Holiday Season 2022

December 05,2022

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.

Light The World   Holiday Lights   This Little Light of Mine

Hanukkah:   In The Window   Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel

Christmas  –Sacred:   The Friendly Beasts  Mary and Joseph

Christmas Around the World:   Twas In The Moon -The Huron Carol  (Canada)    Japanese Carol  African Noel  O Christmas Tree (Germany)

Secular Christmas:   Santa Claus Has 10 Toys!   Jolly Old St. Nicholas   Up On The Housetop

Multi-cultural Celebration:  We Wish You a Happy Holiday   The Holiday Hop   We Wish You ? (cumulative)

Alternatives:  The Nutcracker   In the Hall of The Mountain King