Happy Holidays, indeed!
It has become the holiday season in Calgary. This year — rather than focusing on the Christian perspective of celebrating Advent and the build-up to Christmas day — we wanted to focus on other religions or spiritual celebrations that happen this time of year.
According to History.com, this Jewish celebration has already begun. Starting on Thursday, December 10 and running until Friday, December 18. Hanukkah is often referred to as the Festival of Lights. It is a celebration for the perseverance and dedication of the Jewish people during a time of strife when they were oppressed for their beliefs. Moreover, this celebration revolves around the nine branched menorah. Each holiday night, a candle is lit on the menorah until the final night.
Kwanzaa starts Saturday December 26, 2020 and runs until January 1, 2021. According to History.com, this holiday was created by a professor in the states to bring together fellow African Americans across the United States. The basis was from Dr. Maulana Karenga’s research of many African cultures during a time of harvest; unifying but celebrating this time with drums, storytelling, poetry, and a large meal. This holiday also revolves around the 7 principles:
Collective Work and Responsibility
Cree – First Day of Winter
For many indigenous cultures, the first day of winter is significant. However, specially for Cree, this is met with a pipe ceremony and feast. It’s another time in the year to bring the community together to pay homage to Pipoon (winter) and the time of rest for Aski (Earth). The community will also share all the bounties leading up to Sikwun (Spring). The Pipe ceremony is led by the Male Elders — a time for prayer and respect to the creator. Afterwards, a feast is offered and shared by everyone. All food is given away and special gifts are given to elders or people in need.