Holidays Celebrated in December

Happy Holidays from the A&E Department!

December 19, 2022

Winter break draws near! As we dive into the bliss of a sweet and comfy pillow that is winter break, we would like to share some holidays that are celebrated in this month of December.


Photography Students

Christmas is a national religious holiday celebrated by Christian people. It is celebrated in remembrance of Jesus’ birth. 

A meteor that celebrates Christmas stated that getting together with family and friends is one of his favorite things about the holiday. He said that Injera with Doro Wat and Tibs were his favorite meals of the holiday. When asked to describe Christmas in three words, he said “enjoying quality time with family, having fun with friends, and playing around”. “My favorite part of the holiday is everyone coming along to celebrate the birth of our lord, eating and having fun,” he added. One thing that makes his Christmas different is that it is celebrated on January 7, because of the use of the Ge’ez Calendar which is 8 years behind compared to the Gregorian Calendar.

Hanukkah (Chanukah)

What makes Hanukkah a unique holiday is that it is celebrated for 8 days straight; starting from December 18th to the 26th. Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem following the Maccabean Revolt. There are 9 candles for Hanukkah, one of them is called “shamash” or the “helper”. The shamash candle is used to light up the other 8 candles. The other eight candles represent the eight days Hanukkah is celebrated. Each day one candle is lit up. On Hanukkah, families cook and enjoy many traditional foods such as latkes which are pancake potatoes, sufganiyot (jelly donuts), brisket, etc… Playing with dreidels and exchanging gifts is also a big tradition of Hanukkah.


Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday created by the nationalist Dr. Maulana Krenga in 1966. Dr. Krenga made this holiday to unite and hype up the African American people after the Watts Riots in Los Angeles. Watts Riots was a large series of riots that started on August 11, 1965 and lasted for six days in Los Angeles in the neighborhood of Watts. The Watts Riot resulted in 34 deaths, over 1000 injuries and in the destruction of damaging buildings worth over $40 million. After the deadly riot, Dr. Krenga wanted to create something that would empower the African American community and he created Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday, but a cultural one with an inherent spiritual quality.

— Dr. Maulana Krenga

There are seven candles in Kwanzaa that hold unique meanings. They represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa, which are unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. 

 There is one black candle in the middle that represents a black person. The three red candles represent the struggles of African Americans. The other three green candles represent the future and hope that will come from their struggles. 


Japanese New Year (正月, Shōgatsu)

We bet that Shogatsu or Japanese New Year is a holiday that many of you are unaware of. Fortunately, we were able to get ahold of the one and only, 日本語教師 Or Japanese teacher, Mr. Russell! Mr. Russell was very kind to spread some of his ablaze wisdom on the topic of Japanese New Year. He mentioned how for Japanese New Year, kids and teens are given red envelopes that have currency in them as gifts for the new year which is called Otoshidama. “A lot of kids your age love it because they get sometimes a few 100 bucks,” Mr. Russell said. He also told us that they have a traditional Japanese food called Osechi-ryōri, Mr. Russell described it as a dish made out of many small appetizers. “It’s kind of rare these days, but it takes quite a while to actually prepare.”

Image of the Osechi-ryōri Japanese dish

They of course spend time with their family and play traditional Japanese card games.  He also mentioned how couples usually spend this holiday together and that college students and those in their 20s may spend the holiday with their friends more than with their family. Mr. Russell suggested for you all to watch this Youtube video, Mochitsuki: Making Mochi with Monks for Japanese New Year to learn more about Japanese traditional and Japanese New Year customs. To top it all off, the man himself would describe the holiday in three words, those being family, friends, and money. 🤑

We hope that you learned more about the different holidays celebrated and we wish you the best of holidays! And take that break. Whether you deserve it or not, you need it. Really, we can all use that break. So please please relax and really enjoy your break. I guarantee you, you won’t get another break like this until we are out of summer, so enjoy it. Until next year Lotus students. 

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