is the adherence to codified beliefs
that generally involve a faith
in a spiritual nature
and a study of inherited ancestral traditions
related to understanding human life
. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to faith as well as to the larger shared systems of belief.
In the larger sense, religion is a communal system for the coherence of belief—typically focused on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions, and rituals are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion can also be described as a way of life.
The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. "Organized religion" generally refers to an organization of people supporting the exercise of some religion with a prescribed set of beliefs, often taking the form of a legal entity (see religion-supporting organization). Other religions believe in personal revelation and responsibility. "Religion" is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system," but is more socially defined than that of personal convictions.
(literally, the Mass
) is a holiday
in the Christian calendar
, usually observed on December 25
, which celebrates the birth of Jesus
According to the Christian gospels, Jesus was born to Mary in Bethlehem, where she and her husband Joseph had travelled to register in the Roman census. Christ's birth, or nativity, was said by his followers to fulfill the prophecies of Judaism that a messiah would come, from the house of David, to redeem the world from sin. Early Christians celebrated more the subsequent Epiphany, when the baby Jesus was visited by the Magi. Efforts to assign a date for his birth began some centuries later. The precise chronology of Jesus' birth and death as well as the historicity of Jesus are still debated.
In predominantly Christian countries, Christmas has become the most economically significant holiday of the year, and it is also celebrated as a secular holiday in many countries with small Christian populations. It is largely characterized by exchanging gifts within families, and by gifts brought by Santa Claus or other mythical figures. Local and regional Christmas traditions are still rich and varied, despite the widespread influence of American and British Christmas motifs through literature, television, and other media.
The Shroud of Turin (or Turin Shroud) is an ancient linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have been physically traumatized in a manner consistent with crucifixion. The image can not be seen on the shroud with the naked eye and for several centuries the shroud had been displayed without it. The image was first observed in 1989 on the reverse photographic plate when amateur photographer Secondo Pia was unexpectedly allowed to photograph it. Some believe it is the cloth that covered Jesus when he was placed in his tomb. Skeptics contend the shroud is a medieval hoax or forgery.
Selected religious figure or deity
Guru Nanak Dev
: ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੇਵ
, Gurū Nānak Dēv
; (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539), was the founder of Sikhism
and the first of the ten Gurus
of the Sikhs. He is revered not only by Sikhs, but also by Hindus
in the Punjab
and across the Indian subcontinent
. His primary message to society was recorded to be "devotion of thought and excellence of conduct as the first of duties".
Sikh tradition states that at the age of thirty, Nanak went missing and was presumed to have drowned after going for one of his morning baths to a local stream called the Kali Bein. Three days later he reappeared and would give the same answer to any question posed to him: "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim" (in Punjabi, "nā kō hindū nā kō musalmān"). It was from this moment that Nanak would begin to spread the teachings of what was then the beginning of Sikhism.
- ...that the Akilam is the longest Ballad form of literary work in the world?
- ...that one key Confucian concept is that in order to govern others one must first govern oneself?
- ...that cosmology is the study of the universe in its totality and by extension humanity's place in it?
The Poetic Edda
is a collection of Old Norse
poems primarily preserved in the Icelandic
mediaeval manuscript Codex Regius
. Along with Snorri Sturluson
's Prose Edda
the Poetic Edda is the most important extant source on Norse mythology
and Germanic heroic legends.
Codex Regius was written in the 13th century but nothing is known of its whereabouts until 1643 when it came into the possession of Brynjólfur Sveinsson, then Bishop of Skálholt. At that time versions of Snorri's Edda were well known in Iceland but scholars speculated that there once was another Edda—an Elder Edda—which contained the pagan poems which Snorri quotes in his book. When Codex Regius was discovered it seemed that this speculation had proven correct. Brynjólfur attributed the manuscript to Sæmundr the Learned, a larger-than-life 12th century Icelandic priest. While this attribution is rejected by modern scholars the name Sæmundar Edda is still sometimes encountered.
Bishop Brynjólfur sent Codex Regius as a present to the Danish king, hence the name. For centuries it was stored in the Royal Library in Copenhagen but in 1971 it was returned to Iceland.