What holidays do Manichaeans celebrate?

Manichaeans observe numerous days of celebration, memorials and commemorations. Some days help us remember certain saints, while others help us recall or keep in mind events that took place within the Religion of Light, either in recent years or in the distant past.

Some of holy days observed by Manichaeans include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Various Sabbaths throughout the year
  • Specific days for fasting
  • Birth, passing and resurrection of Jesus
  • Birth, passing and resurrection of Mar Mani
  • Commemoration of various Saints
  • Various seasons and equinoxes

There are also holidays that are specific to a particular culture or land, which might not always be a universal day of observance. For example, Manichaeans in China observe certain days that are culturally based, whereas brothers and sisters in Iran might not share the same observance.

Do Manichaeans celebrate Easter and Christmas?
Some Manichaeans from a Jewish or Christian background observe an annual Passover to commemorate the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and the passing of Jesus. In the East, some Manichaeans observe two “Easters” but they are referred to as “Resurrection Day” for both Jesus and Mani.

There are also some individuals that choose to celebrate Christmas, which has become a universal holiday and observed in many cultures, even outside of a Christian setting. There is no judgement concerning one who wishes to give gifts on Christmas or to put up a Christmas tree. Celebrating Christmas is entirely up to the individual.

In some homes where some family members are from different religious backgrounds, it is not always easy for a Manichaean brother or sister to co-exist during certain holiday observances without violating Godly principles. If a certain holiday gives honour to a false god or a false prophet, Manichaeans avoid such observances. However, if a family celebrates Christmas or other holiday that is intended to bring honour to Christ, it is best for the Manichaean to keep peace in the family and celebrate with his or her relatives.

However, there are certain other observances, connected with a religious institute, that Manichaeans avoid. Any observance that is related to the practice of magic is shunned without question. This would also include Halloween which has become associated with dressing up in costumes depicting witches, demons and monsters.

Our religious leaders have told that we would not wish to celebrate an event commemorating a person’s entry into an institute of the darkness. Manichaeans would want to avoid such things as baptisms, religious appointments, religious classes, or any celebrations commemorating these things. It would be best if any Manichaean, however, refrained from attending such observances that are connected to false religion.

We think of this under the guidelines of ‘clean and unclean.’ For example, these types of observances are considered by the faithful as unclean when they are associated with a religious group that is bereft of a true covenant with God.