Around this time of the year people are encouraged to wish others "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas." This is not to oppress those who celebrate Christmas, but to serve as a reminder that Christmas is not the only major holiday during this time of the year.
Here are some of the other religious holidays that take place around the month of December and the Christmas season:
- Winter Solstice, December 20th || This pagan celebration "marks the shortest day of the year and the official beginning of winter. The solstice itself is the moment the sun is shining farthest to the south, directly over the Tropic of Capricorn" (The Mirror). Also celebrated on the Winter Solstice is The Day of The Return Of The Wandering Goddess (an ancient Egyptian faith known as Kemetic Orthodoxy), various Native American/Aboriginal celebrations and Wiccan 'Yule' celebrations.
- Bodhi Day, December 8th || Bodhi day "is a Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that Buddha achieved enlightenment" (Huffington Post).
- Hanukkah, December 12th - 20th || Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is an eight day Jewish celebration that "commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt" (History).
- Mawlid El Nabi, November 30th - December 1st || This Islamic holiday "honors the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, who founded Islam" (Desert News).
- Immaculate Conception, December 8th || Celebrated by Catholics, this day honors Christ's mother, Mary, "whom they believe is immaculate, or 'free from sin.' One of the highlights is a celebration led by the Catholic pope in Rome, who kneels in prayer and lays a floral wreath on the statue of the Madonna at the Piazza Mignanelli" (Time & Date).
- Zarathosht No-Diso, December 26th || This is "an important day of mourning in the Zoroastrian religion. It is a commemoration of the death anniversary of the prophet Zoraste" (Wikipedia).
These are only a sample of important religious dates around the December holidays. Though they are all very different, they have one thing in common: they are a time for people to come together in community.
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