Questions and Answers

Why does Interfaith Calendar use such a simple format?

The frantic pace of change in the Digital world needs balance to maintain stability. Religion calendars outlast any and all technologies. For thousands of years holy days of religions, due to their relationship to earth and sky based cycles, have outlasted cultures, empires, technologies and natural disasters. The Interfaith Calendars is a foundational source of information that can be built upon by a global audience. A simple format means ease of access. 

Does the Interfaith Calendar apply in the UK, China, India and other nations?

The Interfaith Calendar is widely used by schools, businesses, and religious organizations in Canada, England, Wales, Scotland and Australia. Most dates are relevant to people in the UK. The definitions may not always show holy day understandings unique to the UK. 

Statistics show an increasing usage of the Interfaith Calendar in China, India, Germany and Denmark.  

What about no work regulations as applied in various religions.

A broad outline is found at No Work regulations. This issue depends greatly on the individual region and the local leadership as well as the passion of individual persons. Several religions are quite specific in regulations.

What is Religious Fundamentalism?

This is a habit of mind within some adherents of religious communities that values above all else the return to doctrines, beliefs, and practices from a sacred era.  A particular religious identity may come to be seen as the exclusive and absolute basis of a re-created political and social identity. The primacy of religious values in social and political life is present as is a call for return to the fundamentals of a pure form of religion. 

The word “Fundamentalism” as used in the the USA and Britain comes from a series of essay written by evangelists between 1910-1915 and entitled “The Fundamentals“. The Bible is seen as absolutely inerrant and without error, an idea not shared by most Christians. 

Present public use of the words “religious fundamentalist” usually refers to extremists of any religious tradition. In Asia, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim extremists are spoken of as fundamentalist. Muslim teachers reject the use of the term fundamentalism as applied to Islam unless clearly applied to extremist and terrorist groups.  All Muslims see the Qur’an as absolutely inerrant. 

Can a person be 100% certain that the dates in this calendar are correct?

No. The variation in sources and in actual practice is huge. The user of this calendar really has to do what I do – compare sources and local usage. The fact is that we are in a time when people are inventing sacred times and changing the traditional usages. Couple this with an attempt to use media to get the word out to a wide audience and one has a recipe for confusion. That is apparently native to the worlds of religions. The nature of religion is to be out of the control of any overall authority, other than the deity as each religion understands the term.

What about a calendar that fits for the southern hemisphere?

The Interfaith Calendar has a global clientele. Primary information is based on northern hemisphere practices. The calendar is being used in various countries in the Southern Hemisphere such as South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, South America, Oceania, the South Pacific Islands. Religions such as nature based Neo-pagans celebrate their primary observances on opposite dates of the year. Other global religions follow the dates as described in the Interfaith Calendar and adjust the nature of the observances in keeping with regional seasons. There will be an Interfaith Calendar edition for the southern hemisphere when research is completed.

What is the origin of this web site approach to interfaith information? 

In 1987 a small group of Catholic, Lutheran and United Methodist people began conversation on how to respond to soon-to-be-built Mall of America in Bloomington, MN, USA. The congregations were in the immediate neighborhood of the site. The Mall Area Religious Council (MARC)  was created in order to have a multi faith voice for the community regarding a major commercial enterprise. When the Mall of America was opened in 1992 MARC began to experiment with ways of having spiritual presence in this huge Mall in the neighborhood.

MARC soon was made up of Christian, Baha’i, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Unitarian religious congregations. It was learned that accurate information about world religions is a necessity. People of this community believe in showing honor to all religious traditions and expecting that people of each religion will be open and direct about their beliefs while being willing to listen to others.

How appropriate is this interfaith calendar for use in public schools?

The United Kingdom uses religious information in the public schools more widely than some societies and this means that more creative work is being done there than in most other places.. Public schools in the US do not have a generally accepted religious calendar source. The calendar sources available appear to be commercial based and are often fragmentary and may be biased in favor of one tradition.  

How does this calendar compare with others on the internet?

This calendar includes a greater variety of dates over a longer period of time than any other religious oriented calendar on the Web. A North American cultural and religious situation stands behind the Calendar. However, contacts across the globe help to constantly broaden the Calendar. The goal is to create a truly global treasury of religious information based on sacred days. 

