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Religion and religious festivals

Things to consider

  • Consider religious festivals and celebrations when planning deadlines and events. It may not always be possible to avoid deadlines falling at these times, but helpful if this can be a consideration.
  • It is good and inclusive practice to be aware of religious festivals and cultural celebrations and to acknowledge them. For example; at the start of a lecture you may say Eid Mubarak or Happy Hannukah.
  • It is important to not make assumptions about students’ cultural and religious beliefs and rituals.
  • Be aware that students and colleagues may have spiritual beliefs that do not align themselves to religious traditions, such as paganisms or other new religious movements.
  • There is a variety of identities and expression among all religious traditions: a view held by one person may not be shared with another identifying with the same group.
  • Not all expressions of religious or spiritual identities are visible or marked by way of appearance or dress.
  • Some religious festivals may fall during term time, and reasonable accommodations may need to be made.

Religion impacts upon everyone’s lives. It is part of society, culture and politics, and it plays a role in shaping events nationally and globally. Irrespective of whether an individual is religious or not, the ability to engage with religious individuals or matters of religion needs to be taken seriously by everyone in a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Student feedback indicated that students would like to see greater diversity in the celebration of religious festivals and events, and catering.

We need to recognise other religious festivals beyond Christmas

Edge Hill University student

We have included calendar of different religious celebrations and festivals and some considerations for both students and staff when planning deadlines for academic work, catering menus and events.

In this video, Edge Hill University students talk about what they want staff to know in order to better support Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic students at university.

Religious expression refers to the different ways that people choose to express their religion to others. People choose to express their faith outwardly in many ways. This can be done through wearing certain clothes or displaying symbols. For example, Christians may wear a crucifix as an item of jewellery.

Religious and spiritual expressions are rich in the use of symbols. It is through actions, words and objects that religious believers express their religious identity. Religious traditions are sometimes also associated with certain types of dress. However, this is not always the case, and how someone dresses can be a matter of personal taste or fashion.

In many religions, people are required to dress modestly. This is often rooted in sacred texts or traditional practices. For example, many Muslim women wear a hijab or veil to protect their modesty. Jewish men may wear a kippah or a black hat to cover their heads.

Not all religious people choose to do this and in the UK one has the right to choose. Religious clothing and expression are always a matter of personal choice.

The religious and cultural festivals calendar is available for staff to use when planning.

2021 religious festivals – Resources – The Inter Faith Network (IFN)

Things to consider when planning are:

  • Consider that staff and students may wish to have time with family to celebrate significant religious events in the calendar.
  • Times that some staff and students may be Fasting such as Ramadan and Lent. Consider deadlines for assignments, or late classes and how this may affect students and staff who may be Fasting where possible.
  • If organising events, ensure staff and students who may be fasting are catered for during the time with food and drink they are permitted to have.

The multi-cultural society

Accommodation

Faith and Community Service

  • Be aware of religious festivals and cultural celebrations and to acknowledge them. For example; at the start of a lecture you may say Eid Mubarak or Happy Hannukah.
  • Consider religious festivals and celebrations when planning deadlines and events. It may not always be possible to avoid deadlines falling at these times, but helpful if this can be a consideration.
  • Discuss the range of ways students can socialise on campus and how they could meet other students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups via the Students’ Union societies, if they are feeling isolated.
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