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Winter festivities across the world

85%25+of+Americans+observe+Christmas%2C+making+it+the+most+celebrated+winter+holiday.+However%2C+there+are+many+other+holidays+that+take+place+in+the+month+of+December.
Image courtesy of Jonathan Borba via Unsplash
85% of Americans observe Christmas, making it the most celebrated winter holiday. However, there are many other holidays that take place in the month of December.

As winter break approaches, the majority of students are preparing to celebrate during that time. There are several reasons to celebrate, mainly because December is full of numerous holidays celebrated by different religions and regions.

Saint Nicholas Day, December 5th

Along with Christmas, numerous European Nations have celebrated Saint Nicholas Day. They were originating from the Bishop of Myra, St. Nicholas, with his tradition of giving to the well-behaved and the less fortunate. Some Americans of European descent still commemorate the event for its practice of good morals.

Hanukkah, December 7th – December 15th

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Known as the Festival of Rededication/Festival of Lights, it was dedicated to the liberation of the Temple of Jerusalem. In 164 BCE, the Jews of Judea revolted against the Syrian Greeks to reclaim their temple. After a victorious revolt, the Jews used oil that was meant to last a day, but that oil lasted for eight days. This is the origin of the eight-day tradition. Every year, families light their menorah, an eight-branched candle holder, by lighting one candle each night. In honor of that night, they eat oil-cooked foods, as a symbolic gesture. Additionally, there are prayers, Christmas-inspired gift-giving, and even playing the Dreidel.

Bodhi Day, December 8th

In the story of Buddha, Indian Prince Siddhartha Gautama pursues his path towards enlightenment. At the end of his pursuits, Prince Siddhartha would remain at a fig tree until he became enlightened. That fig tree would be known as a Bodhi Tree, and Prince Siddhartha would become Budda / the Awakened One. This year, December 8th is considered Buddha’s day of enlightenment, during which Buddhists spend time praying or decorating their bodhi tree. Beyond that, there is no public celebration as it is just recognized by Buddhists.

Saint Lucia Day, December 13th

Primarily in Scandinavia, they honor the Saint as she was executed by the Romans. This was due to her religious beliefs and stealing food for persecuted Christians. It’s commemorated on December 13th as that was the Winter Solstice on the Julian Calendar. Which is when the Sun is the furthest away from the Earth, creating the longest night. Scandinavians marked St. Lucia Day as the beginning of the Christmas season. Some recreate this event, leading children with a white robe and candles. Enjoying baked goods during that time as a way to honor her.

Christmas, December 25th

Although there were originally debates about the birth of Jesus Christ, it would eventually be decided by the Christian Church. Afterward, charity work and attending church became a tradition for Christmas. In 1822, many Dutch families in New York honored the death of Saint Nicholas, bringing the gift-giving traditions of St. Nicholas to the US. This inspired minister Clement Moore’s “Twas a Night Before Christmas” and political cartoonist Thomas Nast’s illustration of Saint Nicholas. Both of them majorly influenced the Santa Claus for Christmas today. This portrayal of Santa Claus was popular due to Coca-Cola’s advertising campaign in 1931. Using Thomas Nast’s reference to their branding of white and red, Santa Claus became a recognizable icon across the globe. Christmas hasn’t drastically changed since then, and the traditions have been cemented in America’s most celebrated holiday.

Kwanzaa, December 26th – January 1st

As the most recently instated holiday, Kwanzaa focuses on African-American Heritage. As a non-religious holiday established in 1966, it highlights the importance of family and community. It was created by activist Maulana Karenga. There are noticeable gift exchanges and cuisines reflecting African-American culture. Any religion can observe the event due to Kwanzaa being a cultural rather than a religious holiday.  Kwanzaa and Hanukkah have similar themes with the daily lighting of each candle. The candles represent the past, present, and future. With even more in-depth themes of; self-determination, unity, responsibility, cooperation, self-purpose, creativity, and faith.

