25th December: Day of Celebration

7 Feb 2023

1.Christmas - a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. According to the Christian Bible, Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary and her husband Joseph in Bethlehem. The exact date of Jesus' birth is not recorded, but December 25th was chosen as the commemoration date in the 4th century by the Western Church.
The story of the Nativity, as Jesus' birth is sometimes called, is told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. According to these accounts, Jesus was born in a stable, because there was no room for the couple in the inn. Shepherds were visiting the baby in the fields nearby and were told of the birth by angels. Wise men from the East, who had followed a star to Bethlehem, brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby.
Christmas is celebrated by Christians around the world with carols, gifts, and special church services, and is often marked by acts of charity and kindness. The holiday has become a secular event as well, and is celebrated by many non-Christians with decorations, feasts, and festive events.

2.Hanukkah - a Jewish festival of lights also known as Chanukah.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE. According to the story, after a successful revolt against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, the Temple was re-consecrated and a Menorah (a seven-branched candelabrum) was lit with only enough pure olive oil for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days, giving the Jews time to prepare more oil to keep the Menorah lit.
To commemorate this event, Jews observe Hanukkah for eight days by lighting the Hanukkah Menorah (also called a Hanukkiah), one candle on each of the eight nights. They also play with a dreidel (a spinning top with four sides), eat traditional foods like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts), and exchange gifts.
Hanukkah is an important holiday in the Jewish calendar and is celebrated by Jews all over the world with family gatherings, special prayers, and festive events. It is also seen as a symbol of Jewish resistance and perseverance against oppression and assimilation.

3.Kwanzaa - an African-American and Pan-African celebration of family, community, and culture.
Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration of African-American and Pan-African culture and heritage, observed from December 26th to January 1st. It was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, an African-American scholar and activist, as a way to bring people of African descent together and to celebrate their shared cultural heritage.
Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of seven principles, known as the Nguzo Saba, which are designed to strengthen family, community, and culture:

  1. Umoja (Unity)
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
  3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
  5. Nia (Purpose)
  6. Kuumba (Creativity)
  7. Imani (Faith)

Kwanzaa is celebrated with family gatherings, special meals, candle-lighting ceremonies, gift-giving, and other cultural and artistic events. People may also reflect on their personal connection to their cultural heritage and the principles of Kwanzaa, and strive to live them in their daily lives.
Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but is instead a time for people of African descent to celebrate their cultural heritage and values, and to build stronger communities and families.

4.Yule - a pagan festival celebrating the winter solstice.
Yule is a pagan winter festival that was traditionally celebrated by Germanic and Nordic peoples. It was a time of year when the days were shortest and the nights were longest, and it was a celebration of the return of the sun and the coming of spring.
Yule was celebrated from late December to early January and was a time for feasting, gift-giving, and various rituals and ceremonies. Some common customs included lighting candles and fires to symbolize the return of the sun, decorating with evergreens to represent the everlasting life of the earth, and making offerings to the gods and goddesses to ensure a good harvest in the coming year.
In modern paganism and Wicca, Yule is still celebrated as a time of renewal, hope, and celebration of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. It is a time for reflection, gratitude, and looking forward to the future with optimism. Many pagans celebrate Yule with rituals, feasts, and gatherings with friends and loved ones.
Yule is also associated with Christmas and many of the customs and traditions of Yule have been absorbed into Christmas celebrations, including gift-giving, decorating with evergreens, and feasting. However, Yule as a separate and distinct pagan festival is still celebrated by many pagans today.

5.Boxing Day - a public holiday in some countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, celebrated the day after Christmas.
Boxing Day is a public holiday observed in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It is traditionally celebrated on December 26th, the day after Christmas Day.
The origin of the holiday is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the UK as a day for servants to have the day off and to "box up" gifts and money from their employers to give to the poor. It was also a day for employers to give their workers the Christmas "box" (gift), which would usually contain food, money, or other necessities.
In Canada, Boxing Day was originally a day for seafarers to receive gifts from their captain or ship's owners, and it evolved into a day for gift-giving and charity. In Australia and New Zealand, it has become a day for sales and shopping, with many retailers offering special deals and promotions.
Today, Boxing Day is primarily a day for spending time with family and friends, and for participating in various sporting events, such as cricket matches and horse races. In some places, it is still a day for charity and giving to those in need.
Overall, the meaning and customs of Boxing Day vary widely from country to country, but it is generally a time for rest, relaxation, and spending time with loved ones after the busy holiday season.

6.Saint Stephen's Day - a Christian feast day honoring Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
Saint Stephen's Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Stephen, is a Christian feast day celebrated on December 26th. It is a public holiday in several countries, including Ireland, where it is known as "Wren Day."
Saint Stephen was one of the first seven deacons of the early Christian church and is remembered for his faith and his service to others. According to the New Testament, Stephen was stoned to death for his beliefs, making him one of the first Christian martyrs.
In Ireland, Saint Stephen's Day has a long history of being celebrated as a religious and cultural festival. It was traditionally a time for feasting and for visiting family and friends. In some parts of Ireland, people still participate in Wren Day celebrations, in which groups of people go from house to house singing and performing, and collecting money for charity.
In other parts of the world, Saint Stephen's Day is a quieter, more low-key celebration, often marked by religious services and prayers in honor of the Saint. Some people also give gifts or perform acts of charity on this day.
Overall, Saint Stephen's Day is a time to remember the life and legacy of Saint Stephen and to celebrate his example of faith, service, and generosity.

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