Popular December Holidays

What are some of the other holidays back story's? Read to find out which holiday had a very unique past.

Katie Kar, Contributor

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Every year, religions all around the world celebrate different holidays. Although some religions don’t celebrate any holidays in December, there are some popular holiday origins that not everyone knows about. Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and Ōmisoka, are some of the most popular December holidays in the world. Different religious holidays help celebrate diversity.   

Christmas is a one of the most celebrated holiday in America even though there are many others. The story of Christmas is almost known around the world. A woman named Mary was told she was going to have baby that will save the world. People believe that the baby also known as Jesus Christ was thought to be born on December 25. People believe that the wise men came weeks after. Some churches that believe of the story of Jesus put out a nativity with is statues set up to tell the story.

Another holiday celebration that is celebrated is Hanukkah. Where eight days in December eight candles are lit each day. “The events that inspired the Hanukkah holiday took place during a particularly turbulent phase of Jewish history. Around 200 B.C., Judea—also known as the Land of Israel—came under the control of Antiochus III, the Seleucid king of Syria, who allowed the Jews who lived there to continue practicing their religion. His son, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, proved less benevolent: Ancient sources recount that he outlawed the Jewish religion and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods. In 168 B.C., his soldiers descended upon Jerusalem, massacring thousands of people and desecrating the city’s holy Second Temple by erecting an altar to Zeus and sacrificing pigs within its sacred walls”.

Another holiday is known a Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa also requires candles where there are 7 candles instead of 8. “The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candle holder), then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31”. Another one of the of the celebrations in December is boxing day. Boxing day refers to when servants at the time had the day off, and when they received a “Christmas box”.“Boxing Day is a time to spend with family or friends, usually those not seen on Christmas Day itself. In recent times, the day has become synonymous with many sports. Horse racing is particularly popular with meets all over the country. Many top football teams also play on Boxing Day.      Boxing Day is also a time when the British show their eccentricity by taking part in all kinds of silly activities. These include bizarre traditions including swimming the icy cold English Channel, fun runs, and charity events.”

The last holiday in December is Ōmisoka which is a Japanese holiday. Ōmisoka is also known as Japanese New Year. “Its tradition can date back to the Heian period (794-1185). Originally, Omisoka is the day to prepare for deifying and praying for “Toshigami Sama,” which can be translated into Shinto god which is taking charge of the whole year, rich harvest of rice.

As time went by, Buddhist custom of striking of the bell on New Year’s Eve added.It is thought that a day starts from the night in the past so that the

New Year begins from the evening of the New Year’s Eve.There’s a custom to stay awake at the New Year’s Eve night to welcome Toshigami Sama. It’s been said if you happened to fall asleep early, you would likely to have gray hair or have wrinkles on your face.”

In December winter holidays are all different, and so are religions, but it’s always important to recognize other holidays and cultures. It’s always important to recognize the other holidays and what they mean to other people.

All the photos are thanks to: https://www.pexels.com/.

Article References: https://www.patternz.jp/omisoka-japanese-new-years-eve-tradition/.