The month of December is a time of celebration and joy for many cultures around the world. It is a month filled with festive traditions, religious observances, and cultural events. In this article, we will explore 11 of the most prominent holidays celebrated in December around the world.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday that typically falls in December. It is an eight-day celebration that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century BCE. The holiday is marked by the lighting of the menorah, a special nine-branched candelabrum, with one additional candle lit each night of the holiday.
Christmas is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world and is observed on December 25th. It is a Christian holiday that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. The holiday is marked by various traditions, including the exchanging of gifts, decorating Christmas trees, and attending church services.
Kwanzaa is a week-long holiday that is observed from December 26th to January 1st. It was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, an African American professor and activist, to celebrate African American culture and heritage. The holiday is marked by lighting the kinara, a special candleholder with seven candles, and the giving of gifts and sharing of stories and traditions.
- Boxing Day
Boxing Day is a holiday that is observed in many countries around the world, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. It falls on December 26th and is traditionally a day when people give gifts to those who are less fortunate. The holiday may have originated as a day when servants and tradespeople would receive gifts from their employers.
- St. Lucia Day
St. Lucia Day is a Swedish holiday that is observed on December 13th. It is named after St. Lucia, a Christian martyr who was known for her acts of kindness and charity. The holiday is marked by the crowning of a young girl as the “Queen of Light” and the singing of traditional Swedish songs.
- Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated on December 12th. It commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to a peasant named Juan Diego in 1531. The holiday is marked by processions, feasting, and the singing of traditional songs.
- Dongzhi Festival
The Dongzhi Festival is a Chinese holiday that is observed on December 21st or 22nd. It is a celebration of the winter solstice, which marks the longest night of the year. The holiday is marked by the eating of tangyuan, a sweet glutinous rice ball, and the drinking of warm rice wine.
- Bodhi Day
Bodhi Day is a Buddhist holiday that is observed on December 8th. It commemorates the day when the Buddha achieved enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. The holiday is marked by meditation and the chanting of Buddhist scriptures.
- Mawlid al-Nabi
Mawlid al-Nabi is a Muslim holiday that commemorates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad. It is observed on the 12th day of Rabi’ al-awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar, which typically falls in December. The holiday is marked by processions, feasting, and the reading of the Qur’an.
Yule is a holiday that is observed by many pagan and neo-pagan groups around the world. It falls on the winter solstice, which typically falls on December 21st or 22nd
. Yule celebrates the return of the sun and the lengthening of days. The holiday is marked by feasting, exchanging of gifts, and the lighting of Yule logs.
Omisoka is a Japanese holiday that is observed on December 31st. It is a time for cleaning and preparing for the New Year. The holiday is marked by the ringing of temple bells at midnight, which is meant to ward off evil spirits and welcome in the New Year.
In conclusion, December is a month filled with diverse and rich traditions from around the world. From the lighting of the menorah during Hanukkah, to the exchanging of gifts during Christmas, to the feasting during Kwanzaa, and the celebrating of the winter solstice during Yule, there is no shortage of ways to celebrate during this festive month. Regardless of one’s religious or cultural background, the spirit of the season is one of joy, peace, and goodwill towards others.