Holiday Facts You Didn't Know
Disclosure: This is a guest post. I have not been compensated for this post nor am I the author of the article.
by Aleksandre McMenamin
There are many different holidays that are celebrated around the world, especially during the Winter. Each of these holidays comes from a wide variety of different cultures with different principles and practices. Due to the cultural diversity of the holiday season, there is a wide variety of interesting information that pertains to these holidays. Here’s some fun holiday facts that you might not have know...
Christmas, as you know, is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. Celebrated on December 25th, the holiday derives from the celebration of the Messiah Jesus of Nazareth, or the Christ, as he is commonly known, according to the Christian religion. However, the holiday today is largely a mix of secular and religious tradition. Here’s some things you may not have known about Christmas.
1. December 25th doesn’t actually refer to the birth of Christ
There is actually no biblical mention December 25th found in any religious text. It’s actually far more likely that Jesus was born sometime closer to April, according to Christian scholars. The date of December 25th was actually chosen by the first Pope of the Roman Empire during the reign of Emperor Constantine. Many believe that the date was chosen to coincide with Saturnalia, the Pagan celebration of Saturn, so that it would be easier for Pagan communities to convert their traditions to Christianity.
2. Coca Cola gave us Santa Claus
Well, not actually the man himself, but the popular image of him. While Santa Claus is based on the eponymous patron saint, the modern incarnation of Santa Claus was actually created by Coca Cola. The red coat and great white beard, along with the jolly hat, were first seen in a 1930s ad campaign by Coca Cola.
3. Christmas is most popular in America
This one may not be as surprising, but America is, by far, the country with the most Christmas celebrations. In particular, however, this is especially true for small towns throughout America. This make a lot of sense, as the traditional view of Christmas in America is often rooted in the small-town aesthetic throughout the country. For more information about how small towns in America celebrate the holiday, check out this post here.
Hanukkah is a tradition Jewish holiday that is celebrated in December. Specifically, the holiday starts on the 25th day of Kislev, which isn’t based on the modern calendar. Because of this, the holiday starts on different dates in December every year. Hanukkah lasts eight days.
1. Hanukkah was started by a war
Back in biblical times, there was a great war between the ancient Greeks, who had invaded Jerusalem, and the Maccabees, who were ancient Talmudic worshippers. The Maccabees eventually defeated the Greeks in urban warfare, and recaptures the holy temple in Jerusalem. After the war, the Maccabees lit a menorah to celebrate their victory. While they only had enough oil for one day, the menorah supposedly lasted for eight days, which is why Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days.
2. Cheese is symbolically eaten during Hanukkah
Cheese is eaten, frequently, throughout the time of Hanukkah. This is done in remembrance of a separate event from the war of the Maccabees. However, it is still one that is rooted in the violent defense of worship. The legend goes that a Jewish girl named Judith saved her village from Assyrian invaders. She did this by offering herself to the Assyrian general, Holofernes. She fed him an abundance of cheese and wine, causing him to eventually become heavily inebriated. The girl then took his sword and beheaded the general. After doing so, she took his head away from the scene and back to her village. Upon seeing their headless leader, the Assyrians fled the area.
For more fun facts about Hanukkah, check out this fun little post here.
Kwanzaa is a holiday celebration of African heritage that relates to no specific religion or culture, as Africa contains many unique religious beliefs and languages. It is meant to be a celebration of Pan-African ideology. Kwanzaa is celebrated between December 26th and January 1st.
1. Kwanzaa is not that old
The holiday is actually not even 50 years old, yet. Kwanzaa was originally created in 1966 by a man named Dr. Maulana Karenga. He created the holiday in order to celebrate African culture and Heritage. This is why the official colors of Kwanzaa are Red, Black, and Green, which are also colors of the Pan-African movement. The dates coincide with the African harvest celebrations, as well.
2. Seven is a symbolic number for Kwanzaa
There are seven different principles that are celebrated during Kwanzaa. These include unity, self-determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Each of these principles is connected with seven corresponding symbols. This is why there are seven days of Kwanzaa.