Days to Know: December 2021
World AIDS Day – Dec 1
December kicks off with an international event, World Aids Day, on December 1. This important event asks us to reflect on the many lives lost and to inspire hope for a future cure.
Buddhism – Dec 8
December 8 is an important holiday in Buddhism, which has two main branches. Theravada is the only surviving school of the original sects of Buddhism, and the predominant religion of continental Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka, and also found in parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
Mahayana is the later revisionist school of Buddhism, found primarily in China, Japan, Korea, and parts of the Republic of China and Vietnam. Offshoots of the Mahayana tradition include Vajrayana, found in Tibet and Mongolia, Jodo (Pure Land), and Zen Buddhism.
Buddhists who follow the Theravada tradition celebrate holidays according to the lunar calendar, in which dates of observance vary from year to year. The Mahayana tradition celebrates holidays on fixed dates, based on the Japanese Buddhist calendar. December 8, among Mahãyãna Buddhists, celebrates Buddha’s attaining understanding of the truth of existence, freeing himself from all human suffering, and finding perfect happiness.
Islam – Milad un Nabi on Dec. 13
The Prophet’s Birthday, or Milad un Nabi as it is widely known throughout the Muslim world, is celebrated by Muslims around the world. The day commemorates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
Christianity – Cultural Variations at Christmas
In Mexico, Las Posadas is celebrated from December 16 to December 24, to commemorate Mary and Joseph’s effort to find an inn and the events associated with the birth of Jesus. The holiday takes its name from the Spanish word posadas, meaning “a dwelling.” A candlelight procession represents the star in heaven that guided the three wise men on their way.
After a religious ceremony on December 24, there is a traditional celebration centering on the piñata, a decorated clay container filled with toys and candy.
Judaism – the Real Meaning of Hanukkah
Hanukkah usually begins in December, this year on the evening of Dec. 24. It’s an eight-day festival, the last night of which is on sundown Jan. 1 Hanukkah marks the liberation of Jews from rule by the Syrian Greeks.