Happy Holidays. What different December and New Year’s traditions are you celebrating?
I understand that many cultures around the world have Almsgiving, Thanksgiving, or something similar. American Thanksgiving is in November. Canadian Thanksgiving is in October.
In the county that I live in, we have a Christmas parade on about the first weekend in December.
In America, December 7th is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
I live less than a mile from where Lew Wallace wrote Ben Hur. In Ben Hur and in the Gospel of Matthew, there’s a star of Bethlehem. In the pamphlet, “How I Came To Write Ben Hur” By Lew Wallace, he says that the only way that the star could have led the 3 wise men to the baby Jesus would be if it was a speaking star and that he doesn’t believe it.
One Astronomy theory about the star of Bethlehem is that Jupiter, Venus, and a star that I can’t remember if it’s Regulus or Arcturus lined up to appear to be one star in about 6 or 5 BC.
When I was 11, we celebrated Advent, the 24 days before Christmas. I was given a new little collectible Christmas ornament every day from December 1 to December 24th.
On Christmas Eve, we drive about 60 miles to my grandparents'. We stay overnight and celebrate Christmas the next day on both my Mom’s and Dad’s sides of the family.
In my family, we have Christmas stockings. They are filled up with oranges, nuts, collectible coins, chocolate coins, little toys, candy, gift certificates, and things like that.
My brother-in-law’s mother is Italian. Instead of Santa Claus, they have Bo-fon-a (probably spelled wrong). Bofona is a witch that leaves toys in children’s shoes and I guess maybe also in the stockings.
In the American version of the Santa Claus story, he has 8 reindeer and he adds Rudolph, the 9th reindeer. In the Norse Mythology version which came first, Odin flies across the sky on his horse with 8 legs. The 8 legs became 8 reindeer in traditions over time.
Greek (Eastern Orthodox) Christians celebrate gift giving on Three Kings Day (January 6). For whatever reason, they also have Easter on a different week than Catholics do.
In Spain and probably also Puerto Rico, they have the 3 wise men giving gifts to children instead of Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, The South American Papa Noel, or the northern European Sinter Class. I understand that in Japan that they have a character with a name that translates to Santa Claus and dresses like Santa. I think that in Japan they have a cake for Christmas.
Americans have Christmas trees. The tradition goes back to Germany or Victorian England. Americans also have poinsettias, which strangely enough are from Mexico instead of the nativity scene of Bethlehem, West Bank!?
December 26th is Boxing Day in Canada. They give gifts in boxes. December 26th is St. Stephen’s Day for Catholics. I believe that the tradition is that St Stephen was martyred by being pushed off of a cliff by sort-of a first century AD lynch mob. I don’t know much else about him other than he never met Jesus and never heard him preach.
In Iran they celebrate Solstice. The Solstice is also the birthday of the Persian Mitra (The Roman Mithras) light and solar calendar god. Mithraism was so popular that if the story of Jesus never had traveled throughout Europe then Mithraism would be the most common religion in Europe. Egyptians and other cultures have Sun Gods born on the Solstice and worshipped on “Sun”day. Originally the Sabbath for Jews was on Saturday and Constantine changed this. Constantine first worshipped the Sun God Apollo.
I thought I saw on tv that nobody is allowed to be inside the Stonehenge anymore for Sunrise on the Winter Solstice when the light lines up with the stones. My opinion is that the Stonehenge people worshipped a calendar, light, or fertility deity on the Winter Solstice.
We were talking about December Holidays. Somebody mentioned the Festivus episode of Seinfeld. It also was said that Festivus is a real holiday that started in the 1970s!? I wouldn’t know if Festivus is religious or secular. I’ve heard that there’s now a secular holiday called “Human Light!?” I know little about this.
I understand that Siks, Jains, or Hindus celebrate Tet in December or January. I know very little about this Holiday.
I think that Northern Europeans Celebrate Yule or Yuletide.
I have this book, “The Christmas Sky” by Franklyn Mansfield Branley and Stephen Fieser. It’s written as if Jesus was a real baby born in Bethlehem but the time frame and Star of Bethlehem are different. If Jesus was a real baby, he would have been born in the Spring of 5 or 6 BC partly because King Herod would have died in 4 BC. Christmas replaced the rival Roman Holiday of Saturnalia which had gift giving on the day of the Solstice. Or if you believe that the Star of Bethlehem was Halley’s Comet, then Jesus was born in 11 BC.
Black Americans have Kwanzaa starting on December 26. I don’t want to try to explain it because I don’t know Swahili, but they light a new candle every day, sort of like Hanukkah.
Jews from Israel, America, and other places celebrate Hanukkah in December. It begins on a different day every year because of the lunar calendar.
Muslims celebrate Ramadan, which sometimes begins in December. I hope I’m not confusing Eid El Fitr with a different holiday or spelling it wrong, but they also have a holiday that’s sometimes in December about Abraham preparing his son Isaac or Ishmael for the sacrifice. Christians and Jews have the same story almost word for word and it’s a rather disturbing story that God told your father to sacrifice you.
Isaac Newton and Robert Ripley from “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” were born on Christmas. Rod Serling, the author of the Twilight Zone was born on Christmas. Somebody was telling me that a baseball player was born on Christmas.
New Yorkers watch a ball with over 200 or so lights slide down a pole and hit a switch within about a second of midnight for the New Year. If you live in Chicago’s time zone this is no big deal because it’s just 11 pm.
I think that the Chinese have New Year’s Day in January by the Lunar Calendar.
I know a lady that was born on December 19th, the same as her mother’s birthday.
Sorry for this kind-of annoying post.
We have a lot people on this forum from all over Europe, Australia, and America, so please tell us your other December or New Year's traditions. Also tell me if your birthday is on Christmas.
Edit: Santa Claus is possibly based off of Saint Myrna, the patron Saint of sailors and children, who lived in Turkey. He had adopted daughters. He threw a bag of gold coins into their window so that they wouldn't have to sell themselves into prostitution. They possibly hung their stockings that they wore next to the chimney to dry, starting the stockings tradition.