December Holiday Trivia
• National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day – December 7
• Human Rights Day ― December 10
• Chanukah (date varies according to the Hebrew lunar calendar showing 25 Kislev) lasts for eight days. All holidays begin at sundown. Dec. 20 is the first day of Chanukah 2011, so the holiday actually begins the night before at sundown.
• Wright Brothers Day – December 17
• December –Winter Solstice ― December 22
• Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth – December 25, yearly according to the Gregorian Calendar
• Kwanzaa is a holiday honoring the culture and traditions of people of African origin – December 26 to January 1
• New Year’s Eve ― December 31
Chanukah is the festival of lights. The term ‘Chanukah’, in Hebrew, means dedication. It recalls the time when the Maccabeus’ rededicated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, after they won the battle with the Greeks, for control over their holy site. Chanukah begins four days before the new moon, which is the darkest night of the Kislev month. The month is close to the winter solstice, which is the longest and darkest month of the year. Like many other faiths, the Jewish holiday of Chanukah brings light in the darkest time of the year.
Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth to a maiden from Galilee. It does not celebrate the fact that Santa brings us presents! Christmas literally means the Mass (celebration) of Christ, which is a Greek word and title, meaning anointed or one set apart by God for a special purpose. Christ is equivalent to the Hebrew word Messiah.
Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States to honor universal African-American heritage and culture. It is observed from December 26 to January 1 each year. Activities include lighting a candleholder with seven candles. It culminates in a feast and gift giving. Maulana Karenga created the commemoration of Kwanzaa, which was first celebrated in 1966.
Reindeer live in the northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia. They are members of the deer family. Reindeer in the United States and Canada are called caribou. The word Reindeer was derived from “running deer.” Male reindeer are called bulls and females are called cows. Baby reindeer are called calves. Reindeer typically have a lifespan of around 10 years.
The Christmas tree is sometimes called a Yule tree. The tradition of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas is claimed to have started in Germany in the 16th century. Each year, 33 to 36 million Christmas trees are produced in America, and 50 to 60 million are produced in Europe. In 1895, U.S. President Grover Cleveland proudly sponsored the first electrical Christmas tree in the White House.
Writing letters to Santa Claus has been a Christmas tradition for children for many years. These letters contain a wish list of toys to reward the children for their good behavior. Some social scientists found that boys and girls write different types of letters. Girls generally write longer but more polite lists, and express the nature of Christmas more in their letters than those written by boys. Girls also more often request gifts for other people.
The modern Santa Claus is a conglomeration of sources, a legendary being that has evolved over the years. The name “Santa Claus” comes from the Dutch “Sinter Klaas,” which in turn, was a form of Saint Nicholas. Our modern Santa Claus took his name from the Christian Saint Nicholas.
Rudolph was created for Montgomery Ward in 1939 by one of their copywriters, Robert L May. Rudolph does have antlers!
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was first published on December 17, 1843.
The world’s largest Christmas tree can be found at Kings Canyon National Park, California.
England invented eggnog.
Best wishes for good health, love, peace,
and harmony, every day!
Marcia Casar Friedman