~ Fatima, LNMC Student Employee
During December, it’s hard not to be met with sparkling lights and decorations commemorating that Christmas day is slowly approaching. You may hear people wishing others a ‘Happy Holidays!’ to include the many celebrations that occur in December but did you know about the many other holidays celebrated during this month?
December 8th – Bodhi Day (Buddhism)
Bodhi Day is a Buddhist Holiday that occurs on the 8th day of the 12th lunar month which honours the day that Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama, experienced enlightenment. Traditions on this day may vary among different sects of Buddhism but services commemorate it as a day of remembrance and meditation. On this day, individuals may decorate their homes or a ficus tree with lights, eat milk-rice and recite percepts.
December 12th-14th – Mawlid al Nabi (Islam)
Mawlid al Nabi is an Islamic holiday celebrated on the 12th day of Rabi’ al-awwal, the 3rd month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is to celebrate the birthday of prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). The celebration of the Holy Prophet marks a day of praying, gift exchanging and recitation of poetry that may go from Dec 12th-14th.
December 21st – Yule/Winter Solstice (Wiccan/Pagan)
Yule is commemorated by Wiccans and Pagans on the day of Winter Solstice which marks the rebirth of the sun. It is symbolic of the shortest day, when there is the least amount of daylight and marks the increase in hours of daylight until the Summer Solstice. Individuals gather to spend time with family and friends, exchange gifts and honour the sun on this day.
December 25th-January 1st – Hanukkah (Jewish)
The eight day festival of light is a Jewish celebration to remember the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Hanukkah starts on the 25th of Kislev (on the Jewish calendar) which occurs around the same time as December so it varies every year. On each of the eight nights, individuals light a candle in a special menorah called a “hanukkiyah” using a special ninth candle called the “shammash”. During the lighting, a special blessing to thank God is sad and a Jewish hymn is often sung afterwards. During this time, individuals may also gather as family to celebrate and give gifts to one another.
December 26th-January 1st – Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday and was created to honour the values of ancient African cultures and inspire African Americans. Kwanzaa lasts for 7 days, each day honouring one of the 7 different principles of Kwanzaa which are believed to be key to building strong communities and families. The 7 principles are umoja, kujichagulia, ujima, ujamaa, nia, kuumba and Imani. To look further into their meanings, you can read more at http://www.infoplease.com/spot/kwanzaa1.html. On Dec 31st, families gather for the great feast of Karamu.
Whether you celebrate a holiday during December or not, we hope you have a wonderful December and a relaxing holiday break!
Kelly - Library Media Assistant