Can You Match the Tradition to the Religion?

By: Abi Luftig
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

There are as many religions in the world as there are traditions for which they are known. Every major religion (and even some of the minor ones) has traditions to deal with major life events, namely births, rites of passage, marriage, and death. Test your knowledge of religious traditions here!

Let’s start with at the beginning, with birth traditions. Which religion has a traditional ceremony to circumcise an 8-day-old baby?

When Jewish boys are 8 days old, they undergo a ceremonial circumcision known as a B’rit Milah or a bris. Many Christian and Islamic boys are circumcised, but it is not required by religious law.

There are many crossovers between Hindu and Muslim traditions. One such crossover deals with a ceremony doing what to the baby’s head?

Both Muslim and Hindu traditions dictate that a baby’s head should be shaved within several days of birth (or at least within the first three years of life). In Islam, this shows that the child is a servant of Allah, with many Muslims weighing the hair and donating the equivalent weight in silver to charity. In Hinduism, shaving the head is believed to cleanse the body and soul of any negativity or impurity it may have brought with it from its previous life. Some Hindus in India scatter the baby’s hair in the Ganges, a holy river.

In Judaism, how many names is a baby given?

Jewish babies are often given two names, one secular to be used in their daily lives and one Hebrew to be used for religious purposes. Boys are named during their bris and girls have a naming ceremony called a B’rit Bat. There is some dispute on how to name Jewish babies: Ashkenazi (European Jews and their descendants) believe you should only name a baby after a deceased relative. Sephardic Jews (Spanish and Middle Eastern descent) believe it is an honor to name the baby after a living relative.

Which religion includes a ceremony where the baby is sprinkled with water (or has it poured on them) before receiving the Trinitarian invocation?

While many faiths have cleansing ceremonies involving water, only Christianity (and Catholicism) include the Trinitarian Invocation. The Invocation is “I baptize you: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Which faith names their babies by using the first letter of the hymn found on a random page in their holy book?

Sikh babies are not given names at birth, either secular or religious. The parents visit their temple (gurdwara) as soon as possible, but no later than forty days after birth. The ceremonial leader (Granthi) opens the holy book, the holy book of the Sikh faith (Guru Granth Sahib) to a random page and reads a passage aloud. The family sees the first letter of the hymn found on this random page and chooses a name that begins with the same letter.

Another Muslim/Hindu crossover is that a baby’s first taste should be something of what quality?

Hindu and Muslim families make sure that the first thing a baby tastes should be sweet “so that the baby speaks sweetly.” Islamic families rub either a softened date or a bit of honey into the baby’s upper palate. Hindus typically use Jatakarma, a special type of honey collected specifically for this tradition.

Which religion believes that the call to prayer should be the first words a baby hears after being born?

One of the most recognizable facets of Islam is the adhan, or call to prayer (“God is great, there is no God but Allah. Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Come to prayer.”) Muslims believe that the adhan should be the first words a new life hears, and so the baby's father will whisper it into the child's right ear immediately after birth.

Which religion places spices on a newborn's tongue?

While Buddhism is not big on established religious traditions, many have organically formed over the centuries, often with regional origins. One such tradition is the Tibetan Buddist tradition of using saffron powder to paint the symbol Dhih on the baby's tongue. This is to help the child grow to be articulate and wise.

Now that the baby has grown up a bit, it's time to move on to rites of passage. Which religion calls for boys to have a Bar Mitzvah and girls to have a Bat Mitzvah?

Jewish boys celebrate their Bar Mitzvah, the tradition of becoming a man in the eyes of the Jewish community, at age 13, and girls have a Bat Mitzvah at either age 12 or 13, depending on their denomination, to mark their progression into adulthood. There is a religious ceremony at the synagogue and a party held after to celebrate the special teen's hard work.

Which religion is connected to the Khatam Al Koran, a rite of passage for 11-year-old girls?

The Khatam Al Koran is a religious ceremony where 11-year-old Muslim girls demonstrate their maturity and faith by reciting the final chapter of the Koran in a mosque in front of friends and family. This tradition is primarily observed in Malaysia.

Which religion celebrates the rite of First Communion?

The Catholic Church celebrates the First Communion of its flock. Depending on how traditional the church is, they may also celebrate First Eucharist and First Confession.

The Amish have a well-known rite of passage known as what?

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Amish isn't a religion!" It is and it isn't. The Amish community is a strict Christian sect with Anabaptist origins that has evolved to have views entirely their own and they are recognized as a religious group by the government. Rumspringa is when Amish teens (young adults in their community) venture out into the secular world to experience modern life before deciding whether or not to commit to the Amish faith.

Which religion has a rite of literal passage called a Hajj?

A Muslim right of passage is the Hajj, or journey (passage) to Mecca. The Hajj used to be done on foot, but in 1937, airlines began offering special Hajj flights and the tradition of flying to Mecca, well, took off.

Which religion practices the ceremony of Amrit Sanchar?

The Sikh ceremony of Amrit Sanchar is a sort of initiation into the faith for those old enough to have made up their own mind and decide their own fate. The ceremony is also sometimes called Khande di Pahul.

Orthodox Christian churches have a tradition known as "Diving for the" what?

While some Russian Orthodox sects practice Diving For the Cross, it's primarily become a Greek Orthodox tradition. To celebrate the holiday of Epiphany, the archbishop blesses a small handmade white cross and throws it into a body of water (often very cold water, given the time of year). Boys ages 16-18 dive into the water to be the one to retrieve the cross (hence the name "Diving for the Cross"). The winner keeps the cross, viewed as a blessing from God. To keep the divers focusing on the spiritual, rather than the athletic, divers are required to complete weeks of classes about the Orthodox faith in order to be eligible to dive.

