By Desiree Coffey

Most people usually associate December with Christmas – blinking lights, Christmas trees, and brightly wrapped packages.  But did you know that there are many other religious holidays in December.  The two major religious holidays celebrated by Christians and Jewish followers in America are Christmas and Hanukkah.  However, our great nation is known for its cultural diversity and with that diverse holiday celebrations.

Here is a look at some of the holiday people celebrate in December:

December 6:  Saint Nicholas Day – Christian – This holiday honors the birth of Saint Nicholas, the saint who serves as a role model for gift-giving and is commonly known as Santa Claus.

December 7-14: Hanukkah – Judaism – This is the 8-day Jewish festival of lights, which celebrates the Maccabean revolt in Egypt.  Eight candles are lit with a menorah to honor the holiday.

December 8:  Immaculate Conception – Catholic – In the lead up to Jesus’ birthday celebration on Christmas, Catholics celebrate the day of Immaculate Conception to honor his mother Mary.

December 8:  Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) – Buddhist – This holiday celebrates the historical Buddha’s decision and vow to sit under Bodhi tree until he reached spiritual enlightenment.  It’s celebrated through meditation and is embraced similar to how Christians celebrate Christmas to honor Jesus Christ.

December 12:  Advent Fast begins – Orthodox Christian – Fasting begins midway through the month for two weeks until Christmas.

December 12:  Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Catholic – This is a primarily Catholic holiday celebrated by Mexicans and American Mexican descendants that honors the reported appearance of the Virgin Mary in Mexico City.

December 16:  Posadas Navidenas – Christian – This is a primarily Hispanic Christian holiday that commends Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus.

December 21:  Solstice – Wicca/Pagan – Solstice is the point in the year “when the earth is most inclined away from the sun.  It is the most southern or northern point depending on the hemisphere.”  Pagans and Wicca believers will celebrate that event through Yule, in which believers also honor “the winter-born king, symbolized by the rebirth of the sun.”

December 23:  Mawlid ed-Nabi:  Islam – This is an Islamic holiday that honors the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, who founded Islam.

December 25:  Christmas – Christian – Christmas is a primarily Christian holiday that celebrates te birth of Jesus Christ.

December 26:  Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet of Zarathustra) – Zoroastrian – Unlike many of the other holidays in the month, Zoroastrians honor the death of their prophet, Zarathustra, who founded Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions.

December 27:  Feast of the Holy Family – Catholic – Catholics use this day to honor Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

December 28:  Holy Innocents Day – Christian – Christians solemnly honor the death of children killed by King Herod, who was attempting to kill Jesus.

December 31:  Watch Night – Christian – For Watch Night, Christians will thank God for the safety they received during the year.

Do you celebrate a December holiday not on my list? Please drop me a comment and share it with us!

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