What will Western students be celebrating these holidays and when?


End of semester celebrations for major world religions start this year in November. The dates of major celebrations for 2018 are below. Although Christians celebrate Christmas on 25 December every year other world religions appear to alter their dates annually because although many countries use our Gregorian calendar there are over forty calendars in use around the world. The lunar calendar is used in the Arab world and decides the dates of Islamic events. So here are the dates according to our Australian calendar.


Hindu holidays include

Diwali or the Festival of Lights

7 November 2018



Islamic holidays include

Mawlid-al-Nabi or the observation of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday

20 November 2018



Jewish holidays include

Hanukkah (Chanukah) or the eight day celebration of the rededication of the Holy Temple.

3-10 December 2018



Christian holidays include

Christmas or the observation of Christ’s birthday

25 December 2018



Why not start a conversation with the students in your class about what they will be celebrating. You may even be lucky enough to be invited along to join in.


Divya Bhusal an international student at Western is studying a Master of social work and has experienced the Hindu celebration of Diwali many times. She agreed to share her experiences.

“I just love Diwali/Tihar, because I like decorating houses by making rangolis (traditional coloured patterns created on the floor from rice and flour) and lighting diyos (or lamps). Houses look so beautiful with lights. I also like it when street dogs are fed on day two because I love animals”.

Diwali is celebrated in so many ways, and Nepalese to be specific call it Deepawali. It is a festival of light. Fireworks and feasts are very common. Dussehra and Diwali are the biggest festivals in Nepal and India. It is divided into five days. One day is for crows, when they feed them and worship them. Second day is called Kukur tihar, which means the day for dogs. They cherish their loyalty and feed them and worship them by putting on garlands.

The third day is, Laxmi puja or Gai puja (cow day), when they feed cows as they regard cows to be the goddess. They sing deusi and bhailo from this day onward. This is when young boys and girls go to peoples houses singing songs, giving blessings and receiving treats and money. The fourth day is Govardan Puja, which is to worship the Ox. The fifth day is brothers day when sisters worship their brothers and thank them for protecting the family. These are Hindu traditions.

Erielle Sudario is a Bachelor of Communication student at Western. As an international student, Erielle has celebrated the Christian Catholic celebration Christmas with her family many times in both Australia and the Philippines.

Erielle says “We celebrate the birth of Jesus but also the nearing of the end of the year and being thankful”.
For Erielle it is a private social event if she is in Australia, it’s just her parents and siblings, but when she is in the Philippines, it’s a huge gathering with the extended family. She explains “We eat a lot of food, mostly Filipino food like lechon (pig) or adobo or leche flan. It’s a gathering of the whole family to thank God for the year we all had and to remind us how blessed we are”.


As 2018 comes to an end, celebrate the year and the greatness of your God.

Amen, Shalom, Salam, Namaste.


Author: Abigail Nash


Abigail Nash

Abigail Nash is a post graduate student who has worked with W'sup on the 2017…

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