Multi-Cultural Holidays!

Multi-Cultural Holidays!

The December Holidays…the time of year where we assemble our families and friends and celebrate! There are so many holidays that happen all over the world in many different cultures in many different ways. We’ll look at the three main December holidays. Who can say no to more celebrations, so let’s explore shall we?

First, we have Christmas.  This widely known holiday is where Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th. It started as the “Feast of the Nativity” to rival the pagan winter solstice celebrations. Usually, a pine tree adorned with ornaments and lights is put up in living rooms scaring and confusing house cats.  Many people sing songs, exchange gifts, and feast to celebrate.

Further reading on Christmas:

A Christmas Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Christmas

Christmas: A Biography

Next, we have Hanukkah, the Festival of Light.  It lasts for, as Adam Sandler says “Eight Craaaazy Nights!”  This year it runs from Tuesday, December 12th to Wednesday, December 20th.  As the story goes, the Jewish people took back Jerusalem’s Holy Temple from the Syrian Greek Empire, only to find enough oil to light one night.  Incredibly, that oil lasted for eight nights.  On the first night of Hanukkah, only one flame on the Menorah (candleholder) is lit. On the second night, an additional flame is lit, and on and on until the eighth night, all the candles are lit. Many people sing songs, play games, and exchange gifts to celebrate.

Further reading on Hanukkah

Hanukkah in America: A History

500 Questions and Answers on Chanukah

Finally, we have Kwanzaa. This celebration of life honors African heritage and runs from December 26th to January 1st.  It was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1965 and was meant to help African-Americans reestablish their connections to African culture. On each of the seven nights, the family gathers and usually a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara (candleholder), 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 supporting community among African-Americans. The last night can be celebrated with a large meal, music, and a gift exchange.

Further reading on Kwanzaa:

Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition

Fruits of the Harvest

We may be celebrating something different, but we’re all celebrating together, and that’s truly what’s important.  From MPHPL to you, we say Merry Christmas, Hanukkah Sameahh, Heri za Kwanzaa, and Happy Holidays!

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