Christmas Day (December 25)

scroogechristmas
source: public domain

On December 25, Christians in Canada and around the world celebrate the Nativity, the birth of the Christ. Christians believe that a Jewish Rabbi named Yeshua, who was born in Bethlehem, in Roman occupied Israel roughly 2000 years ago, was the Messiah, the long awaited saviour promised by God. The Hebrew word Messiah translates to Greek as χριστός, romanized as Khristos, from which we get the anglicized form, Christ. Christians believe that God became one of us in the person of Jesus, or Emanuel, literally “God With Us.”

As Christianity spread from the Holy Land into the Roman Empire and to the Celtic peoples of the north, traditional pagan winter festivals such as Yule were taken over as Christian festivals and Christmas became a winter celebration.

Over the course of the last century, Christmas has grown from a strictly Christian religious festival to become a secular holiday celebrated by people of many different religions, cultures and worldviews from all over the planet. For some, Santa Claus, stockings and gift-giving are central to Christmas. To others, it is a much needed time of rest and merry-making at the coldest and darkest time of year. Some may agree with the Grinch, who simply hated Christmas, or with Ebenezer Scrooge when he said it was a “Humbug” — although both of them changed their positions in the end!

Whether you are celebrating the birth of the Christ with your family and friends, or observe Christmas as a strictly secular event, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve (December 24)

134746__nativity_l

For many Canadians and for millions of people around the world, Christmas is a secular holiday.  It is not a religious holy day, rather it is a cultural event based on things such as family, gift giving and charity.  For many Christmas is focused on children and the central figure is Santa.

Yet for many millions of of other people in Canada and around the world, Christmas Eve is a deeply significant night of the year in spiritual terms.  Christmas emerged as the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus.  Whether in churches or other places of worship, or at home, or in other locations, Christians gather together celebrate the Nativity, the birth of Jesus.

Check out some of these books from our display, “Holidays and Holy Days.”

Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1)


source: CC BY-NC 2.0 Reginald James/TheBlackHour.com

From the Official Kwanzaa Website:

“Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. Celebrated from 26 December thru 1 January, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.”

Find out more:

And check out these books from our display, “Holidays and Holy Days” :

Festivus (December 23)

“I’ve got a lot of problems with you people!”

FestivusPole
Festivus Pole. source: anonymous

 

Do you have your Festivus Pole up yet?

With heart warming traditions such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength,” Festivus is a holiday which owes its popularity to the sitcom “Seinfeld.”  

What was once fictional has become a real holiday for many people, celebrated every year on December 23.

 

 

 


For more on this secular anti-celebration:


You can also find out more about Festivus in this book from your School Library:

 

Las Posadas

Las Posados: December 16-24



This 9 day festival is central to Navidad (Christmas) celebrations in Mexico. This is a neighbourhood festival that commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph, who could not find posadas, (Spanish for “lodging”) before the birth of Jesus. A procession, including people dressed as Angels, Saints and the Holy Family, marches through the neighbourhood, knocking on doors looking for a place to stay. Like Mary and Joseph, they are refused, until finally the parade ends at one home where they are welcomed in. Feasting ensues, including a pinata for the children.


Find out more:

Aleteia logo
Aleteia logo

Be sure to check out our display, “Holidays & Holy Days,” at your School Library.

Bodhi Day

Rohatsu/ Laba/ Bodhi Day: December 8



Rohatsu, Laba and Bodhi Day are all different names for the celebration of the Enlightenment of the the Buddha.

In much of the world is is known as Bodhi Day. In China it is known as the festival of Laba, while in Japan it is known as Rohatsu.

The religion known as Buddhism dates back to the 6th or 5th Century BCE, when the Indian Prince Siddhartha Gautama became the “Buddha,” literally, “the Enlightened One.” The followers of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism observe Rohatsu, Laba, or Bodhi Day, in celebration of the day that the Buddha sat below the Bodhi Tree and meditated on the meaning of life. 

The Great Buddha at  Kōtoku-in, Kamakura, Japan
source: Wikimedia Commons; Bgabel at wikivoyage shared, CC BY-SA 3.0

This day is celebrated mainly by the Buddhists of northern and eastern Asia, and in countries to which those people have immigrated (such as Canada). To many this holiday is known as Bodhi Day and it occurs on the 8th day of the 12th month of the lunar year. With the Japanese adoption of the western calendar (Gregorian) Rohatsu is fixed on December 8th.

For more on Rohutsu and the life of the Buddha:

and these books in your School Library:

Happy Hanukkah!

(November 28 to December 6)

Hanukkah is almost here. Jews in Canada and around the world celebrate Hanukkah starting at sundown on Sunday, November 28.

Source: CC/Robert Couse Baker

The Festival of Lights is a celebration of God’s deliverance and provision. The event began in remembrance of Maccabean revolt in the 2nd Century BCE, when the Hebrews recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem, the spiritual centre of Judaism. Each candle of the Menorah is lit, one per day for the 8 day Festival.

Like all Jewish Holy Days, which follow the lunar Hebrew Calendar and therefore vary against the Gregorian calendar, Hanukkah can occur anytime from late November to late December. This year Hanukkah will conclude on the evening of December 6.

For more information on Hanukkah, check out some of the following:

Check out our display: “Holidays & Holy Days” books such as:

Christmas Eve (December 24)

134746__nativity_l

For many Canadians and for millions of people around the world, Christmas is a secular holiday.  It is not a religious holy day, rather it is a cultural event based on things such as family, gift giving and charity.  For many Christmas is focused on children and the central figure is Santa.

Yet for many millions of of other people in Canada and around the world, Christmas Eve is a deeply significant night of the year in spiritual terms.  Christmas emerged as the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus.  Whether in churches or other places of worship, or at home, or in other locations, Christians gather together celebrate the Nativity, the birth of Jesus.

Check out some of these books from our display, “Holidays and Holy Days.”

Festivus (December 23)

“I’ve got a lot of problems with you people!”

FestivusPole
Festivus Pole. source: anonymous

 

Do you have your Festivus Pole up yet?

With heart warming traditions such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength,” Festivus is a holiday which owes its popularity to the sitcom “Seinfeld.”  

What was once fictional has become a real holiday for many people, celebrated every year on December 23.

 

 

 


For more on this secular anti-celebration:


You can also find out more about Festivus in this book from your School Library:

 

Las Posadas (December 16-24)

lasposadasThis 9 day festival is central to Navidad (Christmas) celebrations in Mexico. This is a neighbourhood festival that commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph, who could not find posadas, (Spanish for “lodging”) before the birth of Jesus. A procession, including people dressed as Angels, Saints and the Holy Family, marches through the neighbourhood, knocking on doors looking for a place to stay. Like Mary and Joseph, they are refused, until finally the parade ends at one home where they are welcomed in. Feasting ensues, including a pinata for the children.

Los Posadas runs from December 16 to December 24.

Find out more:


Be sure to check out our display, “Holidays & Holy Days,” at your School Library.

Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1)

 

source: Official Kwanzaa Website

From the Official Kwanzaa Website:

“Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. Celebrated from 26 December thru 1 January, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.”

Find out more:

And check out these books from our display, “Holidays and Holy Days” :