Holidays Around the World
While in the United States Christmas and Hanukkah are the two most commonly celebrated holidays, there is also Kwanzaa, which is both a seasonal and a cultural celebration.
Throughout the world, there are many other winter events that celebrate the season. Families can always choose to add to the winter celebrations in addition to their usual holiday events, and this provides a great opportunity to learn about different cultures, people, and beliefs.
Different winter holiday events and celebrations around the world include:
- Los Posadas – originally a Spanish winter holiday, this nine-day celebration is now common in many Latin countries as well. A Christian celebration, there are processions of people traveling from home to home to pray, always carrying candles. The end of the night includes a feast and caroling as well as the tradition of breaking a festive piñata.
- Diwali – also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is a five-day Hindu celebration that actually occurs sometime between November and December depending on the calendar. There are lamps lit in homes, and in many countries such as Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka have amazing firework displays and family celebrations.
- Winter Solstice- celebrated on the shortest day of the year, which is between December 20 or the 23 in North America, celebrations include the lighting of candles and bonfires as well as celebrating with families and friends. Winter Solstice celebrations date back to ancient civilizations and pre-date religious winter holidays, with roots going back to Neolithic times.
- Ramadan – the Islamic winter celebration, this is a month of fasting that is based on the appearance of the crescent moon. Today, colored lanterns are hung in cities to celebrate the time that the Quran was revealed to Mohammad. Different geographic areas celebrating Ramadan include different cultural practices such as carnivals, firecrackers and particular types of food to mark the end of the time of fasting.