It’s been a looong year for all of us. A lot of plans have been postponed, pushed back, or canceled. But hey! Winter is here. This special time of year is when people connect with their loved ones and gather to celebrate longtime traditions — traditions that are engraved in our hearts, no matter where we are in the world.
2020 is not over yet, and we’ve rounded up 5 ways people celebrate the holidays around the world because fun celebrations never stop, even when temperatures drop.
Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew, and it’s often called the Festival of Lights. This Jewish holiday celebration is an eight-day event which began on the evening of December 10 and ended on the evening of December 18. This celebration revolves around a menorah. Traditional Hanukkah menorahs are made of pure gold and nine candles. And this holiday celebration isn’t complete without food! Hanukkah favorites include Latkes, also known as potato pancakes, and Sufganiyot, which is a jam-filled donut. Another fun Hanukkah tradition is playing with a dreidel (four-sided spinning tops) and of course, exchanging gifts.
Las Posadas is a Mexican Christmas tradition that is also celebrated in Central America, Guatemala, Cuba, and by Latinx families in the United States. The celebration started on December 16 and will last until December 24. This tradition is closely tied to the religious story of the nativity. Other fun activities include playing musical instruments, singing Christmas carols, and playing the much-awaited game — a 7 pointed star piñata. Holiday feasting isn’t complete without tamales, enchiladas, tacos, and a toast to Mexican Ponche, a traditional beverage. Make your drink a bit warmer by adding whiskey or rum. Cheers!
Yule (Winter Solstice)
Yuletide is the celebration of the return of the sun. It originated way back in the 900s, and it's often celebrated for twelve days by Germanic people. This year’s longest night happened on December 21st. Popular activities to do during this celebration include making a DIY Evergreen Yule wreath, which is associated with protection and prosperity. Decorating a Yule tree, a living outdoor tree with hanging candles is also enjoyed by many. Part of the tradition is gift-giving, which everyone loves! Right?
We can all agree that Christmas is hailed as the most wonderful time of the year for a reason. It’s a season filled with gift-giving, putting up a Christmas tree (real or not—doesn’t matter!), writing letters to Santa, and waiting for the clock to strike at 12 every 25th of December so families can start opening presents and eating that one special dish you only taste during the holidays. This holiday brings families and friends closer together. After all, that is what the Christmas spirit is all about.
Kwanzaa is an African-American tradition full of vibrant colors, cultural music and dances, and lots of feasting. It’s an annual, week-long celebration of a good harvest that will start on December 26 and will last till the first of January. The name “Kwanzaa” comes from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits'' in Swahili. Family and friends gather for storytelling, poetry readings, drumming (everyone would dance to the beat of this!), and food. Everything is about family, fun, and festivity!
So there you have it! Remember, every Holiday is more meaningful when celebrated with loved ones. Of course, be socially-responsible and don’t forget to wear masks. It’s the perfect time to reconnect and relive the traditions that have been passed on for generations.
What other Winter traditions do you celebrate aside from these awesome ones we’ve listed? We’d love for you to share them in the comment box. Cheers!