Christmas is one of many people’s favourite holidays in the year. But, have you ever thought of other lesser known winter holidays around the world? These are celebrations from other cultures.
KWANZAA: This holiday is a week long, celebrating African-American heritage. Created by Maulana Karenga in 1966, it enhances unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. There is a candle-lighting ceremony on a kinara. This holiday starts on December 26.
LAS POSADAS: Originating from Spain, Las Posadas lasts for nine days. It Begins on December 16 and ends on December 24. It’s mostly celebrated in Mexico, Guatemala, and parts of the South-Western US. The roots are Christian, but several branches are Christian Latinos. The celebration includes caroling, feasting, and piñata-breaking. Processions move from house to house, with a candle inside a paper lampshade, stopping at the houses to sign and pray. The procession usually ends at a church.
EID-AL-ADHA: This is an important Islamic holiday celebrated to honor the willingness of the prophet Abraham, sacrificing his first-born, Ishmael, on God’s order. It’s also called The Feast of the Sacrifice for that very reason. The date varies greatly due to the Islamic lunar calendar. It is usually in September. Families dress in their best traditional clothing to pray in a congregation or mosque and sacrifice their best domestic halal animals as a symbol of the sacrifice of Ishmael. Most of the meat is shared with friends, family, neighbours, and the poor, so none will miss out!
DIWALI: This Hindu festival lasts five days, and is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and other countries. Its also called The Festival of Lights. It honors Rama-Chandra, since it was on this day that he returned after 14 years of exile. There are plenty of lights, lamps, fireworks, and bonfires, to lift the spiritual darkness. Lamps? Well, Diwali is basically a short term for Deepwali, meaning rows of clay lamps. The date varies, but it’s usually in November or the end of October.
There are many other winter holidays out there in the world. Celebrating different winter holidays can broaden your view on other cultures. Have a happy winter!