Arts & Culture Visual Arts

How Art is Utilised During Religious Holidays

When talking about religious art, one can often make the mistake of imagining large galleries full of canvases or statues depicting various religious scenes. This is, however, only the tip of the iceberg.. Looking specifically at holidays, there is so much art to be found and admired which many of us often take for granted.

Of course, it would be nearly impossible to list all of the artistic ways our faiths and values are represented, but here are just a few examples of how beautiful art and religion go hand in hand during the holiday seasons.

Food And Festivities Are Beautifully Realised

Let’s be honest, one of the best things about Jewish holidays is the food. Just imagining the table spread of brisket, challah or matzo soup is enough to make anyone’s mouth water. But the taste alone is not the reason why Jewish food is so appreciated. Any chef would tell you that there is an art form in beautifully prepared and constructed food, and this is no different when it comes to Jewish holidays.

Looking at challah, for instance. With this braided loaf, the three strands of the braid represent truth, peace and justice; gorgeously representing the values of the religion through the visuals of their food. Matzo, too, represents the unleavened bread the Jews would eat while escaping Egypt, with the horseradish as a symbol for the bitterness of slavery. In this way, the story of the Jewish past is told through the intricacies and art of their meals.

Joy And Celebration Is Told Through Colour

Religious holidays can also be quite artistic in the way they are celebrated. The festival of colour, for instance, is a two-day Hindu festival which celebrates good triumphing over evil. During the first day, Hindus will gather around a bonfire to celebrate, but on the second day (arguably, the day we are all familiar with)  perfumed powder named gulal is catapulted through the streets, painting every brick, crevice and person with bright and beautiful colours.

The pictures that come out of this festival are joyous.  The colours, the smiles and the celebrations are gorgeously captured in a way that feels like it was designed to be photographed. It is an art piece unfolding upon the streets, with extravagant blues, reds, yellows, and every colour you can imagine filling up the air and making ordinarily grey spaces a vibrant mess of colour.

Arts And Crafts Are Fully Utilised

Looking at the Christian holidays, Easter is a time to celebrate Jesus’s resurrection after he died upon the crucifix for our sins. For many years, Easter eggs have been used to symbolise new life and rebirth, with children being made to create and paint eggs in beautiful, patterned colours. 

This tradition has been around for hundreds of years and, whilst more recently traditional painted eggs have been replaced with chocolate (because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love chocolate), the arts and crafts side of Easter still hasn’t faded. In classrooms across the world, children are encouraged to put their creativity and imagination front and centre, celebrating the rebirth of Jesus with beautiful colours and patterns.

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