As our melting-pot society has progressed into one that rejoices in its multi-faceted cultural and religious heritage, the public celebration of religious holidays has become more and more difficult. Should our public school classrooms celebrate Christmas? What if they include Hanukkah? But wait, don’t forget Kwanzaa or Ramadan or the Winter Solstice. If you’re confused as to exactly how many reasons you have for celebrating the season, follow me on today’s multi-cultural holiday exploration.
"Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Yuletide Greetings, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year, Feliz Navidad, Habari Gani? We wish you a happy holiday season." With a small introduction to Christmas (the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ), Hanukkah (the Jewish festival of religious freedom), Kwanzaa (the African-American heritage holiday) and the Winter Solstice (a pagan and secular event marking the shortest day of the year), the Vermont ice cream brothers bring us holiday games and links.
Blue Mountain, the granddaddy of free electronic greeting cards, offers an extensive selection of fun secular and religious holiday cards for all the winter celebrations. Two unique features are the Twelve Days of Christmas and Eight Days of Hanukkah cards that send a different card each day of the holiday! Another addition to the Blue Mountain bag of tricks is the ability to attach a voice or video message to your card as you are personalizing it. Gifts and gift certificates can also be included. Obviously, the gift enclosures are not free.
Holidays on the Net3 stars
Beyond its multimedia features on Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, Holidays on the Net also covers the month-long Muslim holiday Ramadan which began on November 27. "Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. It is during this month that Muslims observe the Fast of Ramadan. Lasting for the entire month, Muslims fast during the daylight hours and in the evening eat small meals and visit with friends and family. It is a time of worship and contemplation. A time to strengthen family and community ties."
"From Christmas and Hanukkah to Our Lady of Guadalupe Day in Mexico, Guy Fawkes Day in the United Kingdom, and New Year's Eve, November and December are full of revelry, celebration, and solemn religious occasions." This World Book site is my pick of day for its even-handed explanations of holidays around the world. Don't miss the Christmas entry for a fabulous feature on "How Santa Claus Came to Be."
Feldman, Barbara. "Celebrate the Season!." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 20 Dec. 2000. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/holiday/ >.
By Barbara J. Feldman. Originally published December 20, 2000. Last modified July 10, 2014.
The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!
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