The best part about living in a world full of all kinds of people are the customs they celebrate and share with us. Around the holidays, we have such wonderfully diverse traditions. Read on to discover more about them.
Date celebrated: December 25
Reason celebrated: It’s celebrated to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. The name “Christmas” comes from the Mass of Christ, or Jesus.
Key symbols: Santa Claus, Christmas trees, candy canes, music, etc.
Filled with presents, lights, feasts, and love, Christmas is the epitome of cheer. It’s a day that everyone enjoys together, but no one enjoys it more than children. Parents tell their children that Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, soars through the air on his sled pulled by eight reindeer named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph. Throughout the night, he stops off at each house and goes down the chimney to deliver presents. While he’s there, he typically enjoys some cookies and milk. On December 25, the families wake up to presents everywhere, and from there on spend the day together.
Dates celebrated: Though the exact date changes, it typically occurs right around Christmas, and then lasts for eight days.
Reason celebrated: It commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend, Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt.
Key symbols: Menorah, dreidels, candles, etc.
Light, freedom, and family makes up the celebration known as Hanukkah. Usually done at home, Jewish people celebrate the holiday by bringing light and warmth into their homes and communities. On each day of Hanukkah, another candle is lit for a different reason, meaning all of the candles stand for something. Traditional songs and other music are enjoyed during this time as well as delicious foods such as latkes (potato cakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts).
Dates celebrated: December 26 through January 1.
Reason celebrated: Kwanzaa celebrates African heritage, unity, and culture.
Key symbols: crops, place mat, ear of corn, the Seven Candles, the Candleholder, the Unity Cup, gifts.
Kwanzaa is a heartwarming holiday filled with gift giving, feasts, and celebration of a rich, beautiful culture. There are seven core principles, or Nguzo Saba. They are: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), Imani (faith). Celebrators focus on a different principle each day of the holiday.
Wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same? Thanks to each and every unique person in the world, we get to experience so much out of life–more than our ancestors ever did. The 100 Year Lifestyle is all about celebrating the differences between us, and that starts with understanding each other. Happy holidays to all!