We at HDS Medallion hope everyone had a happy holiday. While most Americans are familiar with Christmas and Hanukkah, people of non-Judeo-Christian faiths celebrate other holidays around this time of year. So we did a little research. These are some of the other special days that other world religions celebrate in December.
Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day on December 8. That marks the day when Buddha, or Siddhartha Gautama, achieved enlightenment. Buddhists eat cake, drink tea, and quietly study readings. Some Buddhists decorate trees with ornaments to celebrate unity.
Kwanzaa, December 26 - January 1, is an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the world African community. Kwanzaa is an ancient and living cultural tradition which reflects the best of African thought and practice in its reaffirmation of the dignity of the human person in community and culture, the well-being of family and community, the integrity of the environment and our kinship with it.
Different Muslim sects may celebrate Mawlid an-Nabi, the observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The date varies depending on the calendar used by different sects.
Taoists do not believe in a transcendent God, but they celebrate the integrity and beauty of the infant in the manger. Taoists believe babies are closer to Tao than most adults because they have the emptiness in mind that Taoism strives to achieve.
Jainism is an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live a life of harmlessness and renunciation. Many Jains celebrate Hindu holidays and believe in ahimsa, or ”peace towards all living beings in thought, word, and action.” Some of the non-Christian customs and symbols of the Christmas season are important to Jains.
Wiccans celebrate the Winter Solstice, or Yule, on December 21. Solstice night is one of the longest nights of the year and turns into the rebirth of the sun the following day. Wiccans light bonfires and wassail trees and conduct toasts with spiced cider.
Canada, the United Kingdom, and most other countries in the British Commonwealth celebrate Boxing Day on December 26. The tradition may have originated from Saint Stephen’s Day, a Christian holiday celebrated on that day.
December is a festive time of year for many of the world’s religions. We hope you enjoyed spending time with family and friends on whatever holiday you celebrated this year.
Happy New Year! May 2016 be a wonderful year for you and yours!