Let's take a Culture Cruise through December
December is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated months of the year. It is the time of year most of us prepare to unwind after months of relentless work.
Time when we are most aware of ourselves and others around us, making sure to care and share. Time of the year when one part of the world is bundled up while the other is basking in the warmth of the sun. So contrasting but yet so nurturing in its own way.
Most of us know the "mainstream" celebrations around this time of the year. But, let's take a pause and explore some of the lesser known holidays and traditions around the world.
This Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that Gautama Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. This day is observed in traditions in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines. While some commemorate this day through meditation and practicing kindness, others may celebrate through a traditional pudding made of rice and milk.
Omisoka festival is celebrated in Japan on the day before new year to symbolize good luck and moving forward with a fresh start in the year to come. In a popular belief, humans are thought to have 108 desires and ringing temple bells for that number of times is believed to wash off any sins before the turn of new year. A common custom around this time of the year is for families to eat Toshikoshi Soba, long thin soba noodles symbolizing wish for long life.
Week long celebration of life, community and culture in honor of people of African decent brings everyone celebrating this festival come even closer. People celebrate 7 principles with each one highlighted for each day of the festival. The principles being Unity, Determination, Responsibility, Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. On New Year's Eve, a large communal feast is arranged with friends and family with African delicacies like Jerk Chicken, Jollof Rice or countless traditional recopies.
Hope this quick cruise through gave you a birds view into some holidays and traditions that you were not aware of. So, the next time you run into someone who may celebrate these holidays, wish them in their own way and to someone who may have never heard of these holidays, now you can offer to take them your own Culture Cruise!