Date: December 6, 2017 - January 1, 2018
Location: Lewis & Clark
Wednesday December 6th: St. Nicholas Day
Celebration of St. Nicholas. paron saint of children and role model for gift-giving. Born in Patara, at the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey a land that is part of present-day Turkey, circa 280. St. Nicholas was a Christian bishop who helped the needy. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
Friday December 8th: Bodhi Day
Bodhi day is the celebration and commemoration for Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha, for his attainment of enlightenment, whilst sitting underneath a Bodhi tree.
It is on this day that followers of Buddhism celebrate the life of the Buddha and his accomplishments. Often, homes will have a religious ficus tree that they decorate with beads and multi-colored lights – much in the same way that Christians decorate their Christmas trees. They will also put on reflective ornaments that represent the Three Jewels: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Some people will spend the day meditating on the life of Buddha. Other people will visit stupas (shrines). In some homes, Buddhists will serve special cookies shaped like Bodhi trees or their heart-shaped leaves.
Tuesday December 12th-20th: Chanukah
Festival of Lights commemorating the recapture and rededication of the Jerusalem Temple
Chanukah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.
The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple
Saturday December 16th-25th: Posadas Navidenas
A nine-day religious observance during which families participate in nightly Christmas processions that re-create the Holy Pilgrimage of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus on their way to Bethlehem.
Nine days it took them to arrive at their destination. Upon arrival, the Virgin was about to give birth to her son Jesus. When they were rejected in the inn and in many homes, they had to take refuge in a stable that kind people had offered them. This passage (now known as Las Posadas) is commemorated in several countries of the Catholic world during the nine days before Christmas Eve.
Thursday December 21st: Yule
Yule is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. It was on this night that many of the ancient Germanic peoples in what is now Northern Europe celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider.
The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last years log, (held onto for just this purpose). The log would burn throughout the night, then smolder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out.
Sunday and Monday December 24th-25th: Christmas Eve and Christmas
Christmas Eve: Day before Christmas often celebrated with Carol Singing in an evening Worship Service or Mass remembering Jesus' birth.
Christmas: A Celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ
Tuesday December 26th to January 1st: Kwanza
A Holiday observed in the African-American community celebrating, family, community, and culture. Celebrated from December 26th through the 1st of January, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits" in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.
Kwanzaa builds on the five fundamental activities of Continental African "first fruit" celebrations: ingathering, reverence, commemoration, re-commitment, and celebration.
Lewis & Clark
December Holidays (Holy Days) is a presentation of many of the religious or spiritual holidays celebrated in the month of December. Click through the photo series here to learn more about these holidays.
The list in this series includes:
St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6th, 2017
Bodhi Day Celebration on Dec. 8th, 2017
Chuanukah, Dec. 12th-20th, 2017
Posadas Navidenas, Dec. 16th-25th, 2017
Yule on Dec. 21st, 2017
Christmas Eve and Christmas, Dec. 24th-15th, 2017
Kwanza, Dec. 26th-January 1st, 2017
For more information on all observed religious holidays visit: