The Magical Traditions of The Holidays

The year of 2020 has been a trying year, and there are so many frustrating things to look at and remember, but we have to look at the good in times like this; that is why we have traditions to make new memories and laugh at the old.

Kayli Taylor, Columnist

There are many different traditions and holidays that are celebrated in the winter all over the world. Families celebrate every holiday differently. Some of the most celebrated holidays are Christmas, Hanukkah, Saint Nicholas Day, Las Posadas, Kwanzaa, Yule(Winter Solstice), and “Chris-kwanz-ukah”. 

Different Traditions

Christmas is one of the most popular holidays, and there are a lot of unique ways people celebrate Christmas:

  1. Getting and giving Christmas cards
  2. Decorating and picking out Christmas trees with your family
  3. Seeing Santa Claus and singing winter songs
  4. The elf on the shelf
  5. Opening presents on Christmas Eve(24th) and/or Christmas Day(25)

Hanukkah is another popular winter tradition that is celebrated, and here are some of Hanukkah’s traditions:

  1. Lighting candles each night.
  2. Singing special songs such as Ma’oz Tzur 
  3. Reciting the Hallel prayer
  4. Eating foods fried in oil, such as latkes and sufganiyot, and dairy foods.
  5. Playing the dreidel game
  6. Giving Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins were actually real tips at one point. Many Jewish families celebrate Hanukkah by handing out the gelt, which are chocolate coins covered in gold or silver. These are normally treats for the kids, but this practice is to thank labor).

Saint Nicholas Day is often confused with Christmas, though they are very similar

  1. St. Nicholas leaving gifts in shoes (or stockings)
  2. Exchange of small gifts
  3. St. Nicholas leaves treats for good boys and girls, however, the naughty ones receive a twig or chunk of coal
  4. Children leave letters for St. Nicholas and carrots or grass for his donkey or horse
  5. In the morning, children find small presents under their pillows or in the shoes, stockings, or plates they have set out for him
  6. Oranges and chocolate coins are common treats that represent St. Nicholas

Las Posada, meaning inn or lodging. This is a tradition for celebrating the Christmas story, which is nine nights long (December 16-24), when Mary and St. Joseph searched for a place for Jesus to be born.

The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase matunda ya kwanza which means first fruits, or harvest, in Swahili. Celebrations often include 

  1. Singing and dancing
  2. Storytelling
  3. Poetry reading
  4. African drumming, and feasting

The last tradition is Yule, which is the Winter Solstice

  1. Build a Yule Altar
  2. Make an Evergreen Yule Wreath
  3. Decorate a Yule Tree
  4. Celebrate in Candlelight
  5. Have a tea party