I wanted to take a look at holidays around the world during the month of December. Let’s all celebrate our diversity and culture. Warmest wishes to you and yours for a safe and happy holiday season.
Christianity is prominent with the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th and people of Jewish faith celebrate Hanukkah (Chanukah), a week long holiday commemorating the rededication during the second century BC.
Here are a few less known holiday celebrations:
Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Mexican celebration and commemoration of the appearance of Mother Mary to the Mexican peasant Juan Diego in 1531. This is celebrated on December 12 and is a day of great feast.
St. Lucia Day is a Swedish celebration held on December 13 which commemorates a young girl named Lucia who was martyred and killed in 304 for secretly bringing food to the persecuted Christians in Rome who lived hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would carry candles on her head so she would have her hands free to carry things. Today young girls dress in white dresses with red sashes around the waist bringing food and gifts to family and friends. This is a day of great feasting starting from lunch till night falls.
Kwanzaa (Karamu Ya Imani) is an African American celebration invented by Maulana Karenga in 1966 after the hard times of Watts riots, held from December 26 to January 1 which involves gift giving and feast of faith. This celebration was established specifically for the African American to honour themselves and their history rather than imitate the practice of the dominant society.
Omisoka is a Japanese celebration of New Year’s Eve. People spend their time during this day cleaning out their homes to and ridding of negative and evil spirits through prayer to welcome the New Year. The Japanese have a tradition for the last hours of the year to eat a bowl of toshikoshi soba or toshikoshi udon noodles, where the length of the noodles are associated with the crossing over from the old year to the new one.
Of course there are so many more religions that celebrate during the holidays that we may not be aware of, however, we are understanding more that humanity is expanding into Interfaith, meaning people marry into multicultural families with different religious beliefs.
As a result, a new concept is taking shape, that of Spiritual Oneness, the acknowledgement that there is a higher source of life above all living things, regardless of religions and beliefs. In countries like Canada that welcome multiculturalism, the holiday spirit is shifting, where people are sharing LOVE as well as new religious observances. Now isn’t this the true spirit of the holidays?