It is December, the Christmas month! And, the month where people gripe that folks no longer say “Merry Christmas”. Bah! I say Happy Holidays to strangers. If I have no clue their religious leanings, I feel it is the polite thing to do. Also – if a person looks to me and says “Merry Christmas” I will give them a MC back. I say Merry Christmas to everyone and anyone on Dec 24 and 25. If I know a person is a Christian, I say it whenever I see them as the holiday grows closer. There is NOTHING wrong with saying “Happy Holidays”. It makes you more polite than the person who is griping.
Christmas is but one day in a month filled with other celebrations! I love the lights, decorations and mangers! But I also respect the fact that others might follow to the beat of a different Little Drummer Boy. Here is a list (both religious and not) of things that will be remembered / celebrated throughout December 2019:
Dec 1 – World AIDS Day: The day is observed to raise awareness among people towards the problem of AIDS and HIV. This observation has been held since 1988 and up until 1996, was organized by WHO (the World Health Organization).
Dec 3 – Giving Tuesday: This is not a fixed day as the days of the week land on different dates each year. But Giving Tuesday is always the Tuesday after Black Friday. This is supposed to be a national day of giving, both of time and money. It is a good cause, one worthy of celebrating no matter which specific date it falls upon.
Dec 5 – International Ninja Day: Say what??? I feel a Ninja Warrior day-binge coming on! Or, better yet, maybe I will finally watch Enter The Dragon… hmmmm Watch for a potential blog…
Dec 6 – St Nicholas Day: This holiday honors the birth of Saint Nicholas, the saint who serves as a role model for gift-giving and is commonly known as Santa Claus. In Alpine countries, Saint Nicholas has a devilish companion named Krampus who punishes the bad children the night before. The feast for Krampus is called Krampusnacht (Dec 5).
Dec 7 – National Pearl Harbor Day of Remembrance: A day of infamy. The day Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor is commemorated with the National Day of Remembrance each year on December 7. On that day in 1941, more than 2,400 people died in Japan’s attack on the Hawaiian base of America’s Pacific Fleet.
Dec 8 – Bodhi Day: Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Gautama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi).
Dec 12 – National Ding-A-Ling Day: I was almost afraid to look this one up. It is a totally American thing. I actually like the idea of it. It is the day you phone someone you have lost touch with or have not heard from in a while. It is nice that during the holidays you reach out, to make sure that everyone is doing ok. Depression is rough this time of year, especially for those with fewer people in their circle.
Dec 16-24 – Las Posadas: A procession to various family lodgings for celebration & prayer and to re-enact Mary & Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem
Dec 18 – National Answer The Phone Like Buddy The Elf Day: Ok, so this one is made up but still observed by many. I may have to watch the movie and make a call that day!
Dec 18 – Winter Solstice: The shortest period of daylight in a day. Ugh. I feel the winter blues comin’ on!
Dec 21-25 – Pancha Ganaparti: A modern five-day Hindu festival celebrated from December 21 through 25 in honor of Ganesha.
Dec 22 – Hanukkah: The Jewish Festival of Rededication, also called the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day celebration that falls each year on the Hebrew calendar date of 25 Kislev, which falls on December in the Gregorian calendar. For many English speakers, the holiday is also known for confusion over the spelling of its name: Is it Hanukkah or Chanukah? The answer is that both are considered correct, though Hanukkah is the most widely used spelling, while Chanukah is more traditional.
Dec 23 – Festivus: For the rest of us!
Dec 24 – Christmas Eve: I know it is not a formal holiday but most of my childhood memories of Christmas fell on its Eve more than the day of.
Dec 25 – Christmas: Jesus’ Birthday!
Dec 26 – Kwanzaa: The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture and is observed from December 26 to January 1.
Dec 26 – Boxing Day: This custom is linked to an older British tradition where the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families since they would have to serve their masters on Christmas Day. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses, and sometimes leftover food. Until the late 20th century there continued to be a tradition among many in the UK to give a Christmas gift, usually cash, to vendors although not on Boxing Day as many would not work on that day.
Dec. 26 – Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathustra) — Zoroastrian: What? A disco? This holiday is tied to Zarathustra, who founded Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions.
Dec 31 – Hogmanay: Hogmanay is a Scottish word meaning “the last day of the year.” It’s celebrated in Scotland on New Year’s Eve, when Scots host house parties and exchange gifts. The celebrations are often followed by parties on both New Year’s Day and January 2, which is a bank holiday in Scotland. While the origins of Hogmanay are hard to pinpoint, its roots are thought to lie in Norse and Gaelic traditions. It is my life’s goal to celebrate Hogmanay in Scotland.
Dec 31 – Ōmisoka: A Japanese traditional celebration on the last day of the year. Traditionally, it was held on the final day of the 12th lunar month. With Japan’s switch to using the Gregorian calendar at the beginning of the Meiji era, December 31 is now used for the celebration.
So, no matter what you might celebrate during the month of December, I hope you have joy in your heart and love in your life. May you find peace and be able to be the most faithful version of yourself. Be warm, kind and courteous. And above all, from me to you: Happy Holidays!
- Secular Holidays
- International Day of Disabled Persons: 3rd of December
- Human Rights Day: 10 December
- Dongzhi Festival – a celebration of Winter
- Newtonmas: 25 December – As an alternative to celebrating the religious holiday Christmas, some atheists and skeptics have chosen to celebrate December 25 as Newtonmas, due to it being Isaac Newton’s birthday on the old style date.
- Soyal: 21 December – Zuni and Hopi
- Zamenhof Day: 15 December – Birthday of Ludwig Zamenhof, inventor of Esperanto; holiday reunion for Esperantists
- Watch Night: 31 December
- Salgirah: December 13th – celebration of Shia Ismaili Muslims of their Imam (Aga Khan IV)