Fall River Jewish Home

From Hanukkah to Kwanzaa: Holiday Traditions for all Faiths

At Fall River Jewish Home, we welcome and embrace residents of all faiths and cultures. We know that for many of our friends across the commonwealth of Massachusetts, the month of December offers some form of celebration. In recognition of that diversity, we thought it would be fitting to share what some of these religious and cultural holidays – from Hanukkah to Kwanzaa –mean.

Christmas – This December 25th holiday is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It originally began as a mass for Christ. Traditions include the giving of the gifts in honor of the three wise men’s gifts to baby Jesus, and to Santa Claus, who originally was known for giving to the poor, and a family meal to celebrate together.

Hanukkah – While this eight-day Jewish celebration typically begins in early December, this year it starts at sundown on November 27th.  The holiday commemorates the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt against the Greeks. The temple was left with only enough oil to light the menorah for one night, but the candles somehow burned for eight.

Kwanzaa – The literal Swahili translation for Kwanzaa is “first fruits.” This non-religious African-American celebration started in 1966. It is a six-day celebration that begins on December 26th. It is a time for families to join together for meals and companionship. A candle is traditionally lit for each day of Kwanzaa.

Winter Solstice – This traditional celebration dates back to the centuries before the birth of Christ. It is a 12-day event that begins on December 21st when it was believed that the worst of winter was over. Also known as the Yule, traditions include decorating the home with greens and mistletoe and burning the Yule log for 12 days.

Bodhi Day – This Buddhist holiday commemorates the day the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni) achieved enlightenment. It is traditionally celebrated on December 8th with chanting of Buddhists texts and acts of kindness towards others.

Do you celebrate another religious, spiritual or cultural day in December?

We’d love to learn more about it in the comments below…

We’re here to answer questions and help you make the best decision for care for you or your loved one. We invite you to reach out and talk with one of our care specialists at Fall River Jewish Home today! CALL 1.508.679.6172, where assistance is just a phone call away.

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