It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and many other celebrations of faith, culture and blessings.
December truly is a month of holidays.
On Dec. 8, Buddhists celebrated Bodhi Day which commemorates Buddha’s attainment of understanding. Celebrations of Bodhi Day are quiet. Celebrants meditate, study the teachings of Buddha, chant and hold services. Some may decorate a Bodhi tree, string up colorful lights to represent the paths to enlightenment or celebrate with a traditional meal of rice and milk.
Hanukkah began at sundown Dec. 10. The festival is observed for eight nights and days and may begin at any time in late November to late December. Typically, a menorah is used during this celebration to note the days with lighted candles. The holiday commemorates Jewish victory that ended a three-year period of religious persecution and restored Jewish independence.
Fiesta de Guadalupe Feast, Dec. 12, honored Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint. The day commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to a Mexican peasant named Juan Diego in 1531. Candles, food and song are part of this celebration.
The shortest day of the year, Dec. 21, is also one of the oldest celebrations in the world. Yule is a Pagan holiday celebrating the Winter Solstice. It begins at sundown and ends on Jan. 1. The holiday itself revolves around thanking gods and goddesses for blessings and the change of seasons.
Of course there is Christmas Dec. 25, which celebrates the birth of Jesus.
Kwanzaa closes the month from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. This annual celebration of Africa-American culture and tribute to African festivals of harvest has been practiced since the mid-1960s. It celebrates seven different principles of building community, including unity, self-determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. Families might decorate, light a candle each day and reflect on each principle, enjoy a feast, exchange gifts, reflect and play drums and other music.
However you celebrate this festive time of year, we wish you and your family health, happiness and peace.