Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years. ”Genesis 1:14 (NKJV)
During the month of April, people in different parts of the world celebrated some important holidays and traditions such as Jewish Passover, Christians’ Easter, Islam’s Ramadan, and Cambodia’s New Year. Let’s take a closer look at some of these holiday festivals.
Another New Year Holiday
During our 6th week living here in Cambodia, we experienced a major holiday, the Khmer or Cambodian New Year. People in the western world celebrate the new year on December 31st to January 1st, but in some other countries and cultures the new year holiday is celebrated in different months according to the lunar calendar. For example, Chinese New Year was observed this year on January 22nd.
This year, Cambodia celebrated the traditional new year during the week of April 10-16. During this week, many people traveled to their hometowns for family reunions. Students in all schools had vacation, and most people had a few days off from work. Some of our expat friends traveled as well for sightseeing, while David and I enjoyed the quiet city with no traffic. While many people took days off from work, some of our radio station workers continued to have live programs on FM radio and social media to encourage the listeners. For me the new year is a time to have a new beginning. Isn’t it a blessing that God gives opportunities for a new beginning in different cultures and places?
“The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:9 (NKJV)
Every year for almost 4000 years, Jewish people in different parts of the world celebrate the Passover. Passover, or Pesach, is the time when Jewish people remember the time when the Lord God delivered them from slavery in Egypt. This year, Passover was celebrated during the week of April 5-13. In the modern Jewish calendar, the Passover Festival (Pesach) is celebrated on the 14th day in the month of Nissan which is about March or April in the Gregorian calendar. Traditionally, the celebration starts with a Seder meal on the first and/or second night by eating matzah (unleavened bread), bitter herbs, lamb meat, etc. The origin of this special holiday is found in the book of Exodus in the Bible.
“On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household…So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance…” Exodus 12:1-28 (NKJV)
Another important festival observed by many Muslims in different parts of the world is called Ramadan. This year, the festival began on March 22, and the final day was celebrated on April 20th. It is usually observed during the ninth month in their calendar and is a period of prayer and fasting.
The Holy Week & Easter for Christians
For Christians, Holy Week and Christmas are the most important holidays. This year, Holy Week was celebrated during the week of April 3-9. Good Friday was on April 7th, and Easter or Resurrection Day was celebrated on April 9th. The origin of this holy festival is also found in the Bible.
Good Friday is the day when we remember how Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV)
The significance of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is not just remembering events that happened 2000 years ago; this is hope for the future.
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus was not just a powerful experience for Himself, it is also for all His followers. As the Apostles Paul and John wrote in the Bible:
“I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” Acts 24:15 (NKJV)
“And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” Revelation 20:5 (NKJV)
“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.” Revelation 20: 12 (NKJV)
The story of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is found in the Gospels of Matthew (Chapters 26-28), Mark (Chapters 15-16), Luke (Chapters 23-24), and John (Chapters 19-20).
“He is not here but is risen!” Luke 24:6 (NKJV)
In January 2020, the Lord blessed David and me with a trip to the Holy Land. One of the holiest Biblical sites we visited was the Garden Tomb. Here is an excerpt from a blog post that I wrote about this trip:
“Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.” John 19:38-42 (NKJV)
“As I entered the empty tomb, it was an awesome experience seeing and touching with my bare hands the rough and cold stone where my Lord Jesus was laid some two thousand years ago. I’m at a loss for words; it was truly an indescribable experience. It was a surreal moment to be right there at the spot where Christ arose from the dead – a foundation of my faith, the Christian faith, the empty tomb… Christ is risen, and Christ will come again! Thus, with these words, amidst the crazy things going on in the world, we followers of our Lord Jesus Christ have all the reasons to have hope and to rejoice!”
To read the blog post, please see this link: