In many countries, December global holidays include Christmas, but it’s not the only time to celebrate in December. In the Northern Hemisphere, the shortest day of the year is in December, and midwinter is in February. This is a good time to celebrate many things, from modern Christmas traditions to ancient pagan rituals. Find out what you can do this month to get the most out of your trip to different cultures around the world. Some of the best ways to celebrate these holidays are on this list.
1. St. Nicholas Day
St. Nicholas Day, also called the Feast of St. Nicholas, is celebrated in much of northern Europe on December 6 to honour the Christian saint who sold everything he owned to give money to the poor. Small gifts and treats are often left in shoes as part of traditions. St. Nicholas is still thought of as a different person than Santa Claus, but many of Santa’s traditions came from stories about him.
Omisoka is the Japanese New Year. Just like in the West, it is celebrated on December 31. It is one of the most important holidays in Japanese culture, second only to Shogatsu, or Japanese New Year’s Day, which is on January 1. Japanese people have Bonenkai parties to say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one. The parties are meant to help people forget about the past year, write cards to friends and family, and send gifts. As part of the celebration, many families make rice cakes, and houses are decorated with a sacred Shinto straw rope.
The Lohri festival is held every year in Northern India on January 13. It marks the end of winter and the sun’s change of direction. During ceremonies, people build big bonfires and throw candies and sesame seeds into them while singing and dancing until the fire goes out. Children also sing praises of Dulha Bhatti, the Punjabi version of Robin Hood, who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
4. Chinese New Year
The lunar New Year begins on the first day of the Chinese New Year, which is between January 21 and February 20. It is one of China’s most important holidays and is also called the Spring Festival. There are fireworks, parades, and performances as part of the celebrations. At the end of the holiday, there is a lantern festival.
5. St. Lucia’s Day
St. Lucia’s Day is held on December 13 in Sweden, Norway, and the Swedish-speaking parts of Finland. It honours St. Lucia, an early Christian martyr who was killed by the Romans in 304 A.D. During the festival, a girl is chosen to be the face of St. Lucia. She leads a parade through the town while singing traditional songs. Some parts of Italy also celebrate this holiday. St. Lucia is thought to be the patron saint of Syracuse, which is in Sicily.
It is a holiday that is celebrate from December 26 to January 1. It is a time to honour African culture and community. The activities are based on something called “The Seven Principles” (Nguzo Saba), which honours things like working together, being creative, and having a purpose. Communities come together for feasts, music, dance, and to keep up cultural values.
7. Día de Los Muertos
Da de Los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that takes place on November 1 and 2. Many people think that it is just like Halloween, but it is a celebration of the lives of household members who have deceased. It’s done with costumes, song and dance, food, parades, and gifts for the people who have died. In 2008, UNESCO added this important native celebration to the list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.
There are spiritual festivities and rituals to mark the changing of the seasons, and worldly events that happen in many nations. These include national and local celebrations of December global holidays, religious holidays, and long-standing cultural traditions.