In the hustle and bustle of December, there is more than just Christmas Day to think about and prepare to celebrate with the ones you love. Some notable December holidays in addition to Christmas include:
- Nicholas Day. It seems only right that the man who works the hardest on Christmas Eve should have a day that celebrates him. Celebrated on December 6 in Western Christian countries and Romania, December 5 in the Netherlands and December 19 in Eastern Christian countries as a Christian festival, the Feast of St. Nicholas focuses on his reputation as a bringer of gifts, as well as through the attendance of Mass or worship services. In the United States, children leave their shoes in the foyer on Saint Nicholas Eve in hope that he will place some coins on the soles.
- Hanukkah/Chanukah. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. The celebration extends from December 12th through the 20th, and is observed by members of the Jewish population all over the globe. Known as the “festival of lights,” Hanukkah is celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers, and fried foods. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple.
- Winter Solstice. The winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day of the year with the shortest period of daylight, and the longest night of the year. Winter Solstice is the beginning of winter, and is celebrated by various cultures. On this day, the Northern Hemisphere is as far away from the sun as it can be, due to the tilt of the Earth. In 2017, the Winter Solstice falls on December 21st. Astronomically, this day marks the beginning of shorter nights and longer days.
- Kwanzaa. This holiday was created in 1966 to celebrate African-American heritage, and even though many people believe this holiday was meant to be a substitute for Christmas, it is not a religious holiday. Celebrated from December 26th through January 1st every year, Kwanzaa, which means “first fruit of the harvest” in Swahili, is a time to focus on traditional African family values. It is based upon the celebration of seven principles or beliefs called the Nguzo Saba.
- Boxing Day. Although history on the start of this holiday is blurred, it is first thought to have started way back in the Middle Ages. Some people say it all started with the giving of Christmas boxes, while others think it was named after the tradition of opening charity boxes placed in churches during the Christmas season. Either way, it has come to be noted as one of the biggest shopping days of the year, probably due to a plethora of after Christmas sales both online and in brick and mortar stores.
- New Year’s Eve. The celebration of the New Year is the oldest of all recorded holidays. First observed in Ancient Babylon about 4,000 years ago, this annual event is celebrated the world over, as it marks the end of a year andthe beginning of a new one.
No matter which holidays you celebrate this December, we wish you all a happy holiday season and a fabulous new year filled with good things to celebrate!