MONTREAL, Dec. 19, 2019 /CNW/ - One would be forgiven for thinking Christmas is the only thing on anyone's mind all December long, especially in North America, where everything from the commercials to the shopping malls to the offices are decked out in rather unsubtle green and red. The reality is, there are a ton of holidays happening in December, both at home and abroad, across dozens of different cultures and religions. So, whether one is travelling or home for the holidays, FlightHub and Justfly bring some of the different December holiday celebrations happening all around the world!
Christmas: Christmas is celebrated the world over, and there are many subtle variations and
approaches that one might find interesting. Some readers may be familiar with Austria's
Krampus, Saint Nicholas's terrifying partner who carries naughty children off in a sack. If one
finds themselves in Austria for Christmas, they might experience the good (or bad) fortune of
seeing someone roaming around in a Krampus costume. In the Philippines, the Giant Lantern
Festival is held in San Fernando, displaying a dizzying variety of huge, kaleidoscopic lanterns.
And in Japan, everybody eats KFC. Really.
Kwanzaa: Kwanzaa is a recent invention, as far as holidays go, but nonetheless of iconic
cultural importance. Created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is a technically secular
tradition, often practiced in conjunction with Christmas, and meant for African Americans to
celebrate their African cultural roots. Kwanzaa takes place from the 26th of December until New
Year's Day, and involves symbolic candle lighting, thinking on history, and feasting on delicious
African and American dishes.
Hanukkah: Thanks to their calendar proximity, many assume the Jewish Festival of Lights to be
equivalent to Christmas in relative religious importance. It is one of the most publicly celebrated,
and one of the most iconic. Hanukkah commemorates an ancient rebellion carried out by the
Maccabee warriors, and the freeing of the Temple in Jerusalem. The story goes that a single jar
of ceremonial oil miraculously burned for eight whole nights. Jews celebrate by lighting the
Hanukkiah (a nine-branched lamp), eating lots of oily food like latkes (potato pancakes) and
sufganiyot (doughnuts), spinning dreidels, and giving gifts.
Yule: But isn't Yule or the Yuletide synonymous with Christmas? While currently there's a lot of
overlap between the terms, Yule was originally a festival celebrated by Germanic pagans, and a
lot of the old traditions live on! For instance, in Sweden, a giant goat is constructed out of straw,
and is occasionally burned down, depending how things go. When Christianity came to that part
of the world, many of the Yule rituals were integrated. However, some Neo-Pagans strive to
celebrate the Yule as it was in the ancient past, with ritual offerings and feasts.
Boxing Day: Depending on where one is from, Boxing Day may be a well-established fixture of
one's holiday shopping schedule, or an entirely unheard-of thing. In the UK and some of her
former colonies, Boxing Day was originally the day service people like mailmen and maids were
left gifts by their employers. Now it's mostly for post-Christmas consumption.
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