World-Wide Holiday Celebrations

December 5, 2017

The air is cold, and families gather in houses strung with bright lights and decorations. All around the world, people celebrate the many holidays that come with winter. Whether it’s eating grapes on New Year’s or eating latkes on Hanukkah, people everywhere have different customs while celebrating these holidays that we all love.

People almost everywhere celebrate Christmas, which is commemorated on December 25. Different places celebrate Christmas differently. In Hawaii, Santa Claus delivers presents in a canoe pulled by dolphins, rather than in a sleigh pulled by reindeer (Hawaii-Aloha). Hawaiians go caroling, but are accompanied by ukuleles and guitars (All Things Christmas). Next, In Sweden, the eldest daughter dresses in a white gown, red sash, and wears a crown made of twigs. For the day she is called “Lussi” (History Channel). Finally, in India, people display small lamps. The 2.3% of the population of India that celebrates Christmas decorates their homes with mango or banana leaves (History Channel). Clearly, people everywhere celebrate Christmas differently.

Hanukkah is celebrated almost the same way everywhere. Hanukkah lasts for eight days, and each night families light a candle on the menorah, with one candle for each of the eight days (There is one other candle in the middle). On Hanukkah, people usually eat latkes, or potato pancakes (International TEFL Academy). People also play dreidel, or a four-sided top, and each side has a Hebrew letter on it. Each letter represents something different that you have to do. There is a pot in the middle with chocolate coins in it, and when you spin the dreidel, it tells you to either take everything, take nothing, put one in, or take half (Reform Judaism). There are many activities that people enjoy on Hanukkah.

We all celebrate New Year’s Eve, but it’s not the same celebration everywhere. To begin with, Spain celebrates by eating 12 grapes on New Year’s Eve, one for each stroke of midnight. People think that if you succeed in doing this, you will have good luck and prosperity (Spain.Info). Next, China also celebrates New Year’s, but the beginning of the year for them isn’t on January 1st. People decorate their houses with red and give others red envelopes, hoping to pass on good luck (China Highlights). Finally, in Brazil, people usually go to the beach and jump seven waves for good luck while wearing white. They bring a bouquet to throw in the ocean (Business Insider). New Year’s Eve celebrations are very different around the world.

Finally, Kwanzaa is also celebrated in the winter. Kwanzaa honors African-American culture and is celebrated from December 26 to January 1st (Anacostia Museum). Kwanzaa celebrated its 50th year of existence in 2016 and was created by Maulana Karenga, a black nationalist (History Channel). Similar to Hanukkah, there are seven candles, three red, three green, and one black (History Channel). Each family celebrates Kwanzaa a little differently, but celebrations often include storytelling, songs and dancing, and a traditional meal. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa represents a different principle. Those principles are umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (responsibility and collective work), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith) (History Channel). Although everyone’s celebration for this holiday is unique and different, people still gather around with family and make fun memories to keep.        

In conclusion, people celebrate the winter holidays differently all around the world.

 

References:

Arneson, Krystin. “How New Year’s Eve Is Celebrated in 7 Different Countries.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 22 Dec. 2016, www.businessinsider.com/new-years-eve-in-around-the-world -2016-12.

Britt, and Bruce Fisher. “Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in Hawaii.” Hawaii Aloha Travel, 31 Oct. 2016, www.hawaii-aloha.com/blog/2015/12/22/top-10-ways-to-celebrate-christmas-in-hawaii/.

Greenspan, Jesse. “5 Things You May Not Know About Kwanzaa.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 26 Dec. 2012, www.history.com/news/5-things-you-may-not-know-about-kwanzaa.

“Hanukkah Celebrations to Experience While Teaching English Abroad.” International TEFL Academy, www.internationalteflacademy.com/blog/bid/157426/Hanukkah-Around-the-World-While-Teaching-English-Abroad.

“Hanukkah: Customs and Rituals.” ReformJudaism.org, 6 Dec. 2016, reformjudaism.org/hanukkah- customs-and-rituals.

History.com Staff. “Christmas Traditions Worldwide.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 21 Nov. 2009, www.history.com/topics/christmas/christmas-traditions-worldwide.

History.com Staff. “Kwanzaa.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, www.history.com/topics/ holidays/kwanzaa-history.

Joy, Chantelle. “Christmas Traditions of Hawaii.” All Things Christmas, 4 Nov. 2017, www.allthings christmas.com/christmas-around-the-world/christmas-traditions-of-hawaii/.

“New Year’s Eve in Spain. | Spain.info USA.” Spain.info, www.spain.info/en_US/reportajes/nochevieja _en_espana.html.

“The Meaning of Kwanzaa.” The Meaning of Kwanzaa, National Museum of African Art and the Anacostia Museum, anacostia.si.edu/exhibits/past_exhibtions/kwanzaa/kwanz.htm.

Tjq. “Chinese New Year – Traditions, Activities, Day-By-Day Guide.” ChinaHighlights, 6 Nov. 2017, www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/special-report/chinese-new-year/.

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