Religious Holidays Celebrated in December


Cydnee Capps, Photography Editor


December is mainly associated with religious holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah, but there are multiple more holidays celebrated worldwide that fall in December. These holidays include many different festivities, feasts, and practices that individuals follow in order to celebrate correctly.  



Hanukkah is a Jewish festival commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and the rededication of the Second Temple. It lasts eight days from the 25th day of Kislev. 



A Christian holiday commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25. Billions of people across the world celebrate differently depending on religious and cultural aspects.  It is also called Noel, Nativity, and Xmas. 



Yule is an indigenous winter festival by the Germanic peoples. It takes place from December 21 – January 1. Typically, people celebrate Yule by hanging ornaments in trees, caroling, gift-giving, and with greenery. These celebrations also include feasting, drinking, and sacrifice. 



Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture from December 26 to January 1. It was created in 1966 as a way for Black Americans to honor their African roots and strengthen their ancestral bonds in a time of racial inequality. Celebrations often include singing and dancing, storytelling, poetry reading, African drumming, and feasting. 



Rohatsu, which means “the eighth month of the twelfth lunar year”, is a Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. The holiday is celebrated on the 8th of December. It is also referred to as Bodhi Day. It is celebrated by meditating from night to dawn. 


Immaculate Conception

Immaculate Conception is a Catholic feast honoring Mary’s conception without sin. More specifically, it refers to the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother, Saint Anne. It is celebrated on December 8. 


Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe

This is a celebration in Mexico and has been declared a national holiday. It is celebrated on December 12th every year and honors the day when Virgin Mary made an appearance to Juan Diego, a Mexican peasant, in 1531. Food on this day usually involves tortas, tacos, gorditas, carnitas, tamales, atole, and pozole. 


Las Posadas

Las Posadas is mostly celebrated in Latin America, Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras, and by Hispanics in the United States. It typically takes place December 16th – December 24th every year. It is a religious festival that commemorates the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a birthplace for baby Jesus.

Zarathosht no-diso

Also known as Zarthost no deeso is a day of remembrance in the Zoroastrian religion. It commemorates the death of the prophet Zoroaster. It typically is observed on December 26th.


Feast of the Holy Family

Many Catholic Churches celebrate this feast, along with Lutheran and Anglican churches. It honors Jesus, his mother, and his legal father, Saint Joseph, as a family. It was inserted by Pope Benedict in XV and has been observed since 1921. It is celebrated on December 30th. 


Saint Nicholas Day

Also called the Feast of Saint Nicholas, this day is celebrated on December 5th or 6th in Western Christian countries and on December 19 in Eastern Christian countries. People celebrate by placing their shoes in the foyer before bedtime and by attending mass or other services of worship. It recognizes the third-century saint who became the inspiration for Santa Claus. 


St. Lucia’s Day

Also known as Saint Lucy’s Day or the Feast of Saint Lucy, it is a Christian feast day observed on December 13. It celebrates the martyr Lucia of Syracuse, who brought food to Christians hiding in Roman catacombs with a candle-lit wreath on her head. It is celebrated in homes by having the eldest daughter dress in white and serve coffee and baked goods to other family members. 


Boxing Day

Boxing day is celebrated the day after Christmas, December 26th. It originated as a holiday to give gifts to the poor but is modernly used as a day to shop. It received its name during the Victorian era when the rich would “box up” items they no longer needed to gift to the poor. 



Typically celebrated in Japan on December 31, it is a day spent cleaning the house, taking long baths, and ensuring there are clean clothes to bring in the New Year with a fresh, clean slate. It is the most important day of the year in Japanese tradition.