Why are Native American sacred dates not evident in the calendar?

Elders of traditional North American religion in Minnesota have advised that their sacred times are not for public display. Interested persons are encouraged to become acquainted with practices in their local region. Council from more native people is welcomed by the editors of Interfaith Calendar. 

How does a calendar relate to world religious trouble spots?

Whether it be Iraq, Iran, Ireland, East Timor, Yugoslavia, Pakistan, or Palestine the place of religion in violent struggles is featured news everyday. Accurate information about world religions is one way of developing respect between people. A calendar opens up a storehouse of  information about traditions. Behind the news stories are real people. We are committed to focus attention on the people and their daily lives, especially their religious observances. 

What place should sacred days have in the workplace?

In a world of growing pluralism, the religious convictions of individuals are an inevitable part of workplace life. Many employers are becoming interested in the religious practices of employees. People are gaining courage to ask for time to observe spiritual obligations. This Interfaith Calendar can be a valuable resource for both employers and employees. Accurate information about sacred times and traditions opens the door to reaching understandings that honor religious traditions and respect the necessities of the business place.

How do people use this calendar to learn about religions?

Here is an example of the email that comes.   “Hi, I just want to thank you for putting a listing of international, interfaith religions on the net. My son and daughter watch PBS and frequently will question what the different interfaith holidays represent. Your site has helped at lot!”   W.L.  San Diego, CA   7-14-99

What value is there in knowing the sacred dates of religions other than ones own?

Knowledge of religions is basic to mutual respect. A direct and private way to become acquainted with a religious tradition is to study the holy days.  The timing and types of observations display the unique characteristics of a religion. Adherents of a particular religion come to understand their own tradition better as a result of becoming informed about other traditions. Experience in presenting religions at the Mall of America gives basis for this opinion. Responding, in a public situation, to questions about  ones spiritual tradition by random visitors, creates a real incentive to be aware of other people and to put knowledge into concise words. It is becoming apparent that one of the few dependable elements of life in a world of increasing change are sacred dates. Sacred sites can be destroyed in violence or by natural calamity. Ancient and modern continuity is assured by observance of sacred times. Prophets of doom are vocal now. Sacred times give a sense of balance. Time and human life go together. Religions are here to keep the story going. 

What are the credentials of the creators of the interfaith calendar?

Delton Krueger, primary writer and editor, is related to the United Methodist denomination of the Wesleyan family of the Christian religion. Degree education is from  Hamline University in St Paul, MN, USA, and Drew School of Theology at Madison, NJ, USA. Religious leadership experience has been as pastor in rural and urban congregations in Minnesota, USA; and as regional church, ecumenical, and interfaith participant. Most recently he served as Co-founder and President of the Mall Area Religious Council dedicated to spiritual presence at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN  .   

What are sources for the dates used in the Interfaith Calendar?

Sources include printed documents and on-line sites representing the formal leadership of most religious groups – at least those who have formal organization. At least two sources are used for all dates. Errors do appear due to faulty proof reading. Viewers of the calendar provide email notice of mistakes. A heavily used resource is Religious Holiday and Calendars: An Encyclopedic Handbook   3rd Edition  Edited by Karen Bellenir / Published by Omnigraphics in 2004. A number of authenticated web sites are used. 

Why are certain dates chosen and other left out of the calendar?

The sheer number of sacred dates illustrates how religion is central to the life of most people of the world. For example: Hinduism has  sacred observances for every day of the year. Christianity has in its Roman Catholic family a number of designated saints for every day of the year.  The most widely known and accepted dates are used in this calendar.  The calendar is changed as further information is obtained. Suggestions and ideas are welcomed. When proposing a date for use, give the reasoning behind the proposal as well as sources for further research.

How can a person determine which religious calendars on the internet are reliable?

Examine various calendars to see if there is consistency in dating. If the calendar is updated with some frequency it is likely to be more reliable. Stay with a calendar for a period of time to see if it is being kept alive. This Interfaith Calendar is not perfect but it is a generally accepted standard for accuracy and reliability. Bookmark it and encourage others to do so as well. Thanks.  

Revised on November 2, 2016