March 31, 2024

A Convergence of Celebrations and Cultural Events

By Leonard Chan

Have any of you noticed or heard mention of a rare convergence of some significant celebration dates this spring?

Easter is on March 31, Qingming Festival on April 4 (Tomb Sweeping Day, ethnic Chinese observe this in many countries throughout Asia), Eid-Al-Fitr starting on April 9 in the US (the celebration marking the end of Ramadan), the Hindu New Year starting on April 9, and Passover starting on April 22.

Since a year in the Islamic calendar is approximately 354 days, celebrations such as Eid-Al-Fitr take around 33 years (my math might be a little off on this, so don’t quote me on this :) to return to around the same point in the Gregorian Calendar (the calendar used in most parts of the world). Easter and Passover are also shifting celebrations that are either in March or April. So in other words, the convergence of all these cultural and religious events within a three week period is a pretty rare occurrence.

Recently, I informed someone that there are more Muslims in Asia than in any other part of the world (62% Global Religious Landscape a report by the Pew Research Center).

I also just discovered that there are more Christians living in Asia and the Pacific Islands than in North America (13.2% of all Christians; North America 12.3%).

Of the one billion plus Hindus in the world, 2.25 million live in the United States.

In addition, there are over two hundred thousand Jews in Asia and the Pacific Islands.

So when people talk about the upcoming total solar eclipse being rare, tell them about this rare convergence of these religious and cultural celebrations that are significant to AAPIs and people around the world.