‘Tis the season

Celebrating the upcoming holidays


Each year, people spend $6 billion on Christmas decorations.

It’s Thanksgiving night. Dinner has just ended, and pie is being served for dessert. A relative turns on the radio and Christmas carols fill the room. It happens every year— Christmas creeps in as soon as Thanksgiving is considered “over”.

Christmas may be the most publicized holiday around this time of year, being popular along with Black Friday shopping, Christmas music, Christmas movies and even students and teachers getting a lengthy Christmas break, however Christmas is not the only holiday celebrated during this time of the year.

Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25 every year. Children go to bed early on Dec. 24, waiting for Santa Claus to come to their houses in the night and leave them gifts under their tree.

Most people are familiar with the most common idea of Christmas, making cookies, buying loved ones gifts, taking the kids to go sit on Santa’s lap at the mall, putting up lights and having decorative displays outside of the house. Getting together with family members to enjoy time together and exchange gifts is also a big part of the holiday.

“I like just spending time with my family and enjoying all of the Christmas lights and decorations,” freshman Sydney Palakovich said.

Hanukkah, another popular transliteration being Chanukkah, is also celebrated around this time. Hanukkah is an eight day holiday celebrated by those of the Jewish faith that consists of many traditions.

“We follow the usual Chanukkah traditions, such as lighting the menorah and playing dreidel,” community member Sam Wright said.

The nightly lighting of the menorah —a sacred candelabrum that holds nine candles used in the celebration of Hanukkah— special prayers and festive foods are other traditions that are observed during Hanukkah. Each day, one candle is lit on the menorah. Those who celebrate Hanukkah also receive gifts on each of the eight days of the holiday.

“The specific tradition we do is on the 5th day of Chanukkah, my mom will make latkes. They are just like potato pancakes,” Wright said.

Hanukkah is not always on the same days every year. It starts on the 25th day of Kislev on the Jewish calendar, which is around the 9th month and spans over the course of eight days. This traditionally has the start of Hanukkah falling between the end of November and December. Hanukkah extends from Dec. 12 to Dec. 20 in 2017.

Kwanzaa is also celebrated during this time. Kwanzaa is a celebration of African cultural heritage and traditional values.

This celebration consists of lighting candles and pouring libations from a wooden cup. Libations are drinks offered to a god. Often, there is also a ceremony held with performances of music and drumming. There’s also a discussion of African history that takes place as part of the celebration. This week-long celebration ends with a feast and the exchanging of gifts.

They have a candlestick that holds seven candles for the seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and earth.

There are numerous holidays to celebrate this time of the year for everyone to be included in the joy. Even though some are not as popular or well known as others, that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as interesting or important.