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For members of the Baha'i faith, Monday is the celebration of the BIRTH OF BAHA'U'LLAH, their prophet founder. Baha'u'llah was born to a wealthy and noble family. He and his family were imprisoned and lost their possessions when he announced his new religion in Teheran, Persia, in 1817.

Wednesday is DIWALI, one of the most popular Hindu festivals. Usually associated with large numbers of lights, Diwali commemorates the coronation of Sri Rama. It is also associated with the name of King Vikarama. It is a time of exchanging sweets and presents, and getting everything clean and in good shape.

Followers of the Jain religion celebrate DIWALI/MAHAVIR NIRVANA on Thursday. Celebrated by lighting lamps, it is believed to be the day when Lord Mahavir's soul left his body and attained Moksha, or Nirvana.

Also Thursday, Orthodox Christians observe the ADVENT FAST, a 45- day vegetarian fast in preparation for the Feast of the Nativity on Christmas Day.

©Copyright 2001, Providence Journal

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