory of Wayist times because up to four different festivals are celebrated over a ten day period. First comes December Solstice celebration (22 Dec), which for many is followed by celebrating Christmas (25 Dec) with Christian friends or opening your home to non-Christian friends or other persons likely to be lonely on that day, which is followed by the Celestial New Years Eve celebration (31st Dec), which is immediately followed by New Years Day celebrations.
On the December solstice we celebrate the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night for some and the reverse for others around the world. It is a time of contrasts, opposites and hope. It is the first festival day in a series of spiritually important festivals that will continue to the next year.
We embrace the awareness of the ever-approaching end of things, as all things come to an end. We get the boxes of decorations out for the festive season and we take time to ensure that those beings with whom we share space in our yard, our city and towns are being cared for appropriately. In predominantly Christian communities we reach out to people whom we know may be lonely on Christmas day, and we invite them over for lunch and dinner on that day.
We renew our awareness of the significance and presence of our Father in Heaven in our lives, and we resolve to imitate the giving, caring and loving aspects of our Lord.
This is an event for family and friends to be together in peace.
The theme is Opposites, renewal and reversal
Food: Piquant foods. Not pungent, not tamas, just piquant and delightful. A taste sensation and food appreciation day.
Home shrine and Temple shrine: Sukhavati Dharani. Namo Amitabha.
Main focus on: Amithaba
December 31 is a very day and night. It brings in the end of the Gregorian calendar year but more importantly, it is the end of the Celestial Year and the beginning of a new one. At mid night (not midnight), which is midway between sunset and sunrise, Sirius reaches its highest point on the sky’s dome. This event comes once every year. The Sukhavati New Year begins with Sirius’ culmination at the mid night hour (usually around 10 o’clock, depending on your location).
Sukhavati New Years Eve celebration is an ancient tradition going back about 4,000 years. At mid night on December 31st, Celestial New Years eve, Home is at its highest point in the sky. We watch, wish upon the star, get homesick and resolve to try harder next year. We will get there if and when we learn to live full and authentic lives—we strive for that. It is a glorious and nostalgic evening.
On January 4th, earth had moved closest to its sun and that marks the true beginning of the new celestial year as Sukhavati starts to move down again, handing over its reign in our sky to our sun, only to watch from afar, only to return next New Years Eve to attend with us the Sukhavati Festival.
The festival starts around noon and continues to the final hour when our star is at its highest point in the sky (usually around 10 o’clock). We give gifts of poetry and beautiful songs. We long for the peace and beauty of the spiritual world and we soften our hearts.
The theme is Warm, poetic, reminiscent of beauty and nostalgic.
Food: Warm and spiced wines and rums. Rum cakes and pastries, and wine-marinated dishes.
Home shrine and Temple shrine: Splendorous white light. Sukhavati Dharani.
Main focus: Sukhavati
January 1st is the day of the Calendar New Year and the Naughty Festival. It is the festival that kickstarts the wheel of samsara to continue turning. Ancients believed that the measure by which you indulge in the rites of the festival determines the measure by which the wheel of samsara will turn for you. Neglect your festive duties and the status quo may maintain but no guarantee that it will get worse. Fulfill all your duties and celebrate with all your might, and the wheel of samsara turns like a well oiled machine; you can expect exciting new changes.
On January 1, things are properly upside down. Saturday, the day of the naughty satyr is a mini celebration of January 1 when we ring in the new year with the major celebration of turning things upside down, letting go for a few hours of the conventions and restrictions of society.
New Years Festival is a little bit of a Saturnalia. Anything goes as long as it contributes to a great mood-lifting festival. We say good bye to last years sorrows, we reminisce, we revisit our failures and laugh as we learn from mistakes; to help everyone learn people are teased and not allowed to forget or let slip under the radar their idiosyncrasies and their failures. After sunset, we don’t talk of that anymore. We talk about great new things, past success, hopes for the following year. We forget last year’s sorrows and move on richer and better off for the experience of the year that was. We are excited about the possibilities that the new year brings and we resolve to make full use of them, to experience life and live full and authentic lives. Fine brews and distilled alcoholic drinks are popular during New Year Celebrations.
The theme is Renewal, new starts, and the colour light green
Food: Baked dishes like pies, roasts and puddings are popular in the northern hemisphere while BBQ fish and beef with potatoes and dumplings are popular in the southern hemisphere.
Home shrine and Temple shrine: Colour light green and light salmon.
Main focus: Green Tara