Not many religious holidays take place in the summer, but there are a few interesting observances coming up in the next two weeks.
July 25 is St. James the Greater Day — James is patron saint of pilgrims and Spain, and the day in his honor is observed by some Christians.
In the Bible, this apostle is brother of John, also one of the apostles/disciples. Their parents were Zebedee and Salome. James was one of the disciples Jesus encouraged to throw their empty nets onto the opposite side of their boat on the Sea of Galilee. The catch almost sank their boat.
In addition to work in Israel and the Roman kingdom, James spent 40 years sharing the Gospel in Spain after Jesus ascended to heaven. In Jerusalem, King Herod decapitated James, making him the first Apostle to die.
"The Greater" was added to his name to distinguish him from another apostle also called James. (catholic.org/)
July 25 is the Jewish observance of Tish'a B'av — Chabad.org calls Tish'a B'av "the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, on which we fast, deprive ourselves and pray." The fast day is observed on the ninth day of the month of Av, which is July 25 in 2020.
"It is the culmination of the Three Weeks, a period of time during which we mark the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem," according to the website.
The site lists multiple tragedies that befell the Jews on Av 9 through history. It also describes the fasting and other activities many Jews follow on this day of mourning.
Visit chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/144575/jewish/What-Is-Tisha-BAv.htm for details about the observance of this fast.
July 31 through Aug. 3 is the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha — This is one of the two major festivals of Islam and marks the end of the rites at Mina, near Mecca during the Hajj or annual pilgrimage that is one of the religion’s pillars. Eid is celebrated worldwide, not just by pilgrims. Muslims try to attend the pilgrimage at least once in a lifetime.
In 2020, entry into Saudi Arabia is being limited, so most foreigners cannot attend Hajj or Eid al-Adha this year. (cnn.com/2020/06/22/middleeast/hajj-pilgrimage-saudi-arabia-coronavirus-intl/index.html)
Muslims in the United States will observe Eid al-Adha. The date varies some by country because the observance is based on when the moon is sighted.
The festival marks the sacrifice by Ibrahim (Abraham) to ransom his son Ismail (Ishmael), a difference in the story between Muslims and Christians. Christians teach Issac was the son ransomed.
For a look at details and customs of Eid, visit britannica.com/topic/Eid-al-Adha and cnn.com/2018/08/21/world/eid-al-adha-tradition-celebration-trnd/index.html.
Aug. 1 is Lammas — This festival, also called the Loaf Mass, marks the first harvest of the year. Christians, Wiccans and neo-pagans observe Lammas, however, many outside of Christianity call it Lughnassad, pronounced loo’nass’ah, the Gaelic/Celtic name for the start of the season of Autumn. In the Southern hemisphere, the Pagan season Imbolc will be celebrated. This was the traditional time of the grain harvest, so many people would bake fancy loaves of bread and take them to church to be blessed. (metro.co.uk/2017/08/01/today-is-lammas-in-the-uk-but-do-you-know-what-that-is-6819690/?ito=cbshare)
On Aug. 3, some Hindus observe Raksha Bandhan — Regional customs may use a different date. Raksha Bandhan, or Rakhi, celebrates brotherhood and love. The phrase means to tie on protection. Traditionally, sisters tied a bracelet or red and gold threads, a rakhi, onto their brothers’ wrists as a celebration of this relationship. In modern times, many other relationships are celebrated, including close friendship. bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/holydays/raksha.shtml