BBC Home
Explore the BBC


Teachers: Citizenship:

Last Updated: Tuesday December 23 2008 15:38 GMT

Religious festivals and diversity

Citizenship KS2/KS3/Levels E&F
Race and religion

The nine-branched candlestick


Many religious festivals take place in December and January.

Students look at the common aspects of different festivals.

Learning aims
  • Similarities and differences between religious festivals


Ask the class:

  • What religious festivals do you celebrate?
  • How do you celebrate them?
  • Can you spot any similarities between the celebrations.

Main activity

Guide: Religious festivals
The nine-branched candlestick

Students research the various religious festivals in December and/or January and add to the example table below with details of other festivals.

In December, Christians celebrate Christmas Day, Jews celebrate Hanukkah, Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day and Zoroastrians celebrate Zartusht-No-Diso.

In January, Buddhists celebrate Shinran and Honen memorial days, Christians celebrate Epiphany, Hindus celebrate Makar Sankrant, Jews celebrate Tu B'Shevat, Muslims celebrate Eid-Ul-Adhr, Rastafarians celebrate Christmas, Sikhs celebrate the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh.

Students may wish to use our guide to religious festivals to help them.

Example table:

Religion - Judaism

  • Name of festival - Hanukkah
  • Date(s) - 26 Dec to 2 Jan
  • Rituals - Lighting eight branched candle holder
  • Food eaten - Potato pancakes
  • Other information - Singing hymn called Maoz Tzur

Religion - Christianity

  • Name of festival - Christmas
  • Date(s) - 25 Dec
  • Rituals - Lighting candles
  • Food eaten - Turkey
  • Other information - Carol singing

Extension activity

Students use photographs and images from magazines, websites and newspapers to design a poster that celebrates the UK's multicultural society.


Ask students:

  • What differences did you find between the religious festivals?
  • What similarities did you find between the religious festivals?
  • Are there any rituals/food from a particular religion you would like to adopt/taste?

Curriculum relevance

National Curriculum Citizenship Key Stage 3

1b. The diversity of national, regional, religious and ethnic identities in the United Kingdom and the need for mutual respect and understanding

For hundreds more news-based stories, click on Teachers on the left-hand side.

Most recent lesson plan

Video clips for teachers
Student quizzes
Educational games
Citizenship guides