As the December holidays approach, the thoughts of delicious food, bundles of shining and shimmering presents, along with a good amount of family fun start to fill the air. Some folks may just picture Christmas and New Years as the only holidays celebrated during the winter months. But in reality, there are so many other types of celebrations throughout different cultures that take place at the same time! So Hope Out Loud (HOL) is going to take you on a whirlwind tour to sample and experience the various winter events that take place amongst our diverse community! Please read on to check out 5 December holidays celebrated throughout the world!

  1. Christmas: Although Christmas is known for the anticipation of the beloved jolly, old Saint Nick squeezing down chimneys with a bag full of gifts, it is also known where children around the world place cookies and milk for Santa in efforts to stay on his “nice” list. Many children believe that Santa comes riding from the North Pole on his sleigh to provide good little boys and girls with presents and treats. Although this story  is well-known to many, it is far from the only tale.  For instance, in Hawaii, it is said that Santa arrives by boat. In Australia he comes splashing in on water skies and in Ghana, Santa jumps out of the jungle with a bag filled with goodies. Regardless of how Santa arrives, we all love the fact that he brings awesome gifts!
  2. Hanukkah: While Christmas is most celebrated throughout  the world, the Jewish culture celebrates Hanukkah. It is a historical holiday that celebrates Maccabee’s victory over King Antiochus, a ruler who forbade Jews to practice their religion. In honor of this victory, an eight day celebration takes place. Each day is filled with prayer, laughter and games with the dreidl along with delicious food, being with family, and the traditional lighting of the menorah.
  3. Winter Solstice: People in the Northern Hemisphere celebrates the Winter Solstice. It is known as the shortest day of the year and can land on either December 20, 21, 22, or 23. This holiday is celebrated with bonfires and candles as it was once said that the light and warmth drawn from these objects would persuade the sun to stay a little longer.
  4. Kwanzaa: This African holiday is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st. Friends and family gather together and commemorate this day with time spent filled with laughter, stories, and the lighting of the black, red, and green candles. Kwanzaa is a holiday that honors the seven basic values of African-American family life:
    1. Unity
    2. Self-Determination
    3. Collective Work and Responsibility
    4. Cooperative Economics
    5. Purpose
    6. Creativity
    7. Faith
  5. New Year’s: The first day of the year! The first few minutes of the new year is a night filled with fireworks to symbolize a fresh start. Although fireworks are a common tradition, it is not the only one! In the Southern region of the US, to bring forth a fresh start, they complement it with their new year’s appetizer comprised of black-eye peas. Although we love some Black Eyed Peas to dance to in the new year, we’re talking about flavoring up these legumes with a touch of molasses, meat, tomato and any other delectable delights to consume at midnight. Because when you do this in the South, you are ushering in a new year filled with prosperity and good luck! So you can’t go wrong, reach nicely across the table and ask your loved ones to pass over dem black-eyed peas!

To learn more about Winter Holidays: Click Here!