Here Come the Holidays!

There are so many celebrations and traditions that take place during the holiday season. We wanted to highlight a few; Leave a comment about your favorite holiday traditions!

Christmas

During the month of December there is a holiday amongst Christian’s and non-Christians with a main celebration on December 25th, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  Throughout the month lights are put on the houses and in the greenery, Christmas trees are placed in the houses and decorated with various ornaments.   Other typical decorations that can be seen are angels, stockings, and nativity scenes as well as the colors green and red.  On December 25th families awake to gifts underneath the Christmas tree and then partake in a meal with family and friends, which usually consist of a turkey or ham, mash potatoes, bread, along with other meal favorites and a famous fruit cake for dessert.

Kwanzaa

For those who wish to celebrate the African American heritage and culture, Kwanzaa starts on December 26th and ends on January 1st.  During this time they light candles from a candle holder called a Kinara and participate in a gift giving on the last day of the celebration.  Each candle has a different meaning relating to each reason for the celebration.  The colors of the holiday, which are green, red, and black, can be seen  on everything from the candles, mats, and traditional clothing that they wear such as the Dashiki and Kaftan.

Hanukkah

In late December is the holiday of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, which is celebrated by all those who are a part of the Jewish religion.  It is celebrated for eight days to commemorate the rededication of the holy temple in Jerusalem.  Each night a candle is lit from a traditional candle holder called a menorah with a ninth candle in the middle used for lighting all the other eight.  After each candle lighting a song is sung titled Maoz Tzur, which is sung after each candle is lit.  During the celebration it is custom to eat foods fried or baked in oil to commemorate the miracle of a small flask of oil keeping the flame in the Temple alight for eight days.  Also during this time children will play a game with a small toy, usually wooden, called a dreidel.

Pancha Ganapati

Pancha Ganapati is a five day Hindu festival celebrated from December 21 through 25 in celebration of Lord Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture.  Because of the festival’s importance as a new beginning and mending of all past mistakes, a shrine is created in the main living room of the home and decorated in the spirit of this festive occasion. At the center of the shrine is placed a large wooden or bronze five-faced statue of Lord Pancha Ganapati or a large picture or statue of Lord Ganesha.  Each day the children with decorate Ganesha a new and different color: golden yellow on December 21, then royal blue, ruby red, emerald green and finally brilliant orange, each representing one of his different powers.  Each day gifts are given to the children, who place them before Pancha Ganapati to open only on the fifth day.

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