5 Fun Facts about 5 Holiday Celebrations

Christmas

December 25, 2014

  1. Christmas is celebrated as the day Christians associate with the birth of the Lord’s son, Jesus
  2. Christmas traditions include Christmas trees, gift-giving, family dinners, Santa Claus and caroling
  3. An estimated 1 of 3 people worldwide celebrate Christmas
  4. Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce
  5. Traditionally, Santa Claus brings gifts to boys and girls with good behavior. This promotes boys and girls to always be on their best behavior because Santa Claus is watching

Hannukah

December 16, 2014 – December 24, 2014

  1. It is celebrated for eight days in honor of the victory of the Maccabees against religious oppression
  2. In Hebrew, Hannukahmeans ‘dedication’ or ‘consecration’
  3. Hannukahalso serves as remembrance of the ‘miracle of the oil’, a miracle in which one flask of oil lasted for eight days of continuous use to light the menorah
  4. Hannukahcustoms include eating latkes and jelly donuts, as well as spinning dreidels, lighting a menorah and giving children money to teach them how to spend wisely
  5. A dreidelhas four letters on it –‘non, gimel, hei, and shin’, which form an acronym for the message of Hannukah: ‘a great miracle happened here’

Kwanzaa

December 26, 2014 – January 1, 2015

  1. Kwanzaa was created by Dr. MaulanaKarengain 1966 to celebrate family, culture and heritage
  2. There are seven principles and seven primary symbols that emphasize a unique set of values and ideals during the seven days of Kwanzaa
  3. For each day of Kwanzaa, one candle is lit. The colors of the candles are red, black and green, which are a reflection of the Pan-African movement
  4. Kwanzaa is a cultural (rather than religious) holiday & honors African heritage in African-American culture
  5. Traditionally, on the last day of Kwanzaa parents give gifts to children that are artistic and/or educational in nature

Seven Principles of Kwanzaa:

  1. Umoja-Unity
  2. Kujichagulia-Self-Determination
  3. Ujima-Collective Work & Responsibility
  4. Nia-Purpose
  5. Ujamaa-Cooperative Economics
  6. Kuumba-Creativity
  7. Imani-Faith

Mawlid an-Nabi

January 2, 2015

  1. Mawlid is celebrated by Muslims during the third month Rabiuwal, the third month of the Muslim calendar
  2. Celebrated in association with the birth of Muhammad, the prophet of the Muslim faith. However, not all Muslims celebrate this holiday
  3. Often celebrated in a carnival matter. Street processions are held and homes as well as mosques are decorated. Food is also distributed widely
  4. Charity is a popular activity on this day. Family gatherings are also common, resulting in feasts, with food being given to family and the poor
  5. Stories about the life of Prophet Muhammad are narrated and devotional poetry is recited. One of the most popular poems recited during Mawlid isQasidaal-BurdaSharif, a poem composed in the 13th century in praise of the Prophet Muhammad

Lunar New Year

February 19, 2015

  1. The Lunar New Year lasts 15 days and is celebrate among various cultures: Chinese, Vietnamese, Korea, and many other countries
  2. Symbolism and superstitions surround Lunar New Year celebrations. Some traditions include cleaning, putting of posters of door gods on front doors, fireworks, and a ten course family dinner
  3. People typically wear red clothing as it is believed to ward off evil spirits
  4. An ancient tradition called Hong Baowill also take place, and married couples will give children and unmarried adults money in red envelopes
  5. Sweets are a necessity for the Lunar New Year. They sweeten up prospects for the coming year