Celebrations occur across the world, for many different reasons. Christmas, is a celebration of Jesus’s birth, although many more than just Christians celebrate it. In different countries or areas, people celebrate different traditions that have different cultural significance. The holidays covered in this article are by no means all, or even close to, the number of holidays celebrated worldwide.
Ramadan is a celebration of the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad. It occurs during the ninth month of the muslim yearly calendar, around eleven days earlier every year. It is celebrated by adult Muslims, although there are exceptions for those elderly, sick, or pregnant. Ramadan is a month of fasting, introspect, and prayers. It lasts 29-30 days each year. Fasting is abstaining from food or drink from dawn until sunset each day. An unusual fact is that many people actually gain weight during the month of fasting. It’s because people exercise less during the day, eat richer foods than usual, and eat their meals right before bed.
Also called Deepvali, Diwali is the Hindu festival on lights. Diwali falls of the fifteenth day of the Hindu month Kartik. It is the night of the darkest new moon and celebrates the victory of light over dark, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Diwali is celebrated with lamps and candles, as well as other lights and home decoration. It falls in October or November of each year. There are gifts, religious rituals, feasts and sweets. Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists celebrate Diwali.
Kwanzaa is a celebration of African culture observed in the United States and many other nations in the world. It was created in 1966 as the first specifically African-American holiday. It is a celebration of the seven traditional principles of African heritage. Kwanzaa is from the 26th of December to the 1st of January every year. Kwanzaa is the combination of several traditional African harvest festivals. The celebration of Kwanzaa includes a kinara (candle holder) with 7 candles, foods, songs, and African dances, as well as other activities.
The second most important day in Japanese tradition, Omisoka is celebrated on December 31 every year. People clean in preparation for the new year, and make food for the next three days. At 11 pm participants eat a traditional meal of toshikoshi-soba (noodles). They also watch a New Year’s talent competition. At midnight, people visit Shinto shrines.
Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival held on December 17 on the Julian calendar. It celebrated the Roman agricultural deity Saturn. It involved public rituals and a sacrifice. The day, as well as the days following were free from buisness. Privatly, Saturnalia was a day of free speech. Slaves were permitted to say whatever they wanted, and could participate in the festivites. Gambling and card-playing, normally frowned upon, were permitted and slaves could play with their masters.