Five holy events and holidays are packed into late March. Here’s why.

In an unusual calendar twist, five holidays and celebrations from different cultures and religions are being observed simultaneously or within days of one another: Holi, Nowruz, Easter, Purim and Ramadan.

So why are they falling so close together this year?

Nowruz marks the spring equinox, when day and night are of equal length, and so usually falls on or around March 20, while Western Christian churches celebrate Easter — and the Sunday before it, known as Palm Sunday — based on the first full moon after the equinox.

Hinduism and Judaism, meanwhile, have lunar-solar calendars, meaning that while the date may change on the Gregorian calendar, they still take place around the same time each year. Ramadan, on the other hand, is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which is about 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar and so lands on different seasons over the years.

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