Even with the threat of swine flu, the pilgrimage to Mecca on Wednesday and the pilgrimage to the mall on Friday shall continue.

Photo: Hammer51012

Sure, a lot of you know that on Thursday, most Americans will be celebrating the somewhat historically-sketchy holiday of Thanksgiving.

Although I don’t necessarily agree with the basis of the holiday, it is one of my favorites.

I appreciate the fact that it is the one time of the year we set aside to give thanks for all the little things in our lives (don’t forget, the Canadians have their own Thanksgiving, represented very lovingly in this video with Ellen Page and Justin Long). Gratitude is best served daily, but even once a year can help to see life in a different light.

But, as I was reading yesterday, Thanksgiving is only one of many spiritually-influenced holidays happening throughout the world in this jam-packed week of celebrations.

Tomorrow, Sikh’s commemorate the martyrdom of their ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur. He refused to denounce Sikhism and accept Islam when faced with death by the hands of Delhi’s Emperor Aurangzeb in the late 17th century. In memory of his resistance, Sikhs visit the Sis Ganj Gurudwara located in Old Delhi, the place where he was beheaded.

On Wednesday, Bahá’ís honor the Covenant of Baha’u’llah. This covenant outlines how to organize communities of believers. Specifically, according to the Bahá’í Faith website, the Covenant is both “a renewal of the promise of divine guidance and a system that ensures its continuance…[it] can be understood to be synonymous with the line of succession after Bahá’u’lláh.” Also celebrated on this day is the life of the founder’s son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Making the Trek

Millions of Muslims are heading to Mecca to complete Hajj (though thousands of both young and old Muslims were told to stay home due to threats around, you guessed it – swine flu).

Then on Thursday at sundown, they will celebrate the “Festival of Sacrifice,” when Abraham (Ibrahim) was told by God to sacrifice his son. He agreed to, and a voice from heaven said he could sacrifice a ram instead (I’m not sure how my alma mater would feel about that).

Saturday is a time of reflection and prayer for those of the Jains faith. According to Stephanie Fenton’s article:

Jains will meditate on the thoughts of monks, teachers, religious leaders, Arihants (enlightened masters) and Siddhas (liberated souls).

Maybe Friday would be a good day for Americans of all faiths to meditate, instead of partaking in the slightly sadomasochistic ritual of Black Friday. But what do I know?

Finally, Sunday marks the beginning of advent for Christians. Besides being allowed to eat a piece of chocolate at 7am since it comes from an advent calendar (best childhood memories ever), this process follows the four weeks leading up to the birth of me…er, I mean, Christ.

Yeah, it ain’t that great – combo presents my entire life. Oh, sorry, you were more interested in it soon being Jesus’ birthday?

Did I miss any religious or spiritual celebrations this week? Add them, or any thoughts you have, below.

Community Connection

Need a place to get a Thanksgiving dinner outside the US? Then check out 7 Restaurants Outside of The USA Serving Thanksgiving Dinner. Or if you just want to experience the feel of a traditional Turkey Day in America, read Notes of Thanksgiving in New Jersey.