When I was a child almost everyone I knew enjoyed the celebrations of Christmas. However, as a young adult I began to notice the switch from “Merry Christmas” to the greeting “Happy Holidays” and wondered why people would want to take away the magic of Christmas as I knew it from my childhood.
Today as a “retiree” I decided to discover why so many people changed this tradition of celebrations. I explored the meaning and origin of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and several other winter celebrations. My exploration of this topic turned into an interesting discovery for me.
While researching various winter holidays throughout the world it became apparent, once again, how we as people on earth have more in common than differences.
For many people, Christmas represents the birth of Christ and the light that his birth brought to millions of people around the world. It is also viewed by others as a celebration of family, of life and of togetherness.
Other winter celebrations
The lighting of the menorah during Hanukkah brings light as it celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and a return to the Jewish peoples’ freedom of religion.
Kwanzaa, celebrated from December 26 through January 1, also involves the lighting of candles. Seven candles, progressively lit each night, symbolize the seven basic beliefs of African American life: unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
Diwali, is a five day holiday in Nepal, Siri Lanka, and Myanmar. It also focuses on light with the lighting of small clay lamps to symbolize the victory of good over evil.
There are many more winter holiday traditions I could share, but the important message from the strong similarities of each celebration is that we all seek freedom to express our beliefs and achieve our purposes. The majority of people simply wish to live in harmony with our families and neighbors as well as with those who express their beliefs and hopes differently than we do.
Making harmony a goal
As I wish you a glorious holiday, I hope we all can send a message to the universe that it is time to listen to one another and develop ways we can live together in harmony.
Peace and good will to you this beautiful season. Please help spread the word!