The Common Core of the Holiday Spirit

Before spending some time with my family, I would like to reflect on the holiday season and look at what people around the world are celebrating.

In India, Diwali is the biggest holiday of the year. It is marked by family gatherings and lights (notably clay lamps from which the holiday gets its name). The idea is to be thankful and to get the blessing of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.

The African community in the United States and beyond celebrates Kwanzaa, a week-long holiday to honor African heritage, unity, and culture. Families gather and decorate their households with the symbols of Kwanzaa, one of them being a candle holder (kinara) with seven candles.

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. It is observed for eight nights with the kindling of one additional light on each night of the holiday. Families gather on these nights to play dreidel and eat oil-based foods.

Christmas is central to the Christian liturgical year and marks the celebration the birth of Jesus Christ. Families usually gather on Christmas Eve or Christmas day to give presents. Households are decorated with lights and Christmas trees (and much more).

This brief synopsis illustrates that the major holidays of various traditions share a common core: the celebration of lights, family and giving.

Seasons greetings from CompareLex!




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