There’s a wide variety of holidays to help wrap up the year celebrating with family and friends. Developing a greater awareness and understanding of different holidays this season is an important first step to respecting all traditions. It’s essential to be aware that everyone celebrates different holidays based on their unique cultural and religious beliefs.
Few months present as many multicultural celebrations as December. From the most well known holidays like Christmas and Haunukkah to Ōmisoka and Rohatsu, the last month before the new year is accompanied by celebrations all over the world. Take a look at several popular holidays below!
Christmas is celebrated all over the world, by many different countries, cultures, and yet they majorly follow similar traditions of the Christian roots. In countries like Mexico, Christmas celebrations can last up to three weeks. It kicks off with the celebration of the birth of the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 12 and ends with Three Kings day on January 6. On Three Kings Day, children can wake up to presents left in their shoes just like the offerings brought to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. This is a bit different than customs followed in the U.S., as it is a generally celebrated holiday, and many observe Christmas Day without any religious influences. We also like to celebrate it mostly on the day of Christmas here, spent with family and friends opening presents, while Christmas Eve tends to be the main day of celebration in Latin American countries.
Hanukkah is celebrated in the Jewish religion as a celebration of the end of the Maccabean Revolt and the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. While many are familiar with the Menorah, did you know that during the first celebration it was said that there was only enough oil to keep the candles lit for a single day, yet the flames continued to burn for eight days and nights?! Because of this, the Menorah has remained a tradition, lighting a candle for every night of celebration until the eighth day when all candles are lit. Hanukkah is celebrated with families for all eight days, including the singing of Hanukkah songs, playing games such as the dreidel, and eating traditional potato latkes. Here at A&M, a large-scale Menorah currently sits in Rudder Plaza for the entirety of Hanukkah for all the students and faculty of campus to observe from November 28 until December 6.