December Global Holidays: The winter holidays are upon us. If you’re reading this from somewhere with snow on the ground, you might already be settled in for a cozy season of hot chocolate and carols. But if not, fear not! The celebrations we all look forward to every year are just about to begin. Even if your family isn’t celebrating them where you live, these festive days — that mark the end of another year and a new beginning — are universal. They bring people together, spark joyous rituals, and give us all an excuse to eat LOTS of sweets.
This December is packed with dates marking a variety of traditions. You may have heard of some… activities like Halloween (Oct 31), Thanksgiving (Nov 22), or Hanukkah (Dec 12-20) but there are many more than that. From red pandas to candy canes, here is everything you need to know about all the December Holidays Around the World
Kwanzaa: December 26-January 1
Westerners are most familiar with Kwanzaa, an African American holiday, but African Americans and others who wish to celebrate black history and culture are equally involved. This 7-day celebration occurs in December, from the 26th to the 1st of January. Unlike most other holidays, Kwanzaa does not have a fixed date each year. Instead, it is based on the Gregorian calendar’s harvest cycle, which means it lands on a different date each year. Kwanzaa holiday is celebrated by lighting a candle each day for seven days There are seven candles on the Kwanzaa kinara, a candelabra used to hold these candles, each one representing one of the core principles of the African American culture.
Ramadan: December 15-January 2
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, in which Muslims around the world fast during daylight hours, sunrise to sunset. These are special days of worship and reflection, and more importantly, charity. During this month, Muslims donate money to those in need and feed the hungry and poor. The goal of Ramadan is self-purification, and preparation for the high holy days of Eid al-Fitr, the celebration that marks the end of the month. Fasting is meant to help us become more self-disciplined, charitable, and grateful. It is a time when families and friends come together to break the daily fast with a meal called iftar.
Christmas: December 25
For most of us, Christmas is a time to gather with family, exchange gifts, and light candles. It is a season of festivals full of traditions. Only a fraction of the world’s population is Christian, so Christmas is a celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. Celebrated every year on 25 December, the custom of exchanging gifts has its roots in the gift-giving tradition of the three wise men who traveled from the Middle East to Bethlehem to visit baby Jesus.
Hurmmalyan Celebrations: Dec 31 – Jan 1
Hurmmalyan celebrated on New Year’s Eve across. It is a time to remember those loved ones who have passed away and to welcome the New Year with hope and optimism for the future. It is customary to stay up all night to welcome the New Year, eating delicious foods, lighting fireworks, and watching live shows. A new year is a perfect time to start new traditions, like going to a new place every year and making new friends or adding a new hobby to your life. There is no better time to start a new chapter in your life than the beginning of a new year.
Hindu New Year & Diwali: Jan 29 – Feb 10
Diwali, the festival of lights, marks the end of the Hindu New Year. celebrated in the autumn all over India, and by Hindus all over the world. Diwali is a celebration of good overcoming evil, light overcoming darkness, and knowledge overcoming ignorance. Homes and temples are decorated with candles and lights during this celebration. Families clean their homes, make new clothes, and give gifts to each other. They also make special sweets and savories called “sweets”.
Holidays are always great times to gather with your loved ones, break bread, and celebrate the year that was. They also create opportunities for new traditions, so whether you’re celebrating a December holiday for the first time or welcoming a new one into your life, you can bring a little extra joy and sparkle into your life. These holidays vary in traditions, foods, and rituals, but they all bring people together, spark joyous rituals, and give us all an excuse to eat LOTS of sweets. They also provide us with the opportunity to try something new, meet new people, and create new memories. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season!
Shabbat and Hanukkah: December-January (8 days)
Observant Jews observe Shabbat, which takes place on Saturday. Because Shabbat occurs on Saturday, it’s frequently extended to the following day, making for a long weekend. During Shabbat, Jews who follow the faith do not work, even if not all of them are involved in cooking, driving, or turning on the lights or the television. During Hanukkah, Jewish families gather for a festive meal known as a seder, in which they light candles and eat fried donuts and potato pancakes. Since it takes eight days for the menorah’s flames to burn out and go out, Hanukkah lasts for eight days.
The winter holidays are upon us! Whether you’re celebrating Kwanzaa or Christmas, or something else, these festive days bring people together, spark joyous rituals, and give us all an excuse to eat LOTS of sweets. With the list above, you can prepare yourself and make the most of your holiday season!