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  • Writer's pictureLisa Perry

"It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year"

Updated: May 2, 2023

December, a month that encompasses the Christian and Jewish celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah, includes spiritually significant days for Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans and Zoroastrians.

I have found a fascinating list of celebrations that occur during December:

- The Jewish festival of Hanukkah begins at sunset on the 2nd of December and continues for seven more nights. It is a commemoration of an effort to restore the Temple in Jerusalem after a period of desecration. Faithful Jews found only enough oil to light the temple lamp for one day, but the flame burned for eight.

- The 6th of December is The feast of St. Nicholas. Some Christians revere the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a Greek province in Asia Minor. His reputation for piety may have inspired the legend of Santa Claus. The tradition of leaving gifts for children on St. Nicholas Day began in the Low Countries and spread to North America with Dutch immigrants.

- On 8th Of December the Roman Catholics observe the feast of the Immaculate Conception, believing that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born without sin.

- 13th of December is St Lucia Day - also called the Feast of Saint Lucia. It is a Christian feast day commemorating Sant Lucia, who according to legend brought 'food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs" using a candle-lit wreath to "light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible".

-Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honour of the god Saturn, held on 17 December

- 21st of December is Yalda, the Zoroastrian celebration of the winter solstice. Yule or Juul, a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia, featured fires lit to symbolize the heat, light and life-giving properties of the returning sun. Wiccans and other pagan groups celebrate Yule.

- 25th of December - Christmas, observed by Christians since the Middle Ages as the birth of Jesus. Some Orthodox Christians follow a different calendar, and for them Christmas may fall on a different date.

- 26th of December: Zoroastrians observe the death of the prophet Zarathushtra, known in the West as Zoroaster. Tradition says he lived in what is now Iran in about 1200 B.C. His teachings include the idea of one eternal God; seven powerful creations: sky, water, earth, plants, animals, humans and fire; and that life is a struggle between good and evil.

- 26th of December is also the starting date for Kwanzaa, a weeklong, modern African-American and pan-African celebration of family, community and culture. For some people who keep Kwanzaa, the festival has spiritual overtones in its emphasis on imani, Swahili for “faith.”

- 26th of December is Boxing Day. This is celebrated on the first day after Christmas Day. Some say the name is a reference to holiday gifts; a ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master of the household. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.

- Omisoka, is a Japanese traditional celebration held on the last day of the year. Traditionally, it was held on the final day of the 12th lunar month. With Japan's switch to the Gregorian calendar at the beginning of the Meiji era, December 31 is now used for the celebration

With at least one of these exciting festivals to look forward to, December is going to be a busy (and expensive) time of the year. So spend wisely and remember that time with your loved ones is the best present anyone can give!!!

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