Christmas is one of the biggest and well-known holidays in the world, being globally recognized by majority of the countries across the world. But the Yuletide celebrations isn't the only big holiday bash people are celebrating during the vacation time. Here are a few other Christmas-like events people celebrate:
Kwanzaa (Dec 26 to Jan 1)
Kwanzaa is a special event celebrated by the African-American community that focuses on celebrating the beauty of African culture. Families can celebrate any way they want but most of the time it's celebrated with songs, poems, drum-playing, storytelling, and a big meal. There is a tradition where seven candles on a Kinara (candleholder) are lighted by a child for seven nights while one of the seven principles are talked about in each one.
Diwali (Varies by year)
The Diwali or The Festival of Light has varying dates, but most of them fall within the winter season or close to it (like October). As the name implies, the people of India revere Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. They do this by setting up earthenware oil lamps in public places, houses, and shops. The lights would supposedly lead the goddess to these places. They also celebrate one of the Diwali legends about the return of Rama and Sita to their kingdom after an exile of fourteen years. This day is as important to the Hindu people as Christmas is to the Catholics.
Hanukkah (Varies by year, usually in November or December)
This Jewish tradition is an 8-day commemoration of Judaism. Families take out a menorah, a type of candelabra that holds 9 candles, one of them called the shamash which will be used to light up all the other 8. These flames are lighted up one after the other for each night of the entire celebration. A traditional melody is often sung during the lighting.
Chinese New Year (1st day of the 1st month in the traditional Chinese calendar)
This is one of China’s most important social events of the year, a time to bring the family together for feasting while honoring the household, familial ancestors, and heavenly deities. Since adopting the western calendar, the Chinese New Year has become a totally different thing from the New Year that begins on the 1st of January. The focus on family is so important, a large percentage of businesses often come to a halt.
Las Posadas (Dec 16 to 24)
A 9-day holiday celebrated in Spain, Mexico, Guatemala, and in the Southwest of the US, Los Posadas is a Catholic-based holiday. But despite its roots, many branches of religious Latinos celebrate it as well. It is celebrated with a procession led by a candle protected by a paper lantern for 9 days, representing Mary’s nine months of pregnancy. The people following this procession will stop from house to house to pray for the family and their home, signifying Mary and Joseph’s journey from inn to inn for lodging, before they reach the eventual nativity.
Do you have friends you want to celebrate these fun wintertime holidays with? Always make sure you follow the traditions of each event properly so as to avoid quarrels with the cultures that take them to heart. With a little responsibility and some help from people who know what they’re doing, you can experience these culturally rich events yourself.