As we make our way into the heart of holiday season, thoughts of Christmas presents, Menorahs, and kinaras may come to mind. No doubt that thanks to family traditions and history, it is common to associate certain holidays with December. However, around the world and throughout time, many different holidays have been celebrated in this month. Largely thanks to the winter solstice, the day when the daylight is shortest and nighttime is longest; December has been a month of festivals for a very long time. And while Christmas Is great and all, a wide variety of equally interesting holidays have and still do take place during this month and shy of many peoples’ eye. Below are just ten of the numerous holidays that will soon be celebrated around the globe.
Photo by debmercury
1.) Winter Solstice
Commemorate the winter solstice at the Maughanby Stone Circle in Cumbria
. Long Meg, the tallest rock in the circle, aligns with the setting sun on December 21. Celebrated by many ancient cultures, this day represents the shortest daylight and longest night in the northern hemisphere.
2.) Bodhi Day
“Even though the flesh falls from my bones and the bones themselves crack, I will not get up from this seat until I have attained supreme and perfect enlightenment!” declared Siddhartha Gautama many years ago. This became the mantra for Bodhi Day, celebrating Siddhartha’s transformation into Buddha. Celebrate Bodhi Day (Day of Awakening) on the 8th by meditating and studying Dharma. This Buddhist holiday encourages one to find inner calm and do acts of kindness towards others. Participants are encourage to find true kindness and meaning in life on this day, and exercise it for the rest of the year.
Photo by azsunluvr
In many parts of the Caribbean
, Junkanoo takes place near the end of December. This festival allows the people of the islands to dress in traditional clothing and take part in parades and parties. The festival commemorates the freeing of slaves in the islands.
The Persian holiday of Yalda is celebrated in Iran
by dressing in traditional Persian clothing. The eve of Yalda celebrates the birth of the sun god Mithra, symbolizing kindness and strength on earth. Like many holidays, most of the religious meaning of this holiday is lost in present-day society, and the holiday is used as a time to visit and enjoy the company of one’s family and friends. This holiday follows the Persian calendar but generally falls on or a few days before the winter solstice.
Photo by Two For The Road
Saturnalia celebrates the Ancient Roman god Saturn. This holiday is usually associated with debauchery and revelry, however the holiday was actually started to boost morale after a particularly bad military defeat. Starting on the 17th, the feasts last for about a week.
An ancient Slavic holiday, Karachun was similar to modern-day Halloween. On this day the Black God and other evil spirits were at their highest power. On the 23rd of December, Hors, the sun god is resurrected and becomes the new sun, Koleda.
Photo by rave base
7.) Pancha Ganapati
Pancha Ganapati is a five day Hindu festival celebrated from December 21 through 25. Taking each day of the festival to focus on one life discipline, Pancha Ganapati is in celebration of Lord Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture.
Modranicht is the Germanic celebration of the solstice. It is said that dreams on the eve of the solstice represent the events of the upcoming year. Modranicht means ‘Mother’s Night’ and it is said that your mother comes back on this night to make sure you are being good and doing your chores. If not, she may haunt you for the following year.
Photo by HELEN001
The Pays Dogon tribe of Mali
celebrate their winter solstice festival, Goru, in December. With feasts and dancing, Goru marks the last harvest ritual of the year. The sky god, Amma, is said to have brought humanity to the earth on this day.
10.) Zamenhof Day
Zamenhof Day marks the birth date of the creator of Esperanto, December 15th. Esperantists commemorate this day by reading and giving Esperantist literature to others. This is the most popular of all Esparantists holiday, and it is on this day that L.L. Zamenhof presented his first piece of literature in Esperanto. Some followers define this day as Esperanto Literature today, to honor the language more than over-celebrate the creator.
Posted by jhartmann13 (JJ Hartmann)