We have a very diverse Community here in Australia, and I thought it would be nice to have a post on different celebrations that are celebrated around the world at about the same time as Christmas.

Christmas – December 25th
Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Though in most places the celebration is not considered to be the actual date of Christ, in most places around the world Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25. Christmas Eve is the preceding day, December 24.

In Germany and other European countries, the main Christmas celebrations commence on the evening of the 24th. During the Christmas season, people traditionally exchange gifts and decorate their homes with holly, mistletoe, and Christmas trees.

The word Christmas comes from Cristes maesse, an early English phrase that means Mass of Christ.
Hanukkah candles and star of David
Hanukkah – starts December 21st
Hanukkah means “dedication” or “consecration”, and is also called “The festival of Lights”. It is a Jewish festivity that lasts eight days starting on the 25th day of Kislev which normally occurs late November or early December.

Eid Mubarak with building silohuettesEid-al-Adha – Muslim Holiday – December 19th
Eid-al-Adha or “the festival of sacrifice” is a three-day feast that follows the Pilgrimage to Mecca. It is a religious festival conducted by Druze and Muslims across the globe and is a commemoration of God’s forgiveness of Ibrahim (Abraham) from his vow to sacrifice his own son as was commanded by Allah.

Kwanzaa – December 26th
Kwanzaa (Quansa) is celebrated by many African-Americans. It is a week long festival that runs from December 26th through to January 1st.
Kwanzaa images in cheerful colours
It was started in 1966 by Doctor Maulana Karenga. Karenga established Kwanzaa as a means to help the African-Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage by uniting in meditation and study of “African traditions” and “common humanist principles.” There are 7 principles of Kwanzaa, and each day represents a different one of the principles. First principle is Unity, followed by self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and lastly is faith.

Bodhi Day – usually December 8th
Golden BudhaBodhi Day (or Bodhi) is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, experienced enlightenment.

The prince, Siddhartha Gautama, left his home, family and all his possessions behind at the age of twenty-nine to go look for the meaning of life. After six years, and still not finding what he was looking for, he sat down under a pipal tree and vowed not to arise until he understood his purpose in life. He sat through the week, day and night, and on the eighth morning came to the realization which became the founding principles of what the world now calls Buddhism.