Now that you've completed the rites of passage and have become an adult, it's time to get married! Which religion integrates a tradition called The Unity Candle into their wedding ceremony?

In many Christian weddings, the bride's parents light one candle and the groom's parents light another. The bride and groom each use their respective candles to light a third candle, representing the bright light of love coming together from both sides of the family.

In Jewish weddings, what does the groom smash at the end of the ceremony?

At the end of Jewish wedding ceremonies, the groom stomps on a glass with his foot. In some ceremonies, the glass is a wine glass, from which both bride and groom drank during the ceremony.

What color do Hindu and Sikh brides wear?

In Indian culture, red is a sign of both prosperity and fertility. It is associated with the rising sun and the new day, representing the new life the couple is beginning.

Which religion is associated with brides getting Mehendi?

All three religions are known for the tradition of brides getting their hands and feet covered in Mehendi (henna tattoos) in the days leading up to the wedding as a celebration of love. It is not required by Muslim religious law, but most Muslim brides opt to participate in the tradition regardless.

Which religion does not need a special officiant to conduct the wedding ceremony?

While most weddings are officiated by an imam, religious law states that any Muslim "who understands Islamic traditions may perform the ceremony." While non-clergy are permitted to conduct weddings in other faiths, that person must be ordained or have legal authority.

Which religion is known for the wedding tradition of a canopy called a mandap?

Hindu weddings take place outside under the mandap, which covers a sacred fire. During the ceremony, the bride and groom sit in front of the fire while family members burn offerings in the flames. The couple then walks around the fire four times before exchanging vows.

Which religion has a "betrothal ceremony" known as a Chessian?

Buddhists traditionally view marriage as a secular affair and often do not have religious weddings. Instead, they have betrothal ceremonies where the union is blessed by monks. In recent times, Buddhist weddings have become more common and accepted.

Tradition dictates that Orthodox Christian couples walk around their church's center table how many times?

This is called The Dance of Isaiah and represents the Holy Trinity. The bride and groom also wear olive branch crowns.

Which religion has a bride and groom stand under a canopy called a chuppah?

The chuppah is a canopy held up by four posts. It symbolizes the new and happy home the couple will make together.

Traditional Hindu weddings start off with the jaimala ritual, wherein the bride and groom exchange what?

The bride and groom drape red and white floral garlands around each other's necks as a welcoming gesture to begin the ceremony. The tradition is also sometimes called varmala.

Alas, no one lives forever and so all religions have traditions dealing with death and funerals. According to Jewish tradition, how many days after death must a funeral take place?

In Jewish tradition, the funeral must take place as soon as possible. In order to give mourners time to arrive, this has generally come to mean within 24 hours of the death. However, if the end of the 24-hour period is during the Sabbath, a memorial service similar to wake is held within 24 hours and the funeral within 48 hours.

Which religion specifies the coffin be carried by four men, no more, no less?

Islamic tradition states that coffins are carried to the cemetery by four men. The rest of the mourners walk behind the coffin.

According to Hindu tradition, where is the body kept until it is cremated?

Hindu tradition states that a body should be cremated within 24 hours of death, and until the cremation, should be kept at home. Once cremated, the deceased's ashes are usually scattered over a sacred body of water, such as the Ganges River.

Which religion requires a secular burial plot to be blessed prior to the funeral?

If a Catholic person is buried in a non-Catholic cemetery, the burial plot must be blessed by the priest prior to the funeral. This typically happens if a Catholic veteran is buried in a military cemetery. If the deceased is buried in a Catholic graveyard, the ground is already considered blessed and no additional blessing is required.

The Bahá'í faith requires that the deceased be buried within what traveling time's distance from where they died?

The Bahá'í faith says that the deceased must be buried within one hour's traveling distance from where they died, to reinforce the belief in a universal faith. Followers of Bahá'í (known as Bahá'ís) must also be buried wearing a ceremonial ring with the inscription “I came forth from God, and return unto Him, detached from all save Him, holding fast to His Name, the Merciful, the Compassionate.”

How long does a Muslim widow wear black?

The traditional mourning period in Islam is forty days, during which the family wears only black clothing. However, the wife of the deceased continues to wear black for a full year.

Which religion states a headstone is placed on the gravesite one year later?

In accordance with Jewish tradition, headstones are not placed on a gravesite until the one-year anniversary of the death. A special ceremony is held for the unveiling.

Which religion traditionally sprinkles the body of the deceased with holy water before the funeral begins?

Before a funeral mass begins, a priest sprinkles the deceased with holy water and places a pall over the coffin. This pall is where the term "pallbearer" comes from.

Which is an aspect of the Jewish tradition of Shiva?

Jewish mourners typically sit shiva for seven days ("Shiva" is Hebrew for "seven"). The family uses black cloth to cover mirrors and sometimes pictures of the deceased, and depending on how traditional the mourners are, they may stay in the same clothes all seven days. Men do not shave, women do not wear makeup, and couples refrain from any intimacy.

What is the traditionally appropriate color for mourners to wear to a Hindu funeral?

It is highly inappropriate to wear black to a Hindu funeral. Mourners wear white, and it is acceptable to wear casual clothing.

About Zoo

Our goal at Zoo.com is to keep you entertained in this crazy life we all live.

We want you to look inward and explore new and interesting things about yourself. We want you to look outward and marvel at the world around you. We want you to laugh at past memories that helped shape the person you’ve become. We want to dream with you about all your future holds. Our hope is our quizzes and articles inspire you to do just that.

Life is a zoo! Embrace it on Zoo.com.

Explore More Quizzes