Finally, it’s Winter Break, or as some call it, “Holiday Break!” Time to take that much needed break from school and relax for a bit. So tell us, what are you celebrating this break? There are many different holidays celebrated this time of the year, let’s learn about a few!
Hanukkah has just started so let’s begin with that one. This year, Hanukkah will start on December 16th and end on December 24th, Hanukkah falls on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month of Kislev. Since the Jewish calendar is lunar based, every year the first day of Hanukkah falls on a different day- usually sometime between late November and late December. Hanukkah is an eight day Jewish celebration commemorating the rededication of the Temple in 165 BC by the Maccabees after its desecration by the Syrians. Every community has its own Hanukkah traditions, but there are some traditions that are almost universally practiced- the lighting the of the menorah, llight a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth night of Hanukkah, when all eight lights are kindled. Also the game of spinning the dreidel which is a four-sided top with Hebrew letters written on each side. And of course, eating fried foods, because Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of oil, it is traditional to eat fried foods such as latkes and sufganiyot during the holiday.
Next on the calendar we have Christmas which is the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on December 25th. Popular customs of the holiday include gift giving, holiday music/caroling, a special meal, the display of holiday decorations (i.e. Christmas lights, Christmas trees, garland, wreaths, nativity scenes, etc.)
Also we have Kwanazaa is the celebration that honors African heritage in African-American culture which is December 26th – January 1st. Each day of Kwanzaa represents one of the seven principles, Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). Kwanzaa is often celebrated with a feast and gift-giving. Kwanzaa symbols include a decorative mat (Mkeka) on which other symbols are placed, corn (Muhindi) and other crops, a candle holder kinara with seven candles (Mishumaa Saba), a communal cup for pouring libation (Kikombe cha Umoja), gifts (Zawadi), a poster of the seven principles, and a black, red, and green flag. The symbols were designed to convey the seven principles.
There’s so many more holidays out there we just didn’t get to. Share your holiday photos with us on social media with the hashtag #HypeHolidays, we’d love to see how you celebrate!