Even though Christmas is rapidly approaching, it’s important to consider all the other Holidays that are not just surrounding Christmas, but also exist in our city. My love for other cultures is deep, and I’m proud of the way our city embraces and welcomes them all. As a result, I am sharing all the other holidays that are equally important in this blog post.
#1: Diwali, India
- A major five-day festival of lights that’s observed in fall (the date is different every year). Known from Sanskrit texts, this ancient holiday celebrates light over darkness and good over evil. Among other customs, Hindus honor the goddess Lakshmi, who symbolizes wealth, and make rangoli, colorful patterns created using paint, flowers, chalk, rice, sand, and more. The holiday is also known for gift giving (particularly anything gold), as well as endless feasts. The holiday is also known for sweets.
#2: St. Nicholas Day, Czech Republic
- Saint Nicholas, a Greek Bishop from the fourth century who protected children, is actually based on the jolly old man. Among European nations, St. Nicholas Day is still widely celebrated on December 6th, although the traditions vary from country to country. A devil and an angel accompany St. Nick in the Czech Republic. St. Nick is dressed like a bishop. According to St. Nick, a child either gets a treat from the angel or gets terrorized by the devil based on his behavior.
#3: St. Nicholas Day, Netherlands
- St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 5th in the Netherlands, where St. Nick, or Sinterklaas, catches a steamboat from Spain. Kids prepare by leaving their clogs (or regular shoes) by the fireplace or door. In the tradition, the shoes are filled with hay or carrots for Sinterklaas’ white horse, with the hope that small gifts will replace this gift.
#4: Christmas Boats, Greece
- Two reasons could be attributable to the boat-decorating tradition: First, the country has a long maritime tradition, which means that boats have always been part of the culture, so they were decorated long before modern versions of Christmas (including trees) were invented. Another reason boats are decorated on December 6th is that St. Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors.
#5: Thirteen Yule Lads, Iceland
- Twelve troll-like Yule Lads leave gifts in children’s shoes every night for 13 nights before Christmas, each with a unique name and personality like Santa Claus or a dwarve. Most of the lads are mischievous, stealing food and other items.
#6: Las Posadas, Mexico
- Las Posadas (meaning inns) are nightly procession celebrations in Mexico that originate with Spanish missionaries. It reminds us of Jesus and Mary seeking shelter, and usually involves lots of singing and children dressed as angels. At the end of the night, each posada ends up at someone’s home, where they’re accorded hospitality with the likes of tamales and the like.
#7: Yule Goat, Scandinavia
- Yule logs are common, but what about Yule goats? In Scandinavia, particularly in Sweden, Norway and Finland, locals celebrate a variation of the Santa Claus legend in which he rides a goat instead of a reindeer-drawn sleigh. Therefore, goat ornaments can be found everywhere. While the goat structure is supposed to remain in place until New Year’s Day, it’s the unofficial sabotage of said goat that makes it especially notable, as it unavoidably burns down each year more times than not.
I can write about a few more, but I think this serves to see just how tradition differs from nation to nation, and how blessed the whole world is to be free to express and take part in these small Holiday traditions. All of them are beautiful, meaningful and important. Let’s embrace what makes everyone so different and thus beautiful.
Hope you have all enjoyed this read, and I wish you all a wonderful Christmas!
CREDIT: TRVL Channel