Holidays in Judaism and Islam



  1. Purim- commemorates the deliverance from Haman's plot to annihilate all the Jews of the Persian Empire.  As described in the Book of Esther.

  2. Pesach- commemorates the Exodus and freedom of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. As described in the Book of Exodus, Passover marks the "birth" of the Children of Israel who become the Jewish nation, as the Jews' ancestors were freed from being slaves of Pharaoh and allowed to become followers of God instead.

  3. Lag B’Omer- The origins of the holiday begin with the time of Rabbi Akiva. The Talmud (Yevamot 62:2) states that 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva's students died from a mysterious divine-sent plague. The Talmud then goes on to say that this was because they did not show proper respect to one another, befitting their level. Jews celebrate Lag Ba’Omer as the traditional day that this plague ended.

  4. Shavuot- It marks the conclusion of the Counting of the Omer and the day the Torah was given at Mount Sinai. It is one of the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals (shalosh regalim) mandated by the Torah.

  5. Rosh Hashanah- rabbinic literature and the liturgy itself describe Rosh Hashanah as "The Day of Judgment" (Yom ha-Din) and "The Day of Remembrance" (Yom ha-Zikkaron). Some midrashic descriptions depict God as sitting upon a throne, while books containing the deeds of all humanity are opened for review, and each person passing in front of Him for evaluation of his or her deeds.

  6. Yom Kippur- is the Day of Atonement.  The day is commemorated with a 25-hour fast and intensive prayer.

  7. Sukkoth- is the plural of the Hebrew word sukkah, meaning booth or hut. During this holiday, Jews are instructed to construct a temporary structure in which to eat their meals, entertain guests, relax, and even sleep. The sukkah is reminiscent of the type of huts in which the ancient Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt, and is intended to reflect God's benevolence in providing for all the Jews' needs in the desert.

  8. Shmini Atzeret- literally the "Eighth Day of Assembly".  "Seven" -- represented by the seven days of Sukkot -- is the world of nature. "Eight" -- represented by Shmini Atzeret -- is that which is beyond nature.  “The Jewish people, says the Talmud, are beyond nature. We have survived every imaginable persecution, exile, hardship and expulsion. And still, we have achieved and thrived far beyond our numbers.” (

  9. Simchas Torah- means "rejoicing with the Torah". The annual cycle of reading the Torah is completed and begun anew

  10. Chanukah- The holiday was called Hanukka meaning "dedication" because it marks the re-dedication of the Temple after its desecration under Antiochus IV. Spiritually, Hanukkah commemorates the Miracle of the Oil. According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days - which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate new oil.

  11. Shabbat- which literally means "to cease," with the implication of "ceasing from work."  This clarifies the often-asked theological question of why God needed to "rest" on the seventh day of Creation according to Genesis. When it is understood that God "ceased" from his labor rather than "rested" from his labor, the usage is more consistent with the Biblical view of an omnipotent God who does not "rest."






  1. Ramadan- The ninth month of the Muslim calendar. Commemorates the month in which the Qur’an was revealed to Muhammed. Observance involves prayer and abstention from food, drink, smoking, and sex, from sunrise to sundown.

  2. Laylat Al-Qadr (27th night of Ramadan) - Night of Power. The night when the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet.

  3. Eid Al-Fitr- Feast of Fast Breaking. The three days immediately following the month of Ramadan.

  4. Eid Al-Adha- a commemoration of Ibrahim's (Abraham's) willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael for Allah.

  5. Yom Ashura- This day is well-known because of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala in the year 61 AH (AD 680). Furthermore Sunni Muslims believe that Moses fasted on that day to express gratitude to God for liberation of Israelites from Egypt. According to Sunni Muslim tradition, Muhammad fasted on this day and asked other people to fast.[1][2]

  6. Milad An-Nabi- is the celebration of the birthday of Muhammad, which muslims believe is the final prophet sent by Allah to the Earth; also known as "The Seal of the Prophets".

  7. Jumu'ah- is a congregational prayer (salat) that Muslims hold every Friday, just after noon. It replaces the dhuhr prayer performed on other days of the week.