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Certainly the major religions have throughout man’s history provided a major focus for such patterning which in turn enables the individual to relate to the rhythms of the seasons and of the human life cycle.Circumscribed as we are by the elements of the spatial and the temporal — festivals can assist us in ‘making sense of time’ while discerning the high moments of the yearly round.In each case it can be a profitable exercise for the teacher to ask himself why he is using it (a festival) in his particular way, and what are his motives in so doing.
The Shap web site already contains a fascinating essay by Mary Hayward entitled Shap: A Brief History.
The present article seeks to complement this description by enlarging on the origins of the Shap Calendar, discussing the role of the various editorial teams and offering ‘extensive and evocative’ quotations from 34 years of the editorials, now collected and mostly available on the website. A few Quotations to whet the appetite For all the difficulties of producing this calendar, I do believe that it adds to the understanding in the world, and I therefore submit it, not least, as a labour of love.
Preparing a calendar for publication is an odd experience, since it has to do with the death of one ‘year’ and the ‘birth’ of another — even though at the time of writing we are still in May .
Only in August are the ‘cognoscenti’ likely to fore-gather in India to determine when certain lunar festivals will occur in the following year.
In all cases, I have tried to describe the festival or its principle observances from the point of view of a respectful outsider. At the same time though, I have not referred to Krishna as the Lord Krishna or the Bible as the Holy Bible.
I have avoided statements like ‘Hindus believe that . I trust that my middle line treads the correct path.
With a considerable feeling of humility in the face of the complexity of the task, I have tried to abide by the rule that the individual communities should define which festivals they consider to be important to themselves.
The Shap Calendar is a mélange of Peter Pan, who never grew up, and the Phoenix, the mystic bird that rises again from the ashes of its funeral pyre.
The Phoenix image is appropriate in that this edition of the Calendar booklet contains a revised and enlarged text and a number of other changes that we hope will enhance its value to its varied and growing readership.
Its past is by no means discarded, but will provide the basis on which we seek to build bigger and better.
Calendars particularly those relating to religious festivals — are very much a reflection of the natural urge to discover patterns within the world of which one is a part.