On the 16th day of Blogmas, Katie gave to meeee……. Happy Wednesday folks! I do miss just posting on Wednesdays… how much money have you placed in bets on me disappearing come January again? As with every year of Blogmas, it is so easy to become consumed with just Christmas, but there are so many other festivals to celebrate in December. Today I wanted to share these December festivals around the world!
Did you know that back in 2011 (almost 10 years ago!) 59.5% of people in the UK were Christians? Amongst the other 40.5% were Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists and others. So for a country as diverse as the U.K., it’s no wonder the outrage that lockdowns and restrictions might lift for Christmas but were enforced just before Eid! But how many of us actually are aware of these other religious celebrations? And did you know there are 7 other religious celebrations in December, as well as secular festivals? Well my friends, today I’m bringing you all the December festivals I found during my research! If I’ve missed any out, please do let me know in the comments below!
December Festivals To Celebrate
Buddhism Festivals in December
Bodhi Day 8 December
Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Gautama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi).
Christian Festivals (that aren’t Christmas)
Advent the four Sundays preceding Christmas Day
Saint Barbara’s Day 4 December
The Feast of St. Barbara is celebrated by Artillery regiments across the Commonwealth and some western Catholic countries.
Krampusnacht 5 December
The Feast of St. Nicholas is celebrated in parts of Europe on 6 December. In Alpine countries, Saint Nicholas has a devilish companion named Krampus who punishes the bad children the night before.
Saint Nicholas’ Day 6 December
Feast of the Immaculate Conception Day 8 December
The day of Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception is celebrated as a public holiday in many Catholic countries.
Saint Lucia’s Day 13 December
Church Feast Day. Saint Lucia comes as a young woman with lights and sweets.
Las Posadas 16–24 December
Procession to various family lodgings for celebration & prayer and to re-enact Mary & Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
A modern Christian service to help those coping with loss, usually held on the eve of the Winter solstice.
Nikoljdan 19. December
The most common slava, St. Nicholas’s feast day.
Anastasia of Sirmium 25 December
Saint Stephen’s Day 26 December
In Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic a holiday celebrated as Second Day of Christmas.
Saint John the Evangelist’s Day 27 December
Holy Innocents’ Day 28 December
Saint Sylvester’s Day 31 December
Pancha Ganapati 21st – 25th December
A modern five-day Hindu festival celebrated in honor of Ganesha.
Related: It’s not too late to take part in Blogmas!
Malkh 25 December
Also known as Mothers’ Night, the Saxon winter solstice festival.
Saturnalia 17–23 December
An ancient Roman winter solstice festival in honor of the deity Saturn, held on 17 December of the Julian calendar and expanded with festivities through to 23 December. Celebrated with sacrifice, a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival.
Dies Natalis Solis Invicti 25 December
Late Roman Empire. Day of the birth of the Unconquered Sun
Humanist Festivals in December
HumanLight 23 December
Humanist holiday originated by the New Jersey Humanist Network in celebration of “a Humanist’s vision of a good future.”
Jewish December Festivals
Usually falls anywhere between late November and early January. In 2020 this starts 10th December and ends 18th December!
Pagan winter festival that was celebrated by the historical Germanic people from late December to early January.
Yalda 21 December
The turning point, Winter Solstice. As the longest night of the year and the beginning of the lengthening of days, Shabe Yaldā or Shabe Chelle is an Iranian festival celebrating the victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil. Shabe yalda means ‘birthday eve.’ According to Persian mythology, Mithra was born at dawn on 22 December to a virgin mother. He symbolizes light, truth, goodness, strength, and friendship. Herodotus reports that this was the most important holiday of the year for contemporary Persians. In modern times Persians celebrate Yalda by staying up late or all night, a practice known as Shab Chera meaning ‘night gazing’. Fruits and nuts are eaten, especially pomegranates and watermelons, whose red color invokes the crimson hues of dawn and symbolize Mithra.
Slavic winter festival celebrated on late December with parades and singers who visit houses and receive gifts.
Secular December Festivals
International Day of Disabled Persons 3rd of December
Boxing Day 26 December
Human Rights Day 10 December
A celebration of Winter
Hogmanay night of 31 December–before dawn of 1 January
Scottish New Year’s Eve celebration
Newtonmas 25 December
As an alternative to celebrating the religious holiday Christmas, some atheists and skeptics have chosen to celebrate 25 December as Newtonmas, due to it being Isaac Newton’s birthday on the old style date.
Kwanzaa 26 December–1 January
Pan-African festival celebrated in the USA
New Year’s Eve 31 December
Last day of the Gregorian year
Soyal 21 December
Zuni and Hopi
Solstice On or about 21 December
Zamenhof Day 15 December
Birthday of Ludwig Zamenhof, inventor of Esperanto; holiday reunion for Esperantists
Watch Night 31 December
Salgirah 13 December
Celebration of Shia Ismaili Muslims of their Imam (Aga Khan IV)
Chalica first week of December
A holiday created in 2005, celebrated by some Unitarian Universalists.
December Festivals Summary
So there you have it! Happy first day of Las Posadas! Do you celebrate any of the holidays above? Let me know in the comments below!