I know I have not been as regular as I like to be on my blog these past couple of months. I have had some personal and professional developments that have required my attention more than usual. Whichever holiday you and your families celebrate this time of year, I hope it is wonderful, meaningful and peaceful for you. Thank you for your readership and I look forward to sharing more frequently with you as we move into the new year.
For fun, did you know that during the month of December, all of the following holidays are celebrated?Buddhism
Advent: four Sundays preceding Christmas Day
Krampusnacht: 5 December – The Feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated in parts of Europe on 6 December. In Alpine countries, Saint Nicholas has a devilish companion named Krampus who punishes the bad children the night before.
Saint Nicholas‘ Day: 6 December
Feast of the Immaculate Conception Day: 8 December – The day of Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception is celebrated as a public holiday in many Catholic countries.
Saint Lucia’s Day: 13 December – Church Feast Day. Saint Lucia comes as a young woman with lights and sweets.
Christmas Eve: 24 December – In many countries e.g. the German speaking countries, but also in Poland, Hungary and the Nordic countries, gift giving is on 24 December.
Anastasia of Sirmium feast day: 25 December
Twelve Days of Christmas: 25 December–6 January
Saint Stephen’s Day: 26 December – In Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic a holiday celebrated as Second Day of Christmas.
Saint John the Evangelist‘s Day: 27 December
Holy Innocents‘ Day: 28 December
Saint Sylvester‘s Day: 31 DecemberHinduism
Pancha Ganapati: a modern five-day Hindu festival celebrated from December 21 through 25 in honor of Ganesha.Judaism
Hanukkah: usually falls anywhere between late November and early January. See “movable”Paganism
Yalda: 21 December – The turning point, Winter Solstice. As the longest night of the year and the beginning of the lengthening of days, Shabe Yaldā or Shabe Chelle is an Iranian festival celebrating the victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil. Shabe yalda means ‘birthday eve.’ According to Persian mythology, Mithra was born at dawn on 22 December to a virgin mother. He symbolizes light, truth, goodness, strength, and friendship. Herodotus reports that this was the most important holiday of the year for contemporary Persians. In modern times Persians celebrate Yalda by staying up late or all night, a practice known as Shab Chera meaning ‘night gazing’. Fruits and nuts are eaten, especially pomegranates and watermelons, whose red color invokes the crimson hues of dawn and symbolize Mithra.
International Day of Disabled Persons: 3rd of December
Boxing Day: 26 December.
Human Rights Day: 10 December
Dongzhi Festival – a celebration of Winter
Hogmanay: night of 31 December–before dawn of 1 January – Scottish New Year’s Eve celebration
Newtonmas: 25 December – As an alternative to celebrating the religious holiday Christmas, some atheists and skeptics have chosen to celebrate December 25 as Newtonmas, due to it being Isaac Newton’s birthday on the old style date.
Soyal: 21 December – Zuni and Hopi
Solstice: On or about 21 December.
Watch Night: 31 December
Salgirah: December 13th – celebration of Shia Ismaili Muslims of their Imam (Aga Khan IV)Unitarian Universalism
This is why Happy Holidays is a nice way to wish everyone the best of the season if you are not sure which holiday they celebrate. If you’d like to wish someone with their specific holiday greeting, just ask. It’s a simple and thoughtful way to recognize the diveristy of our world and to help bridge divides that really should not seperate us.