Is this the year to try some music for the holiday between December and January? Maybe …
December-January holidays that have their roots in the Northern Hemisphere grow during a time of decreasing light. The further north you go, the less sun-light there is as mid-December approaches. Was it fear? or longing? or cabin-fever from cold? Whatever the reason, fight off the darkness by decorating, remembering, celebrating, praying for light to return. The date for Christmas was chosen (yes, sorry to stomp on widespread myths because no one today knows Jesus’ birthdate) to be linked with the Winter Solstice (shortest day of year in Northern Hemisphere) traditions.
Christmas and Chanukkah are religious holidays that naturally fall into the Solstice pattern.
Even though the date of Diwali doesn’t fall into this pattern, its ideas do. Diwali once marked the beginning of a new year, celebrating the defeat of darkness by light (much of India doesn’t experience a large change in daylight hours) and usually falls in late October-early November.
A little exploring can link other religious holidays with the very human longing for light e.g. Ramadan remembers the time when the Quran was revealed, bringing the light of understanding, fasting during the month of Ramadan ends each day when the first star may be seen in the sky (the advent of light). In the Northern Hemisphere, many aboriginal myths and celebrations coincide with the Solstice.
So, Advent candles, a Hanukkah menorah, sometimes called a hanukkiah, clay lamps and stars might all be included in a teaching unit.