As we get closer to December more Christmas related items and displays are popping up in stores and throughout communities.

However, from the beginning of November to the middle of January, there are at least 15 marked occasions not celebrated by those of the Christian faith.

Starting with Eid Milad un-Nabi, this Islamic holiday is marked on Nov. 9 to sundown on Nov. 10. It commemorates the birthday of the prophet Muhammad, and homes and mosques are decorated, large parades take place, and those who observe the holiday take part in charity events.

While not a specific holiday, Nov. 20 marks the Trans Day of Remembrance, which was first established in 1998, memorializing members of the trans community who were killed as a result of transphobia. It also raises awareness regarding the continued violence the transgender community faces.

Moving into December, we have Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, established in 1948 to commemorate the establishment of the Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations.

Toward the end of the month, we have Yule, otherwise known as the Winter Solstice. The date varies year to year, and is the shortest day of the year. In Pagan and Wiccan culture, it represents a celebration focusing on rebirth, renewal and new beginnings as the sun makes its way back to the Earth.

Around this time we also have Hanukkah, from Dec. 22 to 30, and Kwanzaa, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees (Israelites) over the Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus, approximately 2,200 years ago, and Kwanzaa is an African-American holiday, started in 1966 by Maulana Karenga to celebrate universal African-American heritage.

At the beginning of the new year, there’s Mahayana New Year, a holiday celebrated by the Mahayana Buddhist branch, on the first full-moon day in January. Another Buddhist holiday is Bodhi Day, which commemorates Gautama’s enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, India. This year Bodhi Day falls on Jan. 2.

It’s always nice to learn how others celebrate the holidays. So, blessed Yule, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa, and all the rest.

Jillian Trainor


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