Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas

by Cooper Lewis – Photographer

Its December which means it time to celebrate. December is full of religious holidays and traditions that are celebrated all around the world.

Kwanza is a seven-day holiday celebrated specifically for African and African American culture. It was created in 1966-67 by Maulana Karenga. Since then the holiday has been spread to other places like Canada and Great Britain. The holiday starts on the 26th of December and goes till the first of January, and celebrates the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or the seven principals of African heritage. The seven principals are unity, self-determination, responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. The seven symbols are objects used to represent the aspects of life. The seven symbols are Mazao, Mkeka, Vibunzi, Mishumaa, Kinara, Kikombe, and Zawadi. Karenga originally thought that Christianity was a whitewashed holiday and looked down on it but later stopped claiming that so to not discourage black Christians to participate in Kwanzaa as well as Christmas.

Hanukkah has many different names such as the festival of lights and festival of rededication. It is an eight day holiday that usually falls during December, on the twenty fifth if kislev. It is to celebrate the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem after its defilement from the Syrian Greeks in 164 BCE. The heart of the festival is the nightly Menorah accompanied by a reciting of special blessings and prayers. One being the Hallel which is repeated everyday. The menorah is placed under a window or doorway. There is special music sung after the lighting of he candles. Since the hanukkah miracle involved olive oil a lot of the foods are fried in oils. It is also traditional to play with a dreidel, the game is normally involves coins or nuts which are won or lost.

The most main stream religion is Christianity. Christmas is technically a religious holiday and is to celebrate the birth of Jesus (even though there Is no proof he was born on that day) on the twenty-fifth of December. While many people do celebrate Christmas because its religious meaning but a large amount of people who are not religious also celebrate Christmas. For example, Japans main religion is Shintoism and Buddhism but Christmas is still celebrated. Of course, it is different around the world. In Germany they have the Krampus run, which Is a festival where young men run through the streets dressed as Krampus. Krampus is a demon goat that punishes bad children, the contrast of saint Nicholas. This legend is told in multiple places such as Austria and Croatia. In Mexico the celebration of Christmas is much longer and from the 16th to Christmas eve children will perform “the posada”, these are to celebrate the part of the bible where Joseph and Marry where looking for a place to stay. Holidays are uniquely celebrated around the world with each family celebrating there own way with there own customs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *