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Winter Holidays

Among the holiday hype for Christmas, it can be difficult to hear much about other holidays this winter season. That being said, here is a list and quick description of some of the many holidays this season!

1. Hanukkah: December 10th - December 18th

Hanukkah, meaning "dedication" in Hebrew, is a Jewish celebration that lasts eight days throughout the month of December. The holiday is celebrated in remembrance of when the Temple of Jerusalem was reclaimed by the Jewish people after it had been previously captured by the Greeks. Hanukkah is celebrated with a menorah, a candlestick that holds nine candles. The holiday can also be celebrated with latkes, made out of fried potatoes, gifts to children each night, and spinning the dreidel.

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2. Our Lady of Guadalupe Day: December 12th

Our Lady of Guadalupe Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in Mexico and by Catholics. On this holiday, people across the world venture to Mexico to view an image of Mary at the Basillica of Guadalupe. People travel to this location specifically because it was in that place that Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatz, whose existence is often debated, saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1531. An image of her face was somehow imprinted on his cloak, and that sacred cloth is now held in the Basillica of Guadalupe, which is why many Catholics visit the Basillica on December 12th, the day she appeared to Juan Diego.

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3. Winter Solstice: December 21st

The Winter Solstice is a holiday with Pagan origins that celebrates the shorter nights and longer days that are to come after the solstice. It can be celebrated differently depending on the culture, but a common celebration is the burning of a Yule log in the fireplace. A festival is often held at Stonehenge as well, where it is possible for one to see the sun rise above the heel stone if they are in the exact right spot at the exact right time.

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4. Christmas: December 25th

Christmas is a holiday celebrated primarily by Christians to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Arguably the most popular Christmas tradition is Saint Nicholas's (also known as Santa's) travels across the world in one night in order to deliver presents to all the children who have been deemed "good" for the year.

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5. Kwanzaa: December 26th - January 1st

Kwanzaa is a cultural seven-day holiday celebrated largely by the African American and pan-African community which honors community and family. The holiday is fairly new, as it was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, and it is a celebration of many combinations of African cultures throughout history and to this day. Although everyone celebrates Kwanzaa differently, it is often celebrated with music, dancing, and food.

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