Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What do you celebrate?

Whether you are celebrating the solstice, having a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah, delightful Kwanzaa, or exciting Chinese New Year, here are some ways that people and cultures around the world/nation celebrate their "holidays" this time of year:

La Posada
In Mexico and many parts of Central America, people celebrate La Posada during the nine days before their Christmas celebrations. It is a reenactment of the journey Joseph and Mary took to find shelter before the birth of their child, Jesus.


Hanukkah
For eight days each November or December, candles are lit in a special candleholder called a menorah. They do this to remember an ancient miracle in which one day's worth of oil burned for eight days in their temple. On Hanukkah, many eat special potato pancakes called latkes, sing songs, and spin a top called a dreidel to win chocolate coins, nuts, or raisins.


St. Lucia Day
To honor this third-century saint on December 13, many girls in Sweden dress up as "Lucia brides" in long white gowns with red sashes, and a wreath of burning candles on their heads. They wake up their families by singing songs and bringing them coffee and twisted saffron buns called "Lucia cats."


Bodhi Day
On December 8, Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day. It recalls the day in 596 BCE when the Buddha achieved enlightenment. This day is generally regarded as the birth day of Buddhism and is an Eastern tradition. This signifies when the Buddha achieved enlightenment and escaped the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth through reincarnation.
Many people, religious or not, might decorate a tree, add lights to their houses or visit with friends and family during the months of November and December. Atheists, Agnostics, Jews, Buddhists, etc., all look forward to their own traditions and ways of celebrating this festive time of year. Have a wonderful holiday!

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