Major Holidays: World Religions & Cultures: December 2012

Thank you Mrs. Gammons!

Month of:  Universal Human Rights, World Aids

Nov. 15 – Dec. 13   Al Hijra / Muharram (Islam) Islamic New Year continues.Remembrance of the migration of Mohammed and followers to Medina.

Dec. 1   World AIDS Day  (Global)  Annual day of recognition of AIDS—to remember those who have died, to acknowledge the need for continued commitment to care for those who are HIV/AIDS positive and to support the research to find a cure.

Dec. 2  Advent begins  (Christian)  The period of four weeks during which Christians prepare to celebrate for the birth of Jesus. Advent begins on the Sunday nearest November 30 and is the beginning of the Christian worship year. This festival is marked by lighting candles, laying wreaths and special advent ceremonies and these celebrations continue till December 24th.

Dec. 7   Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day  (USAThe day designated by Congress in 1994 to remember and honor all those who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. 

Dec. 8   Bodhi Day  (Buddhist) Commemorates Gautama’s attainment of enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, India.

Dec. 8   Feast of the Immaculate Conception  (Roman Catholic) Commemorates the Virgin Mary’s conception as being without sin and therefore immaculate.

Dec. 8-16   Hanukkah  (Jewish) Celebrates the victory (165 BCE) of the Maccabees over the Syrian tyrant Antiochus IV and the subsequent reclamation of Jerusalem.  According to the Talmud, only a one day supply of nondesecrated oil was found in the Temple when the Maccabees prepared it for rededication by removing all Syrian idols. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days until oil that was fit for use in the temple could be obtained.

Dec. 10   International Human Rights Day  (Global) Established by the United Nations in 1948, commemorates the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Dec. 15   Bill of Rights Day  (USA)  The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution were introduced by James Madison to the First United States Congress in 1789 as a series of legislative articles, and came into effect as Constitutional Amendments on December 15, 1791, through the process of ratification by three-fourths of the States.  On Bill of Rights Day, Americans celebrate our citizenship, and the freedoms that we enjoy. These freedoms do not exist in many countries of the world.

Dec. 16-25   Las Posadas  (Mexican Christian)  Las Posadas (Spanish for “the inn”) is a traditional Mexican festival which re-enacts Joseph’s search for room at the inn.


Dec. 21   Winter Solstice/Yule (Christian/Wiccan)  A Christian celebration of the light dawning in Jesus. Also a Norse pagan celebration of the winter-born king, symbolized by the rebirth of the sun. A present day Wicca event. The first day of winter always occurs on or around December 22; it is the shortest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere.

Dec. 25   Christmas  (Christian) The birth of Jesus Christ has been celebrated by Christians for more than 1600 years. Christmas (from Old English Cristes maesse or “Mass of Christ”) is observed annually on December 25 although the exact date of Christ’s birth is not known. The Christmas season begins on the First Sunday of Advent (Nov. 28) and ends on Epiphany (Jan. 6.) This celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is observed by prayers, exchanging of gifts, and family parties.

Dec. 26 – Jan. 1    Kwanzaa   (African American) The festival was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga. Dr. Karenga’s goal was to establish a holiday that would facilitate African-American goals of building a strong family, learning about African-American history, and developing unity. He found many of the African festivals to be harvest related. Because of this, he named the celebration Kwanzaa from the Kiswahili word meaning “first fruits.” Karenga identified seven principles of the African-American culture (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith) and incorporated them into Kwanzaa.

Dec. 31   New Year’s Eve (Global)  The last day of the calendar year, or December 31 in the Gregorian calendar. Since most of the world uses this calendar, New Year’s Eve is celebrated around the globe.

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2 thoughts on “Major Holidays: World Religions & Cultures: December 2012

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