Thursday, December 18, 2008

December: Month of Holidays

Are you looking forward to winter break? I am.
And what better month than December?

In anticipation of my own vacation from the diner, I’m going to list a sampling of the holidays that take place in December and some tidbits I've learned about them.






December: Month of Holidays



1. Rosa Park’s Day, December 1. You may have missed it, but it’s a significant date. Despite the tradition at the time, Rosa Louise Parks refused to give up her seat to a white male passenger on a Montgomery (Ala.) bus. It happened Dec. 1, 1955, and her bold move jump-started the long overdue civil rights movement in America.





2. St. Nicholas Day, December 6. Did you and your family observe it? Saint Nicholas actually was a real person who lived in Myra in what is now Turkey. He loved giving secret gifts. December 6 is the day of his death. There are many different traditions for celebrating St. Nicholas, but I’m most familiar with filling children’s stockings with candy and small gifts.





3. Eid’ul Adha, December 8. Also called “The Festival of Sacrifice,” it commemorates Abraham’s attempt to sacrifice his son, Isaac. (Remember the Biblical story?)

4. Poinsettia Day, December 12. This is the date of Joel Roberts Poinsett’s death. He’s the person credited with introducing the poinsettia to the United States, from Mexico.









5. Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, also December 12.
It’s one of the most important holidays in Mexico and it celebrates Mother Mary’s (the Virgin of Guadalupe) visitation to a man named Juan Diego in 1531. The Virgin asked to have a church built on the nearby hill so she could be closer to her people.

6. St. Lucia’s Day, December 13. St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated in many parts of Scandinavia to remember an Italian woman who became the patron saint of light. Usually a daughter in the celebrating household dresses in white robes and wears a crown of candles on her head. She serves her family either breakfast or sweets. Bet you didn’t know about this holiday.

7. Beethoven’s Birthday, December 16. This great German composer was born in Bonn in 1770.

8. Hanukkah, December 21st to December 29th.
Also known as the “Festival of Lights,” Hanukkah recalls the miracle God granted in keeping the temple candles burning after the Maccabees freed and re-dedicated the temple in Jerusalem. (The Maccabees had only enough oil to keep the candles lit for a day, yet the candles burned for eight long days.)

9. Winter Solstice, Dec. 21. Well, it isn’t exactly a holiday, but it gets plenty of attention. The solstice takes place on the shortest day of the year, when there’s more night than day in the Northern Hemisphere. There are many different ways of observing the solstice, but most involve a bit of time spent in reflection.

10. Christmas, December 25. As we all know, this is the world’s celebration of the birth of Jesus -- by non-orthodox Christians. (Orthodox Christians believe Jesus’ birthday falls on a different date.) Christmas, of course, also is the long-awaited day that children await a visit from Santa Claus.

11. Boxing Day, December 16. This is a holiday where people visit friends and give gifts to those who work with and or for them.

12. Kwanzaa, December 26 to Jan. 1.This holiday honors African heritage and is marked by participants lighting a Kinara (candle holder) every day. Ron Karenga started Kwanzaa in 1966.

13. New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31. Are you ready to celebrate? With the economy is such tough shape, maybe we ought to resist kicking up our heels! As you’re well aware, New Year’s Eve celebrates both the ending of the old year and the start of the new one. Who knows what’s ahead in 2009. …


I’m just learning about many of these December events. Have I missed any key holidays or special occasions? And have I overlooked an important element of any of these celebrations? Feel free to enlighten me. I’m eager to learn.
Thanks – and Merry Christmas.








27 comments:

  1. December 8th is also a holy day of obligation in Roman Catholic tradition, celebrating Mary being conceived without sin.

    And yep! I knew about St. Lucia, too.

    ;)

    Talia

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  2. This is a great list! Thanks.

    Happy TT!

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  3. I didn't know some of those. Thanks for the informative list.

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  4. There sure are a lot of holidays in December!!!

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  5. I'm Swedish, I dressed up as St. Lucia once when I was a little girl. :-)

    Cool list of celebrations! Thanks for sharing.

    Francesca

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  6. Very cool list of December dates.

    Merry Christmas from She Lives!

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  7. Francesca,
    I'd no idea you were St. Lucia once. I'm Danish, but I didn't learn about this holiday until I was an adult. Too bad, I know I would have loved wearing the dress and the candles.

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  8. Would the Advent fall into your list category? It's something our family does that wasn't on the list. Very interesting...thanks...and Happy Thursday!

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  9. I thought every day in December was poinsettia day.

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  10. Hmmm... If memory serves, St. Nicholas sadly has the dubious title of Patron Saint of... um... "Ladies of the Evening". (Think word that rhymes with "Mores".) This is because of the dowry paid for the "Three Virgins"... granted, he's also the Patron Saint of Pawnbrokers, and the "three gold balls" you might see on a pawnbrokers' sign is a relation to the same story...

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  11. I didn't realize that Pointsettia Day was different from the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Great list!

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  12. Hogmanay! (a.k.a. New year's Eve in Scotland.) you can read about it here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogmanay

    Or watch a silly video here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UGnUhfkCbU

    If you want to watch the Solstice at Newgrange, you may do so here -
    http://www.servecast.com/opw/211208/index.html

    Cool list!

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  13. Great idea for T13.

    Happy Holidays to you.

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  14. That's a great list! I hadn't heard of a few of those.

    Happy TT!!

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  15. Great list! I will say that my family did celebrate St. Lucia day for a few years. We had four girls and we were into the American Girls books and learned about it through the Kierten books. It was fun!

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  16. I've never heard of Hogmanay, but I will follow your links and look it up. Thanks.

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  17. Pretty cool list. Never knew about the Festival of Sacrifice. To echo Talia Pente, that holy day of obligation is called the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and is also my cousin's birthday :)

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  18. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Susan

    http://www.car-insurance-choices.com

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  19. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Susan

    http://www.car-insurance-choices.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. I never knew Beethoven was a Sagittarian! But with all that talent, I guess he'd have to be.

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  21. So much to celebrate! St. Nicholas and St. Lucia are on my list of days to remember just happened. And the solstice I make time for. The others are nice to learn about. Thanks for the scoop!

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  22. So many celebrations! I just read about Rosa Parks (a book about her story) but I didn't know it was in December.

    Great list.

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  23. Wonderful TT. I love your list and have learned something from reading it. Thanks for visiting my TT.

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