These holidays are separate, related, or even influence each other, but they are special to those who celebrate them. And there are many reasons to enjoy winter break, but no matter the reason, it’s a festive time to relax or have fun.

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Joshua Vu, News Editor

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  • T

    Tzeitel HerreraDec 22, 2023 at 11:08 pm

    This article did a very good job talking about the different holidays across the world and how they are celebrated. The article was very informative and it was cool learn about the different holidays that are celebrated during this time.

    Reply
  • A

    Aaron CruzDec 21, 2023 at 9:18 am

    I think the article is filled with good information

    Reply
  • F

    Francisco RosasDec 21, 2023 at 9:03 am

    This article has a lot of research behind it, it is very informative. The article introduces these holidays to people, some people might have learned about new traditions they have not heard of.

    Reply
  • J

    Jasmin BhasinDec 21, 2023 at 8:59 am

    I love the research done on this topic and the pictures to represent the holiday .Great job

    Reply
  • F

    Frank CruzDec 21, 2023 at 8:58 am

    This is a very interesting story that show the different holidays that are celbrated during the month of december. What I lerned was what the differnet traditions that are celbrated in the month of december

    Reply
  • J

    Jason VerdeDec 21, 2023 at 8:55 am

    I think this article is really good. It’s filled with a lot of good information about these different holidays and observations. I think that the way the information is given to us encourages us to do our own research and to learn more about these various celebrations.

    Reply
  • P

    PriscillaDec 21, 2023 at 8:53 am

    I really liked this story!! I liked how it showed the different type of ways people celebrate Christmas!

    Reply
  • A

    Aaron CruzDec 21, 2023 at 8:52 am

    so fire

    Reply
    • A

      Aaron CruzDec 21, 2023 at 8:56 am

      the mentioning of karenga is fire

      Reply
  • K

    Kiara cruzDec 21, 2023 at 8:50 am

    I liked learning about the different ways people celebrate during winter.

    Reply
  • N

    Nicole SaldanaDec 21, 2023 at 8:50 am

    This was very interesting. I liked how you talked about the different celebrations!

    Reply
  • A

    Aaron CruzDec 21, 2023 at 8:50 am

    I liked learning about different winter festivities across the world

    Reply
  • A

    Aline BDec 21, 2023 at 8:49 am

    This story is very interesting because we learn there are so many other celebrations other then the ones we commonly know

    Reply
  • V

    Valeria FloresDec 21, 2023 at 8:49 am

    This story was very interesting to learn about all the holidays that are celebrated all around the world during the Christmas season.

    Reply
  • A

    Antonio ReyesDec 21, 2023 at 8:43 am

    This is very helpful to me because it expands my knowledge on Christmas festivities.

    Reply
  • J

    Jocelyn Alvarez-GarciaDec 20, 2023 at 12:37 pm

    It’s nice that the celebrations of the world can be detailed for the students of Segerstrom to either partake in them themselves or find out more.

    Reply
  • B

    Bellasophia PadronDec 20, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    This was very interesting and informal. To learn about many more celebrations and when they are in is very cool. I didn’t even there was so many that were celebrated in December.

    Reply
  • M

    Melanie VargasDec 20, 2023 at 11:53 am

    This story was really interesting, I enjoyed reading about the different celebrations.

    Reply
  • C

    Celeste CarmonaDec 20, 2023 at 11:40 am

    This is so interesting! I didn’t know a lot of these existed!

    Reply
  • N

    Natalie SoteloDec 20, 2023 at 11:39 am

    Thanks for the details on different holidays celebrated during winter. It’s a great article!

    Reply
  • D

    DanielDec 20, 2023 at 11:36 am

    it interests me how many different types of things are celebrated and it’s good that each person can celebrate what they like

    Reply
  • S

    Sofia NevarezDec 20, 2023 at 11:29 am

    This was a very informative story. I enjoyed learning about the holidays I wasn’t very familiar with, like Bodhi Day and Saint Lucia Day.

    Reply