Winter Holidays Around the World


This image above shows a menorah, which corresponds to the holiday of Hanukkah, where each of the eight days a candle is light and prayer is said to celebrate the victory against the invasion of Judea.

Katelyn Ruggles, Photojournalist

Throughout the United States, the most common winter holiday known among the citizens is Christmas. There is a clear popularity around Christmas, as proven by the hundreds of songs, decorations, and clothing that relates to the holiday. This is because statistically, a larger majority of citizens in the United States celebrate Christmas. However, many other holidays celebrated by a smaller minority are constantly outshined by the excitement around Christmas. It is time to shine a light on these smaller holidays and the traditions that come with them. Though there are hundreds of holidays around the world, it is nearly impossible to fit them all in one article, so only a few will be covered. 


Hanukkah is one of the more well known holidays besides Christmas, but there is still not nearly enough appreciation around the holiday like there is for Christmas. When being asked about the Jewish holiday, Camille Khong (10) mentioned how she knew “what Hanukkah was and the tradition of lighting the menorah, but not the purpose behind the holiday.” Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish festival that lasts from December 11th to December 18th. It originated as a celebration for Judas Maccabeus, who defeated Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a king who invaded Judea. The tradition around this festival is that on each of the eight days, a candle is lit on a menorah, or a candelabra with eight branches and a blessing is said to go with each lit candle, starting from the right side of the menorah and moving left. Presents are also usually given on each of the eight days. In Israel, Hanukkah is considered a national holiday that is celebrated by kids reenacting plays and singing traditional holiday songs ( 


Kwanzaa is another holiday that is overshadowed by Christmas. This African-American holiday originated in 1966 by Maulana Karenga so African-Americans can connect with their culture. It is celebrated from December 26th through January 1st. On each of these days, a candle is lit, and on the last day, gifts are exchanged. Rather than a religious holiday, Kwanzaa is a cultural one, meaning it can be celebrated alongside Christmas or Hanukkah, but it was created to be celebrated on its own. The decorations include hanging the Kwanzaa flag, and incorporating the colors green, black, and red throughout your main room ( 


Yule is a twelve-day festival of German descent that starts on the Winter Solstice and ends eleven days later. The Winter Solstice is a holiday many cultures around the world celebrate. Usually falling around December 26th, this holiday marks the shortest day of the year, and still honors the traditions that come along with this holiday. It is still unknown what the origin, religion, and culture of this holiday are, caroling, feasting, and burning a special log on a hearth are all traditions that go alongside Yule. Most of these traditions were adopted by the Christmas holiday ( 


There are many other holidays around the world that deserve the same attention and appreciation Christmas receives. With origins, traditions, and cultural or religious purposes just as significant as Christmas’, these holidays deem just as important and necessary to recognize as the more popular ones are, so more people can be respectful of these holidays and the meanings they are tied to.