December Holidays

Three big holidays are celebrated in December and among the most popular of them is Christmas.
Christmas is celebrated on 25 December. It is a holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who, according to the Christian religion, is the son of God. The name is a joining of “Christ” and “mass” which means the holy mass (supper, celebration, or festival) of Christ.

Santa (guardians) give kids presents. This is supposed to represent Jesus giving his presents away. People decorate their houses in red and green to show their spirit for Christmas. They buy trees with tonsils, string lights, popcorn lines, ornaments, and a topping that sits at the top of the tree. There used to be a lot more meaning to Christmas and it’s still there for some people, but for most, it’s just a holiday about presents. Christmas is a Christian holiday, while Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday.

Hanukkah begins on the evening of Sunday, November 28, and ends on the evening of
Monday, December 6 this year. “Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that reaffirms the ideals of Judaism and commemorates, in particular, the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by the lighting of candles on each day of the festival.” (Britannica) Hanukkah lasts for eight nights to show how long the holy light burned. Every night between November 28th and December 6th, you light a candle. You give a gift every night of Hanukkah, although gifts were not always what you gave other people. You used to give money but as Christmas became more popular, more Jewish people started giving gifts instead of money. There is a main dish that people cook or buy to eat together for the eight nights of Hanukkah. Unlike what people might think, Hanukkah isn’t an important holiday to Jewish people.

The last holiday that isn’t really considered a holiday is Kwanzaa. In 2021, Kwanzaa will begin on Sunday, December 26, and end on Saturday, January 1, 2022. Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture. “Though often thought of as an alternative to Christmas, many people actually celebrate both. ‘Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but a cultural one with an inherent spiritual quality,’ Karenga writes.”(HISTORY) Each candle represents something. Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). Kwanzaa also has seven symbols–mazao (crops), mkeka (mat), kinara (candleholder), muhindi (corn), kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup), Zawadi (gifts), and mishumaa saba (seven candles). Their candles aren’t random colors for no reason. Three of the seven candles are red, representing the struggle; three of the candles are green, representing the land and hope for the future; and one of the candles is Black, representing people of African descent. People try to give more homemade gifts than store-bought gifts on Kwanzaa. This “holiday” was made to celebrate African Americans’ pasts. “Corn (Muhindi) is a tribute to fertility, with an ear of corn for each child in the household. Lastly, gifts (Zawadi) adorn the table. These are reserved for children and are usually handmade or contain some cultural value, like a historical book or heritage symbol.” (Oprah Daily) Kwanzaa is a time to be thankful for what you have. To me, this holiday has the most meaning. As said earlier, Kwanzaa is for African Americans to celebrate their culture because they didn’t always have the money or the freedom to celebrate Christmas.

Just to show how bad humankind is, Boxing day is a holiday that takes place right after the 25 landing on the 26th. It was originally a holiday where you could give gifts to the poor, but now it’s a holiday which is primarily known as a shopping holiday. (Black Friday but after Christmas) “…when the rich used to box up gifts to give to the poor. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants, and the day when they received a special Christmas box from their masters. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give Christmas boxes to their families.” According to the British Broadcasting Channel.

With these three holidays coming up, you now know the meaning of each tradition. Have fun celebrating with friends and family, and consider giving presents to the homeless.

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