The month of March in the part of the country that NPRC calls home can feel like a drag. Normally, snow has been falling for months, temperatures are cold, it gets dark early, and dog’s paws are at a disgusting point somewhere between soaking wet and eternally muddy when returning from outside. Everyone is ready for spring to come, and they are counting down the days to when they can put their winter clothes away and bring out their spring and summer wardrobes. Regardless of all the cabin fever and the madness that March can cause, there are brighter, longer days ahead, including many important days and causes that NPRC’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee are highlighting throughout March.
Purim (March 6, 2023)
Celebrating the Defeat of Haman’s Evil Plan
The holiday of Purim has been celebrated for many centuries by our Jewish communities. This holiday is celebrated because of the bravery of Queen Esther of the former Persian Empire. A practicing Jewish woman, the queen found out that a court official named Haman was planning a mass execution of Jewish people. With the official religion of the Persian Empire being Zoroastrianism, Haman was planning an anti-sematic attack on all those practicing Judaism because he felt disrespected by a practicing Jewish man named Mordechai, the cousin of Queen Esther and the man who instructed her to not reveal her faith to the king. Luckily, Queen Esther found the courage to alert her husband, King Ahashverosh, of both her faith and Haman’s intent, a move that saved the practicing Jews of the Persian Empire.
In the Jewish faith, fasting is believed to be a powerful measure. It was something Queen Esther did and encouraged her fellow Jews to do for three days prior to alerting her husband of Haman’s intentions. Today, Purim is celebrated with a daylong fast before the celebrations begin. Feasts, parades, performances, and readings from the Book of Esther in the Bible bring people together to celebrate squashing Haman’s evil plan in remembrance that there are some special days ahead.
Holi (March 8, 2023)
A Fresh Start in the Hindu Lifestyle
Holi has been celebrated since the 4th century and is known in the Hindu lifestyle that salutes good over evil and surviving another winter. The origins of this holiday are disputed, but what is known is it started in South Asia and is now celebrated in many parts of the world. It is believed that this holiday is one that came to be because of the bravery of Prahlada, son of King Hiranyakashipu and nephew of Holika. King Hiranyakashipu was so evil that he was plotting to kill his own son because of his refusal to not worship him as a god on earth.
In order to execute his son, King Hiranyakashipu requested help from his sister Holika to trick Prahlada to step into a fire with her because she was supposed to be immune to fire. After successfully having Prahlada step into the fire, she set it ablaze. To people’s surprise, it was not Prahlada who was killed, but Holika instead. It is believed that because of his strong faith in Vishnu, the god of preservation, he looked over him and helped him to survive. Later that day, legend says Vishnu appeared and killed King Hiranyakashipu. Now knowing this story, we see how the “good over evil thoughts” began and how the name “Holi” was derived out of the name Holika. More importantly, these events meant a fresh start for Hindu’s all the way back in the fourth century, with this meaning still holding strong today as people look forward to all the wonderful things that the springtime brings.
Today, a large pyre is lit on the evening of Holi to celebrate the good heart of Prahlada and this evil regime being removed from power. People also flood the streets and throw colored paints at one another, with each of these colors taking on a specific meaning. Feasts cap off the day spent together, with desserts being commonly distributed between neighbors and friends.
Ramadan Begins (March 23, 2023)
Sacrifice Towards a Bigger Cause
In the Islamic faith, Ramadan is celebrated as an entire month of fasting celebrated in the ninth month of the Muslim calendar between appearances of the crescent moon. Interestingly, this is a celebration that follows a 33-year cycle, meaning Ramadan begins 10 to 12 days earlier each year and is not celebrated consistently on the same days or month. In this denomination, believers say that God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad the Qurʾān, Islam’s holy book, “as a guidance for people to live by.
During Ramadan, followers fast and closely follow Quran moral practices from dawn to dusk. After the sunset prayer, people gather in their homes or mosques to break their fast with a meal called ifṭār. This fasting improves people’s physical and mental well-being and helps them break unhealthy habits they may have developed in their lives. Through these sacrifices, brighter days are ahead for people, and it helps them to stive for a brighter, more disciplined future.
Noting Causes to Support in March
March is also filled with many month-long celebrations that strive to improve the lives of many around the world. Causes and themes such as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Ethnic Equality Month, Gender Equality Month, National Colon Cancer Awareness Month, National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness and Education Month, and National Kidney Month are all celebrated this month to educate people and raise funds to help people in need.
NPRC is here to help people ensure that there are brighter days ahead for themselves and their families. Being a college student can truly feel like madness sometimes, but in the end, earning your degrees, certificates, and credentials will be a powerful addition in your life. Are you ready to learn more about NPRC? We hope you will join us!
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