December’s World of Holidays
Welcome to December’s world of holidays. December has many multicultural celebrations. From Christmas to Omisoka, the last month of the year is a “world of holidays.” Allow me to highlight some of December holidays around the world.
Hanukkah 12/18 – 12/26
Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is an eight-day Jewish celebration that commemorates the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem following the Maccabean Revolt. Celebrations revolve around lighting the menorah. On each of the holiday’s eight nights, another candle is added to the menorah after sundown. The ninth candle, is shamash (“helper”), is used to light the others. Blessings are recited and traditional Hanukkah foods are served as well as playing with dreidels and exchanging gifts.
Whether celebrated for this religious reason or solely as a cultural celebration, Christmas traditions vary around the world. From Christmas trees, Santa visits, leaving Christmas cookies to the English tradition of mince pies and brandy, to dreams of snowy landscape. And summer-time fun in Australia and the decorating of a “Christmas Bush.” In Iceland, capital city Reykjavik turns into a winter wonderland with its Christmas market and for the children, there is not one but thirteen Santas, known as Yule Lads.
Kwanzaa 12/26 – 1/1
This African American and pan-African seven-day cultural holiday celebrates family and community. Families celebrate with feasts, music, dance, and end the holiday with a day dedicated to reflection and recommitment to the seven principles. There’s singing, dance, African drums, storytelling, poetry readings and a large traditional meal. A child will light a candle on the kinara, each of the 7 nights and one on the the principle values is recognized, called Nguzo Saba.
Boxing Day 12/26
This holiday originated in the United Kingdom during the Middle Ages and is still celebrated in few countries each year. It was the day when church collection boxes for the poor are opened and contents are distributed. Boxing Day is a public holiday in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, plus other countries. The Irish refers to the holiday as St. Stephen’s Day. People in the Bahamas also celebrate Boxing Day with a street parade and festival called Junkanoo.
Omisoka is a Japanese traditional celebration on the last day of the year. The preparations for the New Year should be all finished by Omisoka, and then you wait peacefully for the New Year to come. It is customary to eat a dish called Toshikoshi Soba on Omisoka. It consists of soba noodles, which symbolize long life and health.
Wherever you fall in this month of celebrations, Cardinal Staffing Services wishes you the very best holiday with your friends and loved ones.
From Our Family to Yours – Happy Holidays