The holiday season is often associated with snow, Santa Claus, gifts, or even fireworks. And while those things do apply to a lot of places (especially in the Western world), it's important to note that there are many people from all over the world who celebrate this time of year differently.
This article will delve into some of the most fascinating holiday traditions around the globe. Learn about the significant customs and exciting activities that people from around the world get into during the end (or the beginning) of each year, and gain insights on the meaningful events that paved the way for these traditions.
Hanukkah (Israel) - Also known as the Festival of Lights, this tradition is marked by the successive kindling of eight lights. It commemorates the revolt of the Maccabees in 164 BCE that allowed the Jewish people to perform their religious traditions freely. It also commemorates the miraculous oil that burned for eight days. Jewish homes celebrate this tradition by kindling one light for each day of the festival.
Kwanzaa (United States) - Celebrated by many African Americans, Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration that lasts from December 26 to January 1. It honors African heritage, values, as well as culture, and its participants light a kinara in honor of it. Most celebrations incorporate singing and dancing as well.
Feast of the Three Kings (India) - In Goa, India, numerous Christian churches celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings every January. People gather in these churches to watch three boys in costume head to the church riding white horses. The boys in these costumes are actually chosen to be kings. Most of them come from aristocratic clans and it is apparently a huge honor to be selected.
Posadas (Mexico) - In the original Nativity story, Mary and Joseph knocked on the doors of inns and of their friends' places, looking for shelter. They were turned down numerous times until someone offered them a place with a manger, in which Jesus was born. Posadas is a tradition that commemorates this event. It involves door-to-door processions where participants reenact Mary and Joseph's search for a place to stay in.
Ta Chiu (Hong Kong) - While this Taoist tradition mostly occurs in Hong Kong, it is also celebrated in some parts of China. Ta Chiu takes place on the 27th of December. On this day, people of each town call upon the gods and ghosts of their ancestors and pray for a good life in the coming year. At the close of the tradition, a priest takes a list of names of every resident in the particular locale, says each name out lout, and attaches the list to a paper horse. The horse is then burned, and the smoke that comes from the fire is believed to carry the names to heavens so that they will be blessed by the gods.
Yes, the globe is indeed filled with wonderful traditions, and it is truly rewarding to learn about these things. The above-mentioned traditions are just the tip of the ice berg, though. If you wish to learn more about the many holiday traditions around the world, you can check out the following resources:http://www.ipl.org/div/pf/entry/48435 - This is a whole page dedicated to American holiday traditions. Consult it to learn more about the celebrations in the United States.