This is the time to come together and celebrate

Most of us are looking forward to celebrating with our family and friends over the upcoming holidays. For some of us that means the traditional Christmas celebrations. Trees, Santa, gifts, Nativity and caroling. Possibly some food. There are many other festivals and holidays around the world during the fall/winter season.

The Winter Solstice begins on Dec. 21st which is the shortest day of the year. Long ago this was celebrated by lighting bonfires and candles to try to coax back the sun. I would love to try to see if this works, just sayin’.

This year’s Chinese New Year runs on Feb. 5. It changes from year to year but always runs between Jan. 21 and Feb. 21. It begins the Spring Festival in China and lasts seven days. They traditionally clean their house for the holidays to get rid of any bad luck. They also decorate in red which is the good luck colour symbol there. Not sure this celebration would be quite as enjoyable as games, but who knows, to each their own.

The Islam New Year, which this year began on Sept. 11, is the first day of the month of Muharram on their moon-based calendar. As with some other calendars the dates accordingly change from year to year when coinciding with our own calendar. By eleven days. Next years will begin on Aug. 31. Wow!

There is Hanukkah, the traditional Jewish celebration called the Festival of Lights, and it lasts eight days and nights. It is during the Jewish Calendar month of Kislev. This year’s began on Dec. 2 and ended on Dec 10. It commemorates a time when it was said that one day worth of oil burned for eight days in the temple. They light the Menorah and have fried foods such as latkes, and sing songs and say prayers, and I also seem to remember a friend having some fun riddles to solve.

Pakistan celebrates Dec. 25 as a holiday because it is the birthday of Muhammad Ali Jinnah the founder of Pakistan. They have holiday celebrations from mid-December until January. Singing, food, and more.

Mexico has a celebration relating to the virgin of Guadalupe the Patroness of Mexico. They also have food and festivals in which some are similar to the United States and Canada included with their other traditional feasts. More food. Yay!

Ukranian (Orthodox) Christmas begins on Sunday, Jan.7. This is a festive week with family visits, singing and food such as the traditional Borshch (that is the Ukranian spelling) and Verenyky. Yay more goodies!

Kwanzaa, the “First Fruits” festival that happens during the time between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1 is a way for African cultures to celebrate this spiritual holiday with special clothes, decorate their homes with fruits and vegetables, and light a candle holder called a Kinara. Their holiday celebrates ideals like family life and unity.

These are not by any means all of the celebrations happening during this time, however, it shows you that at some point most of us need to come together and join each other to celebrate for many reasons and with food of many varieties, and occasionally songs or games.

Whether you have family or friends or even strangers to celebrate with it is good to be thankful to just be here, and alive, on this beautiful planet. I realize that we don’t all have someone to celebrate with. So, some need to do this in other ways. We can feed the birds, we can watch the snowflakes, look at the frost patterns on the trees, aren’t they beautiful?

We can just enjoy the fact that we have a few senses given to us to appreciate the wonder around us, on a daily basis!

Go ahead and celebrate however you as an individual wish, since holidays deserve recognition.

So, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Chinese New Year, Happy Holidays of all kinds to all of you, whatever type you are enjoying!

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