Holidays Around the World, By CA Kimi

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For people in America, the month of December is synonymous with Christmas. December is the perfect time to bundle up in scarves and mittens, hang up the stockings and decorate the Christmas tree. In fact, millions of people all over the world celebrate Christmas. This article is going to discuss some other holidays that happen all around the world in December.

Sure, a lot of people know about Chanukah in which people of the Jewish faith celebrate their triumph in regaining the Holy Temple from Syrian Greeks over 21 centuries ago. Every year Jews light a seven candle menorah that symbolizes a menorah lit hundreds of years ago. The significance of the menorah is that it remained lit for eight days on one cruse of olive oil, which is like a little pot or bottle that was meant to hold only enough oil to last one day. Every day of the festival, a single candle is lit until the entire menorah is finished. Popular foods eaten during this festival include latkes and sufganiot, which are pancakes and doughnuts fried in oils. A lot of people are familiar with the dreidel that people spin during this holiday. If you look closely at a dreidel, each side has a letter for an acronym that translates to “a great miracle happened over there.”

A lot of people may also know about Kwanzaa, which is a celebration a lot of African cultures take part in. Kwanzaa translates to “fist fruit” in Swahili and is a seven day long celebration that starts on December 26th and ends January 1st. On each day of the celebration one of the Nguzo Saba, or principles is discussed. These principles are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga which are: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.  

In Mexico, many people of the Christian faith celebrate Las Posadas in which they reenact Mary’s and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. Traditionally a party is held every night for nine nights in which people participate in a procession and dress as shepherds. This festival lasts from December 16-24th and ends with a pinata in the shape of a Christmas star.

Another holiday that is celebrated in other parts of the world is Boxing Day. This holiday occurs the day after Christmas, December 26th and is more of like an extended Christmas holiday. However this day is said to have started when rich aristocratic members would give their servants gifts the day after Christmas. It is also said to have started when Anglican churches in England would put out collection boxes and distribute the collected goods to the poor the day after Christmas. In any case, today it is a national holiday in England, Wales, Ireland, and Canada. Each country celebrates the day a little differently. For example, in Britain, Boxing Day participants partake in a fox hunt. For some Irish, Boxing Day is known as Wren Day which is said to have started in 1661 in the Battle of Kinsale in which a loud wren had given away the Irish attempt at sneaking up on English invaders. In Canada, they consider Boxing Day as very much like our own Black Friday.

Other holidays that are celebrated around the world are Junkanoo and Hogmanay. Junkanoo is celebrated in the Bahamas and is a huge festival that celebrates African culture. This tradition started back in the 16th or 17th centuries as a day when African slaves were allowed to leave the plantations and celebrate the day after Christmas with their families. Hogmanay is a New Year’s Eve celebration that takes place in Scotland.

 

For more information on these holidays and more celebrated around the world you can visit: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/winter-holidays-around-the-world.html

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1868711,00.html

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Student Housing at the University of California, Irvine VdC Norte is located on the UC Irvine campus in beautiful Orange County, CA, minutes from the beach and a short drive to the mountains. We house 1,564 undergraduate and graduate students in spacious, furnished apartments.
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