The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

The student news site of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois.

BEACON

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Winter Holidays That Aren’t Christmas

Winter+Holidays+That+Aren%E2%80%99t+Christmas

When we think about winter and the months within it, we tend to think about Christmas. For many, it is a holiday which is synonymous with good times, Christmas music, family, friends, and food. It even has a whole two weeks off of school devoted to it. With all of these things happening around Christmas time, it is easy to forget about other holidays within the winter months. And even though other holidays may not be as widely celebrated in the U.S., it is important to acknowledge them anyways. Here is a list compiled of a few holidays and their significance.

Kwanzaa: Kwanzaa is an African American holiday with a duration from December 26th to January 1st. It celebrates heritage, history, family, unity, and culture. Many of the core beliefs within this holiday are spoken in Swahili, which is a prominent African language. Each night of the holiday, one candle is lit by a child and each candle represents one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Near the end of the holiday, a communal feast called Karamu is held.

Hanukkah: Hanukkah is a holiday which lasts for eight days and celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. It celebrates a miracle, which according to one of Judaism’s prominent texts, was that a candle continued to burn for eight nights in a row during the rededication when it should have only burned for one. Every night, a candle is added to the menorah. There is a ninth candle to light the others. Hanukkah is also celebrated with food and games.

Las Posadas: Las Posadas, which is celebrated in a few Latin American countries, commemorates Mary finding a safe shelter for Jesus to be born. It is usually celebrated with a procession where a child dressed like an angel is at the head of the procession. The procession goes to people’s houses asking for lodging; people are supposed to reply “no.” The next day a Mass is held at Church, and a few more celebrations may occur afterwards.

Guru Nanak Gurpurab: Gurpurab celebrates the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who founded Sikhism. It occurs on various days in November; this year was the 554th Gurpurab. Typically Gurpurab is celebrated by attending Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) and eating langar (a free of charge community kitchen within a Gurdwara).

Chinese New Year: Chinese New Year celebrates the start of a new year on the Chinese calendar. This holiday will occur on February 10th in 2024 and is usually celebrated by having large feasts with symbolic dishes, observing lion/dragon dances, decorating the house, creating resolutions, and shopping.

Diwali: Diwali is a Hindu festival which occurred on November 12th in 2023. The holiday celebrates the triumph of  light over darkness. Common customs during the holiday include meeting with family and friends, going to Mandir (Hindu temple), having feasts, lighting diyas (lamps), and watching dance performances.

Within the Whitney Young Community, there are many different cultures and religions. It is important to appreciate holidays and celebrations from around the world.

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