It’s Not All About Christmas

We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new years! Those are the exact words that lets us know that the Christmas holiday has begun. But in case you might not know, there are two other holidays that begin in winter as well.

Their names are Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, and Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday meaning, “first fruits of the harvest.”

The traditions of Hanukkah are lighting the hanukkiyah (to commemorate said holiday),  then spinning the dreidel (a four-sided top with Hebrew letters written on both sides) and eating fried foods, because it celebrates oil. It is tradition to eat fried foods such as; latkes- potato pancakes and sufganiyot- jelly-filled donuts that are dusted in sugar. Both foods are fried in oil.

The traditions of Kwanzaa are a little more different. The daily routine for Kwanzaa begins with either a family member or friend lighting one of the seven candles of the kinara. The seven candles are different colors: three green, three red, and one black. The first candle that is lit is the black candle in the middle which symbolizes Unity. In the days that follow, the person lights either a red or green candle. The green candles on the kinara represents self-determination, collective work and responsibility, and cooperative economics, while the red candles symbolize purpose, creativity, and faith. Usually the three green candles are to the right of the black candle and the three red candles are placed on the left of the black candle. Kwanzaa is a celebration of African-American heritage and culture. More traditions of Kwanzaa are: making kwanzaa gifts,  honoring ancestors and elders,wearing traditional african clothing, planning special meals and  enjoying a kwanzaa feast.

These are just a few traditions of both Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, even though one holiday may be different from the one others celebrate, they are still important holidays and therefore  should be respected.

For those who don’t know, Hanukkah begins this year on, December 24 and ends January first. Kwanzaa begins this year on, December 26 and ends January first.

Written By: Emily Jorgensen, Reporter

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