With a chill in the air, and an unfolding of bustling energy in our daily lives, we experience the month of December with frenzy, reflection and joy. Given the widespread prejudice in today’s world, December is an important season for people around the world to join hands in celebrating their cultural and spiritual heritage. We need to remember that we are all citizens of the world and have the choice to allow our faith to either divide or unite us. I encourage you to take the time to learn about our multicultural world with joy and love. Enjoy your heritage, celebrate others, and delight in the festivities ahead with neighbors, colleagues, friends and family!
During this season, we delight in our senses. Surrounded by holiday music and the smells of festive meals, pine trees and boughs, baked cookies, roasted chestnuts, and fires in the fireplace, we are reminded of happy times and excited to make new and everlasting memories. Cooking for others is such a pleasure. Roast your own chestnuts with Martha Stewart’s Oven Roasted Chestnut recipe. Bake a traditional Jewish Ruggelach treat from Food52. Try Martha Stewart’s Russian Tea Cake holiday cookies. Wow your guests with Mexican Hot Chocolate from Barefoot Contessa.
Have a happy, joyful and peaceful December!
Birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad
Maulidur Rasul, also colloquially know as Mawlid or the Birthday of the Prophet, is a holiday that observes and celebrates the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is often observed on the 12th day of the third month of the Islamic calendar. While Sunni Muslims often celebrate it on this date, Shi’a Muslims usually celebrate it on the 17th day of the month.
Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
Celebrated on December 12th in many communities all throughout the Americas, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrates the Virgin Mary – who is the Patron saint of Mexico – and commemorates her appearing to a man in Mexico City twice in 1531. This holiday is not only popular in Mexico but is also popular in the Southwestern United States and all across the Americas. Our Lady of Guadalupe is considered the patroness of the Americas as well as the patron saint of unborn children as well.
December 12th-December 20th
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. It is also known as the Festival of Lights and the Feast of Dedication. Hanukkah is celebrated with a series of rituals that are performed every day throughout the 8-day holiday.
St. Lucia Day (Swedish)
Each year on Dec. 13, Saint Lucia Day is celebrated widely throughout the Scandinavian countries, including Sweden, Norway and Finland. This day, is held in honor of the woman said to have been one of the first Christian martyrs in history.
Saturnalia is an ancient Roman festival in honor of the agricultural god Saturn, held between the 17 and 23rd of December during the winter solstice. It is a time for merry making, feasting, goodwill and generosity. The tradition includes exchanging gifts and the decoration of trees.
December 21- January 1st
Yule or Yuletide is a festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples. Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin, and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht. It later underwent Christianised reformulation resulting in the term Christmastide. Yule, is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun’s “rebirth” was celebrated with much joy. The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival.
For some people, the Winter Solstice is a mystical day on which pagans engaged in surreptitious rituals. For others, it is simply an astronomical event that tells them they have reached the time of the year where the nights are longer than the days. However, for most people from around the world, this day is one that is marked by a number of different celebrations.
Christmas Day (Christian)
Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ who Christians believe is the son of God. During this day, there is traditional gift giving, family and social gatherings,
feasting and symbolic decoration.
Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish)
Celebrated on the day following Christmas, Boxing Day is a holiday that is celebrated in the U.K and in areas that were previously British colonies at some point in their history. It is celebrated in Greenland, Uganda, Australia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Denmark, Belize and in approximately 20 other countries.
December 26th-January 1st
Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration that is celebrated in the United States, as well as other countries with populations of African descendants. It is a holiday which celebrates and honors African culture in not only the African-American community but also in the World African community. This holiday is celebrated from December 26th through January 1st.
Is a Japanese traditional celebration on the last day of the year. Traditionally, it was held on the final day of the 12th lunar month. With Japan’s switch to using the Gregorian calendar at the beginning of the Meiji era, December 31 (New Year’s Eve) is now used for the celebration.
New Year’s Eve
Just about everyone in the world is familiar with the concept of New Year’s Eve. It is something that happens in every country in the world and is known for being the day before a brand-new year. A time of the year when people get together and celebrate the trials and tribulations of the past year, and set their gaze towards the coming of the next year. A time when anything and everything seems possible.
Photo Courtesy of Dunton Hot Springs
Photo Courtesy of Marianna Milkis
The holiday season is officially in full swing. For Americans, the holidays starts with Thanksgiving serving as a perfect reminder to be grateful for good health, friends and family, and the comfort of home. It is also a time to be mindful of those less fortunate, who have been displaced from their secure homes and livelihoods. With the natural disasters of these past few months in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California, and so many other people in need around the world, I encourage you to make some gesture of kindness, whether small or large, to help those in need. Be mindful that we are all citizens of the world.
November 11th, Veterans day: Let’s thank the Veterans who serve our country and fight for our freedom.
November 23, Thanksgiving: Sharing the traditional meal with family and friends is always so delightful! The smells of turkey roasting, pies baking, and firewood burning permeate our homes. Have fun making the side dishes using seasonal produce, take the time to set a beautiful table, and dress up for the occasion… is magical. With gratitude, we make a toast and savor the bounty before us! Finish off a turkey dinner with this Pumpkin Pie with Rum Whipped Cream from Barefoot Contessa or this Sweet Potato Casserole from Pinch of Yum will be a crowd pleaser for all ages. Make the most of your leftovers with this delicious Loaded Turkey Panini recipe from Pinch of Yum, because it doesn’t have to be a special occasion for you to relish in the taste of seasonal ingredients and artfully crafted dishes.
As we approach the holiday and the rush of Black Friday on the 24th and Cyber Monday on the 27th we are tempted to focus on the material. While snagging great deals on gifts for loved ones is satisfying, it is important to remain levelheaded and mindful of what we already have.
Hope your November is mindful, focused, and full of warmth,
Photo Courtesy of Caleb Smallwood