5 December Celebrations

Continuing my exploration of the holidays and celebrations in December let’s look at 5 December celebrations held during the second week of the month.

December 10th

Human Rights Day:

In 1950 the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution inviting all states and interested organizations to observe Human Rights Day on December 10th each year.

This year’s theme is dedicated to launching a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights.

Read more about this at the United Nations’ website

image thanks to Geralt at pixabay.com

December 12th

Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast Day: Celebrations often begin several days before the 12th. The celebrations include processions, Aztec religious dances, singing, food, and prayer. Bright reds, greens, and are the colors for this feast day. The events and the day honor the mother of Jesus, also called the Virgin Mary.

In the 16th Century, Saint Juan Diego saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary who told him to build a church on the site where she appeared (in Mexico City, Mexico). He relayed this request to the bishop who requested proof that the apparition existed. The Virgin asked Juan Diego to gather roses on the hillside (neither native to the area or in season) and take some to the bishop. So Juan Diego wrapped the flowers in his cloak and took them to the bishop. When Juan Diego opened his cloak, it had an image of the Virgin on it. Check out the link to learn more about the image and the miracles attributed to Juan Diego.

In 1945 Pope Pius XII passed the decree that Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of all the Americas. 

More on Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe can be found here

December 13th

Saint Lucia Day:   

This festival is celebrated predominately in Scandinavian countries honoring one of the earliest Christian martyrs, St. Lucia.

On the feast day, schools close around noon. Families celebrate in their homes by having their eldest daughter dress in a white robe or gown with a candlelit wreath on her head. She serves the family (and guests throughout the month) treats. Traditional treats include coffee, mulled wine, baked goods, and ginger biscuits.

The festival begins with the selection of a young girl represent St. Lucia. Girls are selected for local and national processions.

The St. Lucia designee leads a procession of young girls dressed in white with lighted wreaths on their heads. Also in the procession are young boys in white clothing, tall paper cone hats, and carrying stars on sticks. They sing traditional songs.

You can find more information about this holiday here.

Image thanks to Sultry/sulky/silly and Flickr.

December 15th

Zamenhof Day AKA Esperanto Day:  On this day Esperantists remember the birthday of Ludwig Zamenhof, inventor of Esperanto. He presented the first version of an international language to friends attending his birthday party in 1878. He was 19 years old. By 1887 he published his international language in a book, giving birth to what is called Esperanto.

Esperantists celebrate the day by buying a new book in Esperanto, reading poetry, or in some way honoring Esperanto literature. Read more about this on Wikipedia. 

December 16th

Las Posadas: 

Spain, Mexico, and Guatemala celebrate Las Posadas. It begins on the 16th and runs until the 24th of December. The tradition commemorates Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Each of the nine days represents a month of Mary’s pregnancy.

Each community selects a couple to represent Mary and Joseph. Nine different families agree to house the travelers for one of the nights.

At dusk, a procession of the faithful takes to the streets. Children often dress as angels and shepherds. Religious figures, images, and lighted candles also are part of the procession. The representatives of the Holy Family stand outside local houses singing songs and asking for lodging. House after house refuses them lodging until they arrive at the designated house. Finally, they get permission to enter. They share prayers, food, and festival songs. Finally, activities end with a piñata in the shape of a star.

And so it continues each night with a different house as the chosen Posadas (Spanish for lodgings or accommodations) culminating in a midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.

Read more about Las Posadas traditions here.

Image thanks to Anza Trail NPS on Flickr

 

If you celebrate one of these holidays, I wish you the best. I hope I did your holiday justice with my brief intro and I’d love to hear how you celebrate.

Do you have a holiday or tradition during the first week of December?

I learned a lot researching this week’s days of celebration.

Were any of these holidays previously unknown to you?

Please share your comments below.

Celebrating and Remembering: 5 December Holidays

December is a month of celebrating and remembering, a month of symbols. Christmas stars and trees, festival food, coal and golden switches, saints’ days, ceremonial candles, long nights, remembrance, and gift giving. Let’s explore some of the holidays (past and present) celebrated each week during this wintery month.

We’ll start at the beginning: the first day of December. Note: I’m extending the week to include the first few days.

December 1st

World Aids Day

celebrating & remembering in December, world aids day, lynettemburrows.com(image courtesy of Jayel Aheram and Flickr)

 I’m sure most of you have heard of Aids. Many of you have had friends or family affected by Aids. It’s important to remember this disease is not yet conquered. Let us re-dedicate ourselves to its eradication and to remembering all those stricken by this devastating illness.

December 5th

Krampusnacht  

celebrating and remembering in December, Krampusnacht, lynettemburrows.com(public domain image)

Did you know that in Alpine countries, Saint Nicholas has a devilish companion named Krampus? Krampus carries chunks of coal and bundles of birch branches (called ruten). He visits each town rattling his chains and punishing bad children. HIs visits come the night before the Feast of Saint Nicholas. Some households keep a bundle of branches in a vase all year long to remind the children to behave. Krampus probably started long ago as a pagan ritual that has lost appeal to more modern folk. In recent years increased interest in Krampus shows up in the form of cards, tattoos, and parades.

December 6th

Saint Nicholas Day

(celebrating and remembering in December, St Nicholas Day, lynettemburrows.comImage courtesy of Dassel and pixabay)

Nikolaos of Myra, (15 March 270 – 6 December 343) was a Christian saint and Greek Bishop of Myra. Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker. Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors, merchants, archers, repentant thieves, children, brewers, pawnbrokers, and students in various cities and countries around Europe. His legendary habit of secret gift-giving led to the traditional model of Santa Claus (“Saint Nick”) through the Dutch Sinterklaas.

December 8th

Bodhi Day also known as Rohatsu

celebrating and remembering, Bodhi, lynettemburrows.com(Image courtesy of vitamin on Pixabay)

This Day of Enlightenment celebrates the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Gautama) experienced enlightenment. His enlightenment came while he meditated under the bodhi tree. Often this day involves a meal of tea and cake and is spent in meditation, studying Buddha texts, and chanting. According to my research, Bodhi  Japanese Zen Buddhists celebrate this day. Tibetian Buddhists and Theravada Buddhists each celebrate this event on different dates.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception 

celebrating and remembering in December, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, lynettemburrows.com(image courtesy of Alexander Baxevanis on flickr)

Many Catholic countries celebrate the day of Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception as a public holiday. Celebrations include parades, the lighting of an Advent candle, and songs. Also part of the holiday is piety and salvation as represented by Mary, the mother of Jesus.

If you celebrate one of these holidays, I wish you the best. I hope I did your holiday justice with my brief intro and I’d love to hear how you celebrate.

Do you have a holiday or tradition during the first week of December?

Learn more about holidays around the world in these posts:

Were any of these holidays previously unknown to you?

Please share your comments below.