How much do you love Christmas? When we were kids we just couldn’t wait until the day came. It seemed as if it took forever until the big day finally arrived.
As the clock ticked, the anticipation increased to a crescendo, passion plays, practicing Christmas songs in chorus, games at school, decorating the tree, stringing lights, mom wrapping presents, making cookies and then the glow of Christmas eve. And, then it arrived; the happiest day of the year, even better than the last day of school in the spring.
But the Christian aspect of the Holiday has taken a back seat the commerciality of December 25.
Other faiths have celebrations at the same time of the year. For the most part, it is because their faiths have reason to celebrate a prophet or leader of their own faith.
Bodhi Day by Buddhists on Dec. 8 recalls the date when Buddha attained enlightenment.
The Hanukkah celebration by Jews is an eight day holiday of rededication to the faith, which can occur in very late November or during December. This year it occured between Dec. 6 and ended in the evening of Dec. 14.
Muslims (Sunni) observe the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on the 12th day of the Islamic month. Shi’a Muslims observe it on the 17th of that month. This translates to Dec.24 or Jan. 4 respectivly.
Kwanzaa is a week-long, inter-faith celebration; a cultural holiday celebrating African-American heritage beginning on Dec. 26 and ending on Jan. 1.
The feast of St. Nicholas on Dec. 6 is observed by some Christians revering the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a Greek province in Asia Minor. His reputation for piety may have inspired the legend of Santa Claus. The tradition of leaving gifts for children on St. Nicholas Day began in the Low Countries and spread o North America with Dutch immigrants.
Winter Solstice is celebrated by some Native Americans and Aboriginals in the rest of the world.
Many atheists, at least in North America, have begun to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
Other faiths or religions have a very small number of participants.
There are tongue-in-cheek celebrations near Christmas as well:
Celebrations such as Festivus, a celebration “for the rest of us” (Dec. 24). It is as a simple, rather humorous family alternative or addition to Christmas with a minimum of commercialization. First seen in an episode of Seinfeld it includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum Festivus pole, practices such as the “Airing of Grievances” and “Feats of Strength,” and the labeling of easily explainable events as “Festivus miracles.”