Note: This article has been updated to reflect this year’s dates for these holidays.
December has finally arrived, and with it comes an abundance of colorful lights, vibrant wreaths and a bunch of family parties.
Most of these celebrations are inspired by Christmas and Hanukkah, the two major religious holidays celebrated by Christians and Jewish believers, respectively, in America.
But, with an increasing amount of interfaith marriages, many American families have had to figure out how to celebrate both holidays, according to InterfaithFamily, a support website for interfaith families.
“Though the character of Christmas has changed significantly in modern times, Christmas has never been, forgive the expression, a small potatoes holiday like Hanukkah. As Jews are increasingly accepted into the mainstream of majority-Christian cultures, and marry into Christian families, there is no avoiding the primacy of Christmas.”
But those aren’t the only religious holidays this month that some families may have to celebrate together. In fact, the Interfaith Calendar organization lists a number of religious holidays for the month of December. Here are 12 holidays with a little explanation on each.
Dec. 6: Saint Nicholas Day — Christian
This holiday honors the birth of Saint Nicholas, the saint who serves as a role model for gift-giving and is commonly known as Santa Claus, according to Interfaith Calendar.
Dec. 8: Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) — Buddhist
This holiday celebrates the historical Buddha’s decision and vow to sit under the Bodhi tree until he reached spiritual enlightenment. It’s celebrated through meditation and is embraced similar to how Christians celebrate Christmas to honor Jesus Christ.
Dec. 8: Immaculate Conception — Catholic
In the lead-up to Jesus’ birthday celebration on Christmas, Catholics celebrate the day of Immaculate Conception to honor his mother Mary, who they say was preserved from original sin for her entire life.
Dec. 10 to 18: Hanukkah — Judaism
This is the eight-day Jewish festival of lights, which celebrates the Maccabean revolt in Egypt. Eight candles are lit with a menorah to honor the holiday.
Dec. 12: Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe — Catholic
This is a primarily Catholic holiday celebrated by Mexicans and Americans of Mexican descent that honors the reported appearance of the Virgin Mary in Mexico City, according to Interfaith Calendar.
Dec. 16: Posadas Navidenas — Christian
This is a primarily Hispanic Christian holiday that commends Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus, according to Interfaith Calendar.
Dec. 21: Solstice — Wicca/Pagan
Solstice is the point in the year “when the earth is most inclined away from the sun. It is the most southern or northern point depending on the hemisphere,” according to Interfaith Calendar. Pagans and Wicca believers will celebrate that event through Yule, in which believers also honor “the winter-born king, symbolized by the rebirth of the sun,” Interfaith Calendar explained.
Dec. 25: Christmas — Christian
Christmas is a primarily Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Many will attend church, have family parties and exchange gifts, according to Interfaith Calendar.
Dec. 26: Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathustra) — Zoroastrian
Unlike many of the other holidays in the month, Zoroastrians honor the death of their prophet, Zarathustra, who founded Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions.
Dec. 27: Feast of the Holy Family — Catholic
Catholics use this day to honor Jesus, Mary and Joseph, according to Interfaith Calendar.
Dec. 28: Holy Innocents Day — Christian
Christians solemnly honor the deaths of children killed by King Herod, who was attempting to kill Jesus, according to Interfaith Calendar.
Dec. 31: Watch Night — Christian
For Watch Night, Christians will thank God for the safety they received during the year, according to Interfaith Calendar.
For more on world religious holidays, head to Princeton University’s website.
India marks National Education Day on November 11 to memorialize the birthday of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Minister for Education in India. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s exemplary contributions to the field of education and institution building paved the way for the country’s modern system. Reputed as the main architect of education, he served as India’s first Vice President as well as the first education Minister from 1947 to 1958. Now, all educational institutions in the country mark the day with seminars, essay-writing, workshops and rallies with slogans on the importance of literacy and India’s commitment to education.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL EDUCATION DAY
In September of 2008, India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development declared the birthday of ‘the great son of India’ — Maulana Abul Kalam Azad — to be nationally recognized as Education Day. The day is also seen as an occasion to remember Abul Kalam’s contribution in laying the foundations of the education system …
I will start posting all religious holidays by month starting now in November. If you know of a holiday or holy day I have missed please write it in the comment section below so I can include in its proper place by date. I feel and think that if we as witches and/or pagans recognize, not celebrate, other important religions dates that hopefully our Sabbath will be seen in a better light and help rid the world of the stereotypical witch. I will do a separate post with the proper way of wishing those of other religions a blessed holiday/holy day (look for this post latter today or tomorrow)
November 1 All Saints Day Christian
November 2 All Soul’s Day Christian
November 4 Diwali Hindu/Sikh/Jain
November 6 Birthday of Báb Baha’I
November 7 Birthday of Baha’u’llah Baha’i
November 24 Martyrdom of Guru Bahadur Sikh
November 28 – December 6 Hanukkah Judaism
November 28 – January 6 Christmas Fast for Christian
November 28 – December 24 Advent Christian