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Understanding religious faiths at your club

Within England and Wales there are growing numbers of people from different backgrounds and religions.

We want all cricket clubs to be fully inclusive and have provided advice to ensure your club fully welcomes and reflects your wider community.

The below information details a number of the major religions and general considerations when organising your cricket activity.

Christianity

Christianity was founded in 33CE and is the world’s biggest religion with approximately 2.1 billion followers. 

  • Sunday is the religious day of worship for Christians, and some might not participate in any sporting activity on this day
  • With the exception of Easter, most Christian religious days fall on the same dates annually. Easter in England and Wales can occur anytime annually between 22 March and the end of April
  • A small minority of Christians may require clubs to be lenient on their dress codes to allow for modesty
  • From a catering point of view, there are very few dietary requirements relating to Christians and their religious observance
  • Some Christians will fast on certain religious festivals such as Good Friday (the Friday before Easter Sunday), Lent (the 40 days prior to Easter Sunday commencing on Ash Wednesday). During fasting periods, most people abstain from a specific type of food rather than abstaining from all food

Hinduism

Hinduism dates back to at least 1500BCE and there are over 900 million Hindus worldwide.

  • Hindu religious festivals and important dates follow the lunar calendar and thus change annually (no fixed dates – when full moons occur). You might need to consider planning matches and club activity outside of religious festivals and fasting periods (more on fasting and diet in the following points)
  • Some Hindus may want to wear traditional clothing and headwear. In addition, women may want to wear clothing that allows modesty when participating e.g. head covering, trousers and long sleeves
  • Both men and women may require single sex provision to participate – including coaches and facilities that are not inclusive of the opposite sex and are also closed to spectators
  • Some Hindus might not shake hands with members of the opposite sex. If in doubt, wait for the other person to offer you their hand
  • Certain Hindu festivals require adherents to fast completely. Alternatively, some Hindus may choose to abstain from certain foods
  • Beef is strictly forbidden in the Hindu diet and many Hindus also avoid food that is considered “unclean” such as pork, crab and duck
  • Vegetarian and vegan food are good options when catering for Hindus at your club

Islam

Islam began in Arabia through the prophet Muhammad and is followed by 1.5 billion people throughout the world. 

  • There are five pillars to the Islamic religion, which are profession of faith, prayer, alms giving, fasting and pilgrimage
  • Muslims perform Salat (prayer) five times a day – either individually or in a communal area that is clean and free from interference
  • The Islamic religious day is Friday, with many Muslims attending a mosque. Where possible avoid planning events for Fridays and also consider religious festivals when planning club activity and events
  • During certain religious festivals, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset – this could lead to reduced involvement with cricket/your club during these times.
  • Children might attend Islamic study (madrassa) after school and on Saturday mornings
  • As with Hinduism, some Muslims will not shake hands with a person of the opposite sex
  • Men and women should be allowed to wear long sleeves and trousers to respect their modesty. Many Muslim women wear a head scarf (hijab). For safety reasons they may want to tuck it in when playing
  • Both men and women may require single sex provision to participate – including coaches and facilities that are not inclusive of the opposite sex and are also closed to spectators
  • Sessions aimed at Muslim women should be run by women and this should be clearly stated on any publicity material
  • If your club holds mixed sessions for both boys and girls, it is a good idea to consult with parents in advance
  • With regard to diet and catering, there are lawful (halal) foods, which are prepared as prescribed by Muslim law, and unlawful (haram) foods. Pork and gelatine are forbidden in Islamic law, as is alcohol
  • Wherever possible, you should provide a selection of vegetarian food and halal meats when catering for Muslim players

Judaism

Judaism emerged 3,500 years ago in the Middle East and is one of the oldest monotheistic religions (worshipping one god). There are over 14 million Jewish people worldwide.

  • The Jewish religious day of observance is Shabbat (The Sabbath), which runs from sunset on Friday to dusk on Saturday
  • Religious dates and festivals are based on both the lunar and solar calendars and can change annually
  • Many Jewish people do not participate in sport and activity during major religious festivals. Judaism teaches that sport participation should be balanced with other activities and put in perspective. Sport does not take precedent over or interfere with religious obligations
  • Both men and women may require single sex provision to participate – including coaches and facilities that are not inclusive of the opposite sex and are also closed to spectators
  • Some women might want to cover most of their skin
  • Orthodox Jewish men traditionally wear a skullcap known as a Kippur, while married women often cover their hair with a hat or a bandana
  • All Jewish food must be kosher (meaning fit and right) and prepared according to Jewish law. Kosher foods must be eaten separately
  • Meat and milk cannot be cooked, eaten or used together and shellfish and pork are forbidden
  • If preparing food for Jewish players and club members, we recommend following the above catering guidance and providing a range of vegetarian and kosher food

Sikhism

Sikhism developed in India around 1500CE and the religion has 30 million followers.

  • In the UK the Sikh religious day is generally Sundays, when people tend not to work. It is worth asking Sikh club members if they can participate, what times might suit and if there are any restrictions to take into consideration
  • Sikh religious festivals are based on the lunar calendar. Some of these festivals fall during the cricket season and might impact on participation. Consult with members of your community around these festivals

  • Sikhs are expected to carry the five Ks with them at all times. The five Ks are: kesh (uncut hair); kangha (comb worn in hair); kara (iron or steel bangle); kachera (knee-length trousers); and kirpan (curved sword). For both men and women the 5Ks will be on their person and may be visible, some items could cause complications when taking part in cricket. Some Sikhs choose not to wear some of the items to protect others from injury 

  • Sikh men and women could wear turbans to cover their uncut hair, whereas younger boys may put their hair up in a top knot
  • Both men and women may require single sex provision to participate – including coaches and facilities that are not inclusive of the opposite sex and are also closed to spectators
  • Men and women should be allowed to wear long sleeves and trousers to respect their modesty
  • Many Sikhs are vegetarian so we recommend providing a a selection of vegetarian food

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