Celebrations and Festivals

For many participants, Inter Faith Week was a time of celebration, and a range of celebrations and festivals took place to recognise the contributions that faith communities make.

For many participants, Inter Faith Week was a time of celebration, and a range of celebrations and festivals took place to recognise the contributions that faith communities make to their localities and the impact of their coming together for the common good.

Events were held by inter faith organisations, local inter faith groups, schools, higher and further education institutions and faith communities themselves. Some events celebrated particular themes such as ‘unity’ or ‘peace’, while others saw faith communities welcoming strangers in to celebrate a particular festival or occasion.

Some events also included awards ceremonies, where those that have made a particular impact were recognised and their work celebrated.

Inter Faith Week was not only a time for discussing the problems we face and how to tackle them but also for celebrating what has already been achieved, and how best to use these achievements as a platform for future work.  

Some of the celebrations and festivals held during Inter Faith Week included:

  • An Inter Faith Council for Wales celebration, ‘Youth and the Rising Generation’ at the Cardiff United Synagogue with contributions from members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints communities.
  • The ‘Festival of Peace’ at Oddfellows Hall in Stafford, organised by Stafford and District Friends of Faith. The event was a celebration of the faith communities in Stafford, with shared food and a discussion on ‘treating others as you would want to be treated yourself’.
  • An informal, celebratory event at the Church of St Thomas the Martyr, Newcastle, where a ‘chain of lights for peace’ was formed around the church and a performance was given by a children’s choir.
  • A celebration of world faiths on the theme of ‘New Beginnings’ at West Suffolk College, Bury St Edmunds. People of different faiths and non-religious beliefs  gave short talks on the theme, and the event was attended by the mayor of St Edmundsbury.
  • The National Hate Crime Awards, held in Central London. The event celebrated the work of those that have worked to challenge hatred, intolerance and prejudice. The event was organised by Faith Matters and its Tell MAMA programme in association with Stonewall, GALOP, the Community Security Trust, the ‘No to Hate’ campaign and Stop Hate UK.
  • A ‘Unity Feast’ in Leicester organised by the Baha’i community. This celebrated the life of the community and other local faith communities and was jointly organised with the St Philip’s Centre, Leicester.
  • ‘Celebrating Faith in Our Community’, held at St Peters Church, Brighton. Organised by Brighton and Hove Community World and Brighton and Hove Interfaith Contact Group. The event was a celebration of the work of faith groups in the city. It included performances and refreshments.
  • An inter faith celebration at Blackburn Town Hall organised by Blackburn with Darwen Interfaith Forum which aimed to strengthen good inter faith relations in the community and to increase awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the area.
  • The University of Portsmouth’s ‘Festival of Light’ organised by the University of Portsmouth Chaplaincy and a range of university faith societies. The event included a quiz, storytelling and craft activities, as well as an opportunity for dialogue and discussion.
  • The ‘Light for Leeds’ celebration of unity and light at Kirkstall Abbey. The event included a walking meditation with candles and an opportunity to write a wish on the ‘Tree of Hope’. It also featured music and dance from different cultures.
  • An ‘Interfaith Friends Dinner’ organised by Waltham Forest Faith Communities Forum and Noor ul-Islam. The event celebrated the faith communities in the local area, and provided an opportunity to share food and to engage in dialogue and discussion.

To see some of the celebrations and festivals that took place to mark Scottish Interfaith Week, visit http://www.interfaithscotland.org/scottish-interfaith-week/

Published 18 January 2017