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December Cultural Awareness Brief

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December 1 is World AIDS Day, commemorating those who have died of AIDS and acknowledging the need for continued commitment to all those affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities; a day designed to raise awareness in regard to persons with disabilities in order to improve their lives and provide them with equal opportunity.

December 8 is Immaculate Conception of Mary; the Feast of the Immaculate Conception celebrates the solemn celebration by various Christian denominations of belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. December 8 is also Bodhi Day, a Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment. December 10 is International Human Rights Day; established by the United Nations in 1948, this day commemorates the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. December 12 is Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a religious holiday in Mexico commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531. December 13 is St. Lucia’s Day, a religious festival of light in Scandinavia and Italy commemorating the martyrdom of St. Lucia, a young Christian girl who was killed for her faith in 304 CE; she secretly took food to persecuted Christians in Rome while wearing a wreath of candles on her head so both her hands would be free.

November 15 to December 24 is Nativity Fast, a period of abstinence and penance practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic churches in preparation for the Nativity of Jesus. November 27 to December 24 is Advent, a Christian season of celebration leading up to the birth of Christ. December 16 to 24 is Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration in Mexico commemorating the trials Mary and Joseph endured during their journey to Bethlehem. December 18 to 26 is Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday that is celebrated for eight days and nights. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees, or Israelites, over the Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus, approximately 2,200 years ago. December 21 is Yule Winter Solstice, celebrated by Pagans and Wiccans. The shortest day of the year represents a celebration focusing on rebirth, renewal, and new beginnings as the sun makes its way back to the Earth. A solstice is an astronomical event that happens twice each year when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky.

December 25 is Christmas Day, the day that Christians associate with Jesus’ birth. December 26 is Boxing Day, a secular holiday celebrated in the United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and South Africa. December 26 to January 1 is Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday started by Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate universal African-American heritage. December 26 is Zartosht No-Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra), a day of remembrance in the Zoroastrian religion; it commemorates the anniversary of the death of the prophet Zoroaster, or Zarathushtra. December 26 is St. Stephen’s Day, a day to commemorate St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, or protomartyr. December 27 is St. John’s Apostle and Evangelist Day, the feast day for St. John celebrated by Christian denominations.

December 28 is Feast of the Holy Innocents, a Christian feast in remembrance of the massacre of young children in Bethlehem by King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus. December 30 is Feast of the Holy Family, a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church in honor of Jesus, his mother, and his foster father, St. Joseph, as a family. December 31 is Watch Night, a day for Christians to review the year that has passed, make confessions, and then prepare for the year ahead by praying and resolving.

 

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Sunday, 29 January 2023

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