December is one of the best months of the year with as many multicultural celebrations as it
does. The last month of the year is a “WORLD OF HOLIDAYS” from Christmas to
Omisoka. Let’s take a look at some of the world’s December holidays, celebrated across the
globe in different countries.
Christmas is the Christian faith’s historical commemoration of Jesus Christ’s birth. Christmas
is celebrated in different ways around the world, depending on whether they are observed for
religious reasons or simply as a cultural event. While Christmas in the United States is
marked by Christmas trees, visits from Santa Claus, and visions of snowy landscapes,
Christmas in Australia occurs during the summer, and it is common to go camping or to the
beach over the holiday. A “Christmas Bush,” a natural Australian tree with small green leaves
and scarlet blossoms in the summer, is decorated by some Australians.
Christmas traditions in England are similar to those in the United States, with the exception
that instead of milk and cookies, children leave mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas.
With its Christmas market, Iceland’s capital city Reykjavik transforms into a winter
wonderland, where youngsters may meet not one, but thirteen Santas, known as Yule Lads.
Each night in the thirteen days leading up to Christmas, one arrives, delivering small gifts in
shoes left on window sills. Here’s where you can learn more about how Christmas is
celebrated around the world.
Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah, is an eight-day Jewish festival commemorating the re-
dedication of Jerusalem’s Second Temple after the Maccabean Revolt. Those who were
present at the re-dedication saw what they thought was a miracle. The flames continued to
burn for eight nights despite the fact that there was only enough unadulterated oil to keep the
menorah’s candles glowing for a single day.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, begins on the Hebrew calendar’s 25th of
Kislev. The menorah is the focal point of Jewish celebrations. After sundown on each of the
holiday’s eight nights, another candle is added to the menorah. The shamash (“helper”), the
ninth candle, is used to ignite the others. Blessings are usually said, and Hanukkah dishes
such potato pancakes (latkes) and jam-filled donuts (sufganiyot) are fried in oil. Playing
dreidels and exchanging gifts are two other Hanukkah traditions. Here’s where you can learn
more about Hanukkah.
Dr. Maulana Karenga founded Kwanzaa in 1966 in response to the Watts riots in Los
Angeles. He started researching African “first fruit” (harvest) festivities after founding US, a
cultural group. From there, he merged elements of various traditional harvest festivals to
Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili term “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits.”
Kwanzaa is observed in a variety of ways by different families, but most celebrations include
music and dances, African drumming, storytelling, poetry reading, and a huge traditional
meal. Families assemble on each of the seven nights, and a youngster lights one of the
candles on the Kinara, after which one of the seven principles, or African cultural values, is
discussed. On December 31, an African feast known as a Karamu is held. Here’s where you
may learn more about Kwanzaa’s principles.
Boxing Day is the day after Christmas.
The 26th of December is Boxing Day. The festival, which is only observed in a few nations,
began in the United Kingdom during the Middle Ages. It was the day when alms boxes,
which are collecting boxes for the destitute commonly stored in churches, were opened and
their contents distributed, a tradition that continues in some communities. It was also the day
when servants were typically granted the day off to spend with their families during the
Boxing Day has now become a public holiday in a number of nations, including the United
Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. On Boxing Day in England, soccer matches
and horse races are common. The Irish call the occasion St. Stephen’s Day, and they have a
practise known as “hunting the wren,” in which youths tie a phoney wren to a pole and parade
it through town. Junkanoo, a street parade and festival in the Bahamas, commemorates
Boxing Day. Here’s where you can learn more about the origins of Boxing Day.
As the last day of the old year and the eve of New Year’s Day, the most important day of the
year, misoka, or New Year’s Eve, is considered the second-most important day in Japanese
custom. Families assemble on misoka for one last bowl of toshikoshi-soba or toshikoshi-udon
in the old year, a tradition rooted on eating the long noodles to cross over from one year to
Many people go to shrines or temples at midnight to pay their respects to Hatsumde. Most
Buddhist temples have massive cast bells that are struck once for each of the 108 earthly
desires thought to cause human misery, and Shinto shrines prepare amazake to distribute to
people. Here’s where you can find out more about misoka.