Have yourself a merry little holiday

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Many people are busy buying presents and stringing lights around their homes. However, not everyone celebrates the traditional Christian holiday.

Christmas:

The first recorded date of Christmas was on the 25 of December. It is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. No one really know the specific day Jesus was born so Christmas has been the designated day of celebration.

“To celebrate Christmas, I spend a lot of time with all of my family. We usually spend a couple nights at my grandparents’ house with my aunt, uncle and cousins. At my house, we put up a tree and decorate with lights and other holiday decorations,” senior Mallory Brooks said.

The idea of Santa can be traced back to a monk named St. Nicholas in 280 A.D. in Patara. In the 1800’s American stores for Christmas started to use Santa as a selling point to get children and their parents to come into the store and buy items for the celebration.

Hanukkah:

Another holiday celebrated over the holiday season is Hanukkah. Families who celebrate this holiday, light candles on the Menorah starting at one for the first night and adding on until they reach eight.

“I love being with being with my family and eating potato pancakes. This is a holiday to celebrate the miracle of light and in order to do that we light candles,” senior Arielle Strauss said. This is also a holiday that families do together. They are brought together to celebrate something they believe in.

“My whole family is involved. My family lights candles on the Menorah together,” Strauss said.

Diwali:

Hinduism is one prominent religion in America and, according to religioustolerance.org, is the third most popular religion in the world. Yet, its culture isn’t widely known. After Halloween, people may start to see lights strung along houses; this may come as a shock to people who think it’s too soon for Christmas. However, those lights may belong to a Hindu family celebrating Diwali.

“Christmas is a great holiday, but other holidays aren’t always represented,” junior Amy Kadakia said. “In the month of October, a major Indian holiday is Diwali which is the Festival of Lights.” And, according todiwalifestival.org, Diwali celebrates good overcoming bad and is one of the biggest festivals for Hindus. Along with Diwali, Hindu families during the final months of the year might celebrate Christmas despite the holiday’s religious origin.

“I celebrate a non-Christian Christmas. Some years we put up a Christmas tree and when I was younger I would get pre-presents,” Kadakia said. “My parents work all-day shifts, so during Christmas I get to see them more and we get to have more family time.”

Non-religious:

For families or individuals that identify as atheist or don’t identify with a religion, Christmas may still be an important time for them. They may take part in the non-religious traditions of the holiday such as Santa or gift-giving.

“I wrote letters to Santa Claus as a kid and left cookies and carrots out the night before,” junior Anna Wilhelm said. “Now, Christmas means making my family smile with the gifts I’ve given them, bonding with my mom as we bake cookies and lounging around in our pajamas. I like to think it’s the same for anyone else.”

Although Christmas has religious ties, it has become a cultural holiday, according to Pew Research Center.

“I celebrate Christmas not to commemorate anything religiously, but to be happy with my family,” Wilhelm said. “It’s a holiday about bringing people together and showing others you love them. I think that’s why my family and many other non-religious or non-Christian families may still celebrate parts of it.”

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