Celebrate As You Will
Winter’s often cold and snowy,
But winter holidays are always showy.
You might decorate a Christmas tree.
Or set a blaze of Chanukah lights.
Place clean boots for Santa on your porch,
Or pay respects at religious sites.
No holiday is better or best,
They are times for family, reflection, and rest.
No matter which holiday you call your own,
We hope it brings joy, more than you’ve ever known.
Although Christmas takes center stage in the United State, it’s not the only holiday Americans celebrate in December and January.
Christmas around the world
You all know that many Americans celebrate Christmas on December 25 by decorating a fine spruce, sharing a fine meal, and opening their first present either on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.
But in Germany, Christmas revelers place clean boots by the front door on December 5 for Santa to fill with nuts, sweets, and small presents.
In Italy, kids eagerly await January 6, the day in ancient times when the three Wise Men arrived at Bethlehem and gave Jesus gold, incense, and myrrh. Today, Italian boys and girls believe a good old witch named “Befana,” leaves gifts for them.
Kwanzaa, created in the 1960s in response to racial strife in the U.S., celebrates the African American culture and community. The holiday’s seven days, which begin December 26 and end on January 1, centers around seven values – unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Each night, family and friends gather to light candles, feast, and talk about how each person can make the world a better place.
In early/mid December, Jews celebrate Chanukah by lighting a nine-candle the menorah, which symbolizes the miracle of faith. For eight nights, Jews light the menorah, exchange presents, and spin the dreidel, a gambling game for chocolate-covered coins called “gelt.”
Japanese New Year
It’s called ‘Omisoka,” and Japanese families celebrate it on December 31, the last day of the year. People clean their homes and remove clutter to welcome in the new year with a metaphorical clean slate. Family and friends feast together and often watch a nation-wide New Year’s talent competition until the countdown to midnight, when temples toll their bells.
If you have a copy of our The 12 Notes of Christmas, watch the entire film during the holidays that links each day 0 (Christmas Day) to 12 (Jan 6, Twelfth Night) as the numbers travel the world to create a musical band to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400+ legacy at the opening of Twelfth Night in the Globe Theatre. Learn instrument design linked to the day 0-12 as well as history and holiday food in each global location. Animated for kids and information for all ages. The mashup of the 12 Days of Christmas song and Twelfth Night by Shakespeare takes its goal from Duke Orsino’s line from the play, “If music be the food of love, play on!”
Check out the shop to order a film as it is great for the entire holiday season. The price is free but there is a $4.95 shipping charge for any total order.
Corresponding discussion questions are available at www.numbersalive.org/documents/12notes.pdf
Celebrate the holidays as you will!