Celebrating Religious Festivals


As part of our dedication to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, England Hockey is committed to learning and sharing more about all cultures when they come together to celebrate important events throughout the year.

We acknowledge that we are still learning and if you feel we have missed something we would be happy to hear from you. We would also like to hear how you are celebrating within the hockey community, what are your club doing and what does this mean to your members.  Please contact us via inclusion@englandhockey.co.uk

Chinese (Lunar) New Year

Chinese (Lunar) New Year is based on cycles of the moon, and therefore falls on a different day each year.  In 2024 it falls on 10th February and is the year of the Dragon. The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig, all of which represent different attributes and are repeated in a 12-year cycle.

People celebrating Chinese New Year will often hang lanterns, have firework displays and give a gift of a red envelope containing money (red being considered a lucky colour).

Considerations for hockey

Chinese New Year is a 7-day festival during which families come together to celebrate, with many people taking time off work. It might be that people are not available to participate in hockey during this time. There are many traditional foods eaten which you could include in any match teas, or you could consider hosting a traditional lion dance.


Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe to be the son of God. Christmas is celebrated annually on 25th December. It is celebrated by many faiths and religions around the world, with people celebrating in both religious and non-religious ways.

Christmas is a time when many families come together, spending time with each other while sharing meals and gifts.

Considerations for hockey

While Christmas is a time of celebration for many, it can be a difficult time for others, both emotionally and financially. If you are holding any celebrations, please consider the impact on all members and respect that some may not wish to participate.


Diwali is the ancient Hindu festival of lights, usually some time between October – November (the date changes every year dependant on the lunar cycle).  It is a 5-day festival, with the main celebration taking place on the third day. Diwali signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.

People celebrating Diwali may place lights or oil lamps in their homes and outside temples to mark the festival. It is a festival of happiness, joy and family reunion, with people coming together to celebrate, often including spectacular firework displays.

Considerations for hockey

Depending on how families chose to celebrate they may not be available to play / train on Diwali. Traditionally Diwali is a loud and bright festival, however some people may like to have a space for quiet reflection or worship, it may be worth considering if you can provide this within your club space. The best thing is to ask people who are celebrating how you can support them!


Easter is the most important holiday in the Christian calendar, celebrating Jesus rising from the dead. The date of Easter varies from year to year, with it being celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon, on or after 21 March.

The week leading up to Easter is known as the Holy Week, which includes Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. On Easter Sunday families will spend time together and give a gift of an egg (usually chocolate) which is used as a symbol of new life.

Considerations for hockey

In the UK, Easter weekend is a 4-day bank holiday, during which time many people will travel to see others, it usually coincides with school holidays. You could consider holding an Easter Egg hunt at your club.

Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr is celebrated by Muslims to mark the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. Eid is a day of true thanksgiving for Muslims, starting with giving to charity and prayers in a Mosque, followed by celebratory meals and giving gifts with family. The exact date of Eid depends on the sighting of the moon.

Considerations for hockey

People celebrating are unlikely to be available to participate in hockey on the day of Eid. You may want to ask your members in advance so you can plan for this and your club could hold a celebration where you come together and share a meal.


Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.

Considerations for hockey

People celebrating Hanukkah are likely to be busy with family committments during the eight days so be mindful of people's schedules. 


Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims worldwide. Ramadan is considered one of the most spiritual times of the year and is a month of fasting, prayer, community and reflection. The start date of Ramadan is dependent on phases of the moon. During the month of Ramadan people celebrating will fast (including liquid) from dawn to sunset. Some Muslims will have an exemption from fasting and these include, but are not limited to, children, people with long term health conditions or illness, older people, and women who are menstruating, pregnant or breastfeeding.

Considerations for hockey

Please take the time to ask Muslim members if there is anything that they would appreciate your club doing to accommodate them during this time. If you are playing at sunset, agree the time that sunset will occur and wherever possible, enable a short break in playing for players and officials to be able to take a drink of water and consume dates or other energy giving food before resuming. If possible it may be better to play earlier in the day when energy levels for people fasting are higher.

Rosh Hashanah

The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is one of the holiest days in Judaism. The day begins on the first of Tishrei, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, and means “head of the year” or “first of the year.” The day commemorates and celebrates the creation of the world, it is a time to reflect on the past and review relationships.

It is traditional to eat sweet foods for Rosh Hashanah to encourage a sweet new year. Some of the symbolic foods of Rosh Hashanah include apples and honey, date and honey cake and pomegranate.

Considerations for hockey

You may wish to speak to any Jewish members and ask if they would like to share any information about what Rosh Hashanah means to them and how they celebrate. As a club you could come together to share some sweet foods, or consider including them in any match teas at this time.


Vaisakhi is one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar. It is seen as a spring harvest festival, primarily in Northern India.  For Sikhs, Vaisakhi is the time to reflect and remind themselves of their commitment to Waheguru (the Almighty) as the Panj Pyare (five beloved ones) did when Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the 10th Sikh Guru, called all Sikhs to gather in 1699. 

To celebrate Vaisakhi, Sikhs will visit places of worship called Gudwaras. These will also be especially decorated for the occasion.  Many people enjoy parades and special processions through the streets called nagar kirtans.