The holiday season is here! While most take this to mean Christmas, December is actually filled with several different holidays and celebrations across many cultures. During this time of year, there’s much talk of trees, lights, Santa and gifts, and while it’s important to celebrate the customs and traditions that make the holidays special to us individually, it’s equally important to provide space to honor and recognize the traditions that are different from our own. Here are a few of the other more celebrations that are held within our community that also take place in the month of December.
Monday, November 29–December 6
Also known as the Festival of Lights, this Jewish holiday celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt.
Wednesday, December 8
Observed by many Buddhists, this day commemorates Buddha’s enlightenment.
Tuesday, December 21–Saturday, January 1
This holiday celebrates the longest day of the year and marks the beginning of winter.
Sunday, December 26–Saturday, January 1
Traditionally celebrated by African Americans and people of African descent, this holiday is centered around seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
It’s also important to note, the date for Eid-al-Fitr (which marks the end of Ramadan) shifts each year and is sometimes celebrated in December. In 2033, it is predicted that Eid and Christmas will be on the same day.
Christmas in Other Cultures
There are many different ways people celebrate Christmas. Here are a couple of Christmas-related celebrations observed by two of Bolingbrook’s largest ethnic groups.
Thursday, December 16–Friday December 24
While traditions will vary by country and region, this nine-day Mexican and Latin American celebration commemorates Mary and Joseph’s search for an inn.
Thursday, December 16–Friday, December 24
Observed by Filipino Catholics, this celebration honors Mary and is a nine-day spiritual preparation of the birth of Jesus. Like Las Posadas, traditions also vary by country and region.
Holiday Events at Fountaindale
Join us this month for a variety of events for children and families that celebrate different holidays and cultures.
Wednesday, December 22, 10 a.m.
A holiday tradition almost as old as a tree or stockings is Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet. Join us in celebrating his classical soundtrack while creating our own dances to his musical score! Registration required.
Thursday, December 23, 6:30 p.m.
Experience Chris Van Allsburg’s beloved classic book in this special all-ages storytime! Registration required.
Kwanzaa Craft Kit
Sunday, December 26
Make a banner to decorate your house for Kwanzaa, while supplies last.
Our staff has put together a great selection of holiday books across many cultures to enjoy during this time of year. Be sure to check them out today!
Carlos, Light the Farolito by Jeanne Ciavonne
When his parents and grandfather are late on Christmas Eve, it’s up to Carlos to take over his grandfather’s role in the traditional Mexican reenactment of the Nativity called Las Posadas.
Filipino Celebrations: A Treasury of Feasts and Festivals by Liana Romulo
Brimming with vivid illustrations and rich cultural background, Filipino Celebrations makes major festivals such as Holy Week, Independence Day, Christmas and New Year come alive, together with family celebrations such as weddings, birthdays, baptisms, and a girl’s debut into society. Each chapter gives children a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage of this island nation. Activities such as games, songs, crafts and recipes invite children to participate in the fun.
Kevin’s Kwanzaa by Lisa Bullard
Kevin is excited for his turn to light the candles on the last night of Kwanzaa. As he narrates through the week of Kwanzaa, readers learn about the origins, purpose and rituals of this holiday.
Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington
L’il Rabbit searches for a gift for his grandmother when she is sick during Kwanzaa, and surprises her with the best gift of all. Includes The Nguzo Saba—The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa.
The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie DePaola
At the annual celebration of Las Posadas in old Santa Fe, the husband and wife slated to play Mary and Joseph are delayed by car trouble, but a mysterious couple appear who seem perfect for the part.
The People Remember by Ibi Zoboi
The People Remember tells the journey of African descendants in America by connecting their history to the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper
A celebration of the winter solstice and the Yuletide season. As the sun set on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again.
You’re My Little Latke by Nicola Edwards
Celebrate your little latke with this sweet and colorful rhyming board book.
For Teens and Adults:
The Art of Hanukkah by Nancy M. Berman
One of the most joyous weeks in the Jewish year is when families gather for eight evenings to celebrate the festival of Hanukkah. This book, through its selection of forty-eight masterpieces of holiday ceremonial and fine art, tells the story of the desecration of the holy Temple, its subsequent reclaiming and rededication, and the miracle of the single, tiny cruse of oil that continued to provide light for eight days.
Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays by Robert J. Myers
Learn cultural and historical background and traditions of forty-five major American holidays, both secular and religious, Christian and Jewish.
Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition by Keith A. Mayes
Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition explores the political beginning and later expansion of Kwanzaa, from its start as a Black Power holiday, to its current place as one of the most mainstream of the black holiday traditions.
Kwanzaa: From Holiday to Everyday: A Complete Guide For Making Kwanzaa A Part of Your Life by Maitefa Angaza
A guide to how Kwanzaa, a winter celebration of family, friends, and the African American community, can be part of life all year round provides information on the seven principles and offers ideas for planning Kwanzaa gatherings.
A Kwanzaa Celebration: Festive Recipes and Homemade Gifts From An African-American Kitchen by Angela Shelf Medearis
Enjoy 100 favorite recipes with either history behind them or a unique tie to the Kwanzaa celebration.
Kwanzaa Crafts: Gifts and Decorations For Meaningful and Festive Celebration by Marcia Odle McNair
This book defines each day with the principle, its candle color, symbol, a descriptive story of poem, and a bunch of make-it-now crafts…Recipes, too, are easy to imitate, from banana bread as a gift to rice and black-eyed peas eaten on New Year’s Day for good luck. Illustrations, including photographs, capture the spirit.”
Origami Holiday Decorations For Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa by Florence Temko
Get details on the histories of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Enjoy colorful step-by-step instructions for 25 holiday projects, including a snowflake card, a dreidel, a six-pointed star and a Kwanzaa bowl.
Ramadan by Betsy Richardson
Ramadan, the most sacred month of the year for more than 1 billion Muslims, is a holiday traditionally devoted to prayer, fasting and charity. This book describes the various customs and traditions of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr celebrations around the world and how social and political influences have shaped these observances.
The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas by John Matthews
Many people long for an alternative to the commercial industry Christmas has become. This illustrated, full-color book, brimming with folklore, stories, recipes, games, activities, decorating ideas, and songs, will help families who are burned out on Christmas create celebrations more in keeping with the heartful spirit of the original Winter Solstice festivals.
Yule: A Celebration of Light and Warmth by Dorothy Morrison
Celebrates the history, traditions, and symbols of Yule, offering advice on gifting, feasting and commemorating the Yuletide season around the world.