Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Spirit Week: Day Six

It's Christmas Spirit Week here at Debbie's Book Bag! I've done a few Christmas Posts and some Christmas book reviews, but I know that not everyone who reads my blog celebrates Christmas. I don't want to leave anyone out, so I want to spend today focused on other traditional and religious holidays are center around this time of the year.

Hanukkah - Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights, starting on the 25th of the Jewish month, Kislev which corresponds to late November or late December on our calendar. Hanukkah means "dedication". The holiday itself commemorates the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

Hanukkah has become a more popular Jewish holiday because of it's proximity to Christmas. It has become more festive and celebratory over the years. Jewish children often receive one gift for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Every community has unique Hanukkah traditions. These are only a few examples.

The lighting of the Hanukkiyah, which is a candelabrum with eight candle holders and a ninth set above the rest. Each night during Hanukkah one candle is lit. The ninth candle is lit first and it is used to light all the others. A popular Hanukkah game is the spinning of the dreidel. It's a four sided top with Jewish letters written on each side. Since Hanukkah is a holiday that celebrates oil. Fried foods are on the menu including: Latkes (like pancakes) and sufganiyah (like a jelly filled donut).

Kwanzaa - Kwanzaa is a week long celebration held in the United States honoring universal African American heritage and culture. It is observed from December 26 - January 1 each year. This holiday started in the 1960's and is now celebrated by over 18 million people each year.

Kwanzaa has a special candle holder as well, called a kinara. Which contains seven candles. Each night one candle is lit and a principle of Kwanzaa is discussed. The seven principles are: Umoja=Unity, Kujichagulia=Self Determination, Ujima=Collective work and responsibility, Ujamaa=Collective economics, Nia=Purpose, Kuumba=Creativity, and Imani=Faith. On the 6th night, New Years Eve a large feast is held to commemorate African American heritage and customs.

Other holidays and traditions include: Yule, Ramadan, HumanLight, and Diwali.

Click on the name for more information about each one.

How does your family celebrate this time of year?


Mystica said...

My knowledge of both these festivals is very sketchy so thanks for this post.

Darlyn said...

Merry Xmas Debbie!

learn from faiure said...

Have a wonderful holiday!!!