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Well, it’s Christmas time again, one of the most widely-
celebrated holidays in the world. There are lots of customs
associated with Christmas, such as opening presents and
hanging stockings. But, there are many other winter holidays
throughout the world that people celebrate with their own
traditions as well. Here are three of them.
1. The Winter Solstice – （The shortest day of the year）
The Winter Solstice is an important pagan festival. It takes place
on the shortest day of the year. This usually happens between
the 20th and 23rd December in the northern hemisphere
（June in the southern hemisphere）。 Part of the holiday is for
worshipping the sun, moon and zodiac. Many people celebrate
The Winter Solstice, including Pagans and Wiccans.
People around the world celebrate the solstice in unique ways.
One special event takes place in an Irish temple that was built
for a celebration called Newgrange. Newgrange is a 5,500-year-
old grave. During the solstice, the grave lights up in its inner
chamber for about fifteen minutes, and only a set amount of
people are admitted inside to see the spectacular event.
2. Hanukah – （The Festival of Lights）
Hanukah is a Jewish festival that lasts for eight days. It is
celebrated sometime between late November and late
December. Hanukah honours the memory of the Maccabean
revolt of the 2nd century BC, a Jewish uprising against Syrian rule.
Jewish people celebrate Hanukah with several traditions.
Each night, they light a new candle and place it on the Menorah.
Ross from the television programme Friends explained the
miracle of Hanukah, “The miracle was that the little bit of oil
[from the Menorah candles] that should’ve lasted only one
day burned for eight days.” During Hanukah, family members
exchange gifts, and the strict rules of the Bible are more relaxed.
3. Kwanzaa – （The Pride of Africa）
Kwanzaa began in the 1960s, so it is a relatively new festival. It
is a celebration of African culture. Kwanzaa was made official
by Maulana Karenga, an African-American political activist. It
is celebrated in many countries, including the US, Canada, the
Caribbean and Africa. It lasts seven days, from 26th December
until 1st January. The holiday name comes from matunda ya
kwanza, which means “first fruits” in Swahili.
Kwanzaa has several customs. Firstly, it is based on seven
principles that value family, community and culture. A common
Kwanzaa gift is something inexpensive, such as a book or a
candle holder. A typical ritual during Kwanzaa is to decorate
houses with objects of African culture and light a kinara. A
kinara is a traditional candleholder that holds red, black and
green candles – the colours of black liberation in America.
The holiday season is for having fun and bringing out the
charitable spirit in people. So, celebrate the way you want, and
have a happy holiday!
Holiday festivals around the world.?