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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Top 5 Winter Holidays You May Not Celebrate



During the season around Christmas, everywhere we go we hear people call out Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays but we might not stop to wonder what other holidays are encompassed in this season. In America, one has to be living under a rock to not know what Christmas or New Years is about but what about the other holidays that are celebrated not only here, but all over the world?

Well, we did some digging and though we included holidays we are sure, you've heard about, we still hope that, like us, you've learned something new about them.

Here is our Top 5 Winter Holidays you might not know (much) about :

#1 Hanukkah

Though most people have heard of Hanukkah, those who do not celebrate often consider it a sort of Jewish Christmas when it really has nothing to do with Christmas. The holiday falls on the 25th day of Kislev in the lunar-based Jewish calendar. Hanukkah celebrates a Jewish history's miracle when a night's supply of oil lasted for 8 nights during the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Hanukkah is far from the most important Jewish celebration but has gained popularity due to its proximity to so many other religion's celebrations.

#2 Winter Solstice / Yule / Yalda

The Winter Solstice is the astronomical event during which the shortest day of the year (on the Northern hemisphere) happens due to the Earth's tilt in axis.

This day is celebrated by many cultures including modern day Pagans who celebrate it as Yule (the day when the Holly King passes the crown to the Oak King and the Sun begins to return) and Iranians who celebrate it as Yalda.

Solstice celebrations often involve fires and staying up to see the sun return.

#3 Rohatsu

This is a Buddhist celebration more commonly known as Bodhi Day. This celebration is a ceebration of when Buddha attained enlightenment and is celebrated on December 8th.

#4 Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa, in itself, is a one of the newest celebrations dating back only since 1966 when Dr Maylana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, put it together out of old African "First Fruits" celebrations. Kwanzaa is meant to be a celebration centered on family and is enjoyed with dancing, storytelling, drumming, singing, and traditional meals.

Kwanzaa's symbol is the Kinara which holds seven candles, one for each of the values and principles of African values.

#5 Orthodox Christmas

Christmas has had a different history in Russia, and though it became an official celebration in the 10th century, but it became frowned upon during the early to mid soviet period. However in 1935, they adopted Christmas traditions (such as the decoration of a spruce tree, and other festive decorations, family gatherings and a visit from the gift-giving grand-father Frost and his grand-daughter) and added these to their secular New Years celebration.

It is celebrated on January 7th and is a very religious occasion for Russian Christians who will spend much of the time during January 6th and 7th at church.

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