Celebrate the holidays with a different faith

by Simone Leonard
Contributing writer

Many faiths around the world will celebrate this holiday season.
What makes the holidays even more special is that many people of different faiths and religions celebrate it in their own, yet similar, ways.

People of the Jewish faith celebrate Hanukkah.
Hanukkah lasts for eight days, and families light a very special candelabrum every night of the holiday season.

This special candelabrum has eight branches and one additional branch that is raised above the other branches.

Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev. Every night of Hanukkah, the Ma’oz Tzur hymn is sung. On the last day of Hanukkah, a Biblical passage from Numbers 7:84 is read to culminate the Hanukkah season.

Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ during Christmas. Many families buy Christmas trees and decorate them with lights and ornaments.

Some families also celebrate the 12 days of Christmas and give presents for the 12 days leading up to Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, many families gather together as children eagerly await what Santa Claus has brought them. Along with a glass of milk, cookies are baked by mothers and fathers and left out for Santa and his helpers.

At midnight, a lot of children eagerly open their presents under the Christmas tree.
On Dec. 25, a traditional meal is served, and after the presents are opened, friends and family come over to visit.

Buddhists celebrate the holiday season with Bodhi Day. Bodhi Day (Day of Enlightenment) is celebrated this year on Dec. 8.
Bodhi Day is a day of remembrance and meditation. Buddhists decorate their home with colored lights.

Starting Dec. 8, the lights are turned on every evening for the next 30 days to celebrate enlightenment.

Some Buddhists homes will also be decorated with a fiscus tree, adorned with lights with three ornaments to symbolize the Buddha, the Darma and the Sangha.
The traditional meal consists of rice and milk. Children also take part in Bodhi Day by baking cookies in the shape of trees to symbolize the Bodhi tree.

How will you celebrate this holiday season?