There are many winter holidays to celebrate this season but most people don’t know much about holidays other than the ones that they celebrate. So I’ve done some research and put together a little fact sheet for you on four of the more well known winter holidays that are celebrated around the world.
1. Chinese New Year- The Chinese New Year is the celebration of the new year according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar. It always falls in January or February; this year it begins on Sunday, February 10th and will officially last for 15 days. The celebration os also known as the Spring Festival and acted as the signal that the time to rest in the winter was over and that farmers needed to begin preparing for the sowing of their fields. The most important element of the Chinese New Year is the reunion dinner held on the eve of the New Year by the parents (or eldest brother). The dinner is usually lavish and includes multiple courses with chicken, pork, and fish dishes.The color red is meant to bring good luck and gold symbolizes wealth and happiness.
2.Christmas- Originally called the “Feast of Nativity” Christmas is celebrated by Christians on December 25 as the birth of Jesus Christ, this holiday officially lasts for 12 days but there are many who only celebrate on December 24-25. December 25 has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870. Christmas was instituted by the church in the fourth century and rivaled the big celebrations of Easter. It is believed that since there is no biblical reference to Christ’s birthday the pope, Pope Julius I, chose December 25 in order to coincide with other traditions. Allegedly, the church declared this day a holiday in an attempt to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan holiday, Saturnalia. In certain branches of Christianity Christmas is celebrated 13 days later and is known as 3 Kings Day/ Epiphany.
3.Hanukkah/ Chanukah- Also known as “The Festival of Lights”, Hannukkah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the victory of a small band of Jews over their Syrian-Greek oppressors. The story goes that upon reclaiming the “Holy Temple” in Jerusalem they went to light the temple’s menorah but only had enough oil for one day. That oil miraculously lasted for 8 days while new new oil was being prepared. The nightly practice of lighting a candle on the menorah is at the heart of the festival and the menorah is fully lit on the eighth night.
4. Kwanzaa- Celebrated by African Americans and Pan- Africans, Kwanzaa lasts a week and is from December 26-January 1. It is based on the “First Harvest” celebrations, builds on 5 fundamental activities, and reinforces the Nguzo Saba or “7 Principles”. The 5 fundamental activities are ingathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment, and celebration. The 7 Principles are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (self determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). The colors of the flag and candles are red, black, and green; red symbolizes the struggle of the people, black represents the people, and green symbolizes hope and the future.
Well I just wanted to touch on these ones, for now, and if you want me to write about a holiday that I didn’t touch on or elaborate on one that I did please let me know in the comments.