How many other holidays are celebrated in December?
Christmas is the most celebrated Holiday in America and globally. It’s a Christian-based holiday observing the birth of Jesus Christ, and it’s celebrated by more than 85 percent of Americans and about ⅔ of the global population – which translates to roughly 2.3 billion people! Although Christmas is the most popular holiday around the world, did you know that more than three other major holidays are observed in December?
Kwanzaa is a multicultural Holiday that is African based and begins on the 26th of December – when directly translated, Kwanzaa means “first fruit” in Swahili. It was founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 in Los Angela after researching the different harvest celebrations that emphasized cultural appreciation and combined traditions as the basis. That’s why observers of Kwanzaa have the freedom to choose how they want to celebrate. Still, similarly to Christmas, it’s commonly celebrated by enjoying traditional foods with families and friends, dancing, and storytelling.
Hanukka, or Chanuka, is a Jewish holiday that begins in late November or early December. During the celebration period, the Jews commemorate the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, which the Jews recaptured from their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the second century B.C. Also known as the Festival of Light, Hanukka translated means “dedication,” and it technically begins on the 25th of the Kislev on the Hebrew calendar– which is the third month of the civil year and the ninth month of the Ecclesiastical year.
Most of the Holidays we discussed are faith-based; however, Yule is a pagan holiday celebrating the winter solstice and nature. Yule is the most important Norse holiday, and it’s celebrated over twelve days – fun fact: the song Twelve days of Christmas originates from the Norse, who celebrated Yule in the 1500s! Even though Yule is pagan, it still shares many similar traditions to Christmas; for example, those who celebrate it will decorate trees or hang up a wreath and share a “harvest” meal with family and friends. The close similarities also make pagan participants interchangeably refer to Yule as Christmas and celebrate them both.