We’ve spent the last three days looking at the three most popular December holidays that are celebrated in the United States. I told you about the distinct histories of Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. For my closing installment of this series on December holidays in the United States, I’d like to talk about the many other holidays observed this month.
Muslims celebrate Ramadan. Ramadan is the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar. This is when the prophet Muhammad heard the first verses of the Qur’an from Allah. Muslims observe Ramadan by fasting from dawn to sunset. The fasting is intended to instill strength, patience, and goodwill throughout this holy month. Ramadan will often times fall in December, however, since it is based on the Islamic calendar, the dates can vary. It was celebrated in JUNE and JULY this year!
The Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Mexican holiday dating back to the morning of December 9, 1531, when a ghostly girl on top of the Tepeyac Hill instructed one Juan Diego to build a church there in her honor. As a miraculous sign to prove her identity as the Virgin Mary, the apparition had Juan Diego pick Castillian Roses (a foreign flower to Mexico that inexplicably bloomed on the hilltop in mid-December). The lady rolled the flowers in a fabric. On December 12, when Juan Diego, showed the roses to the Bishop, the image of the Lady of Guadalupe was there on the fabric!
The Japanese celebrate New Year’s on the same date as us, but they don’t call it New Year’s. Instead, they call it Shōgatsu. And before Shōgatsu, they celebrate Ōmisoka (better known to English-speakers as New Year’s Eve). Shōgatsu is the most important day of the year for the Japanese which makes Ōmisoka the second-most important. They observe it by eating a bowl of long noodles called Toshikoshi, which translates to “crossing over from one year to the next.” The Japanese will also traditionally make a midnight visit to local temples or shrines to be there when the new year arrives.
There are other holidays in December that you might celebrate. If I missed your holiday, I’m sorry. There are so many of them! Whether you celebrate one of the three I mentioned on today’s post, the one’s I discussed previously this week, or one that I missed like St. Lucia’s Day, St. Nicholas Day, Three King’s Day, or Boxing Day, the important thing is that they all seem to share a theme of togetherness and warmth throughout the darkest and coldest time of year. Happy holidays, Everyone, and thanks for reading!