During this time of year, millions of people around the world are embarking on traditions that have been in their family for generations. Whether you’re decorating a Christmas tree, eating latkes, or displaying your kinara, the main focus of the season is getting together as a community .
As most know, three of the major winter holidays are Christmas (December 25th), Hanukkah (December 16, 2014 – December 24, 2014), and Kwanzaa (December 26th – January 1st). Though they have cultural and religious differences, there are more similarities than you might think.
With Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, the lighting of candles is essential to the celebration, but this isn’t their only similarities. Both of these holidays celebrate freedom. One of the miracles Hanukkah celebrates is a Jewish army’s successful rebellion against the Greeks who commanded that they end their religious practices. And Kwanzaa was established during the Black Freedom Movement to restore African American roots in African culture.
Christianity and Judaism have large fundamental differences when it comes to religious beliefs but both Christmas and Hanukkah revolved around miracles. Hanukkah celebrates the miracles of the Menorah that only had enough oil to last one day but lasted eight days. And Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ to the Virgin Mary.
For both Christmas and Kwanzaa faith is an important principle. Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds had faith in the angels and Faith (Imani) is one of Kwanzaa’s seven principles. Also Kwanzaa originated from African harvest festivals, celebrating the first fruits and worshiping the creator. Christmas is a time when Christians worship their Savior.
Coming together as a community
What all three holidays have in common is a cherished since of community. Whether it’s saying the blessings while lighting the Menorah, attending service on Christmas Eve, or observing Siku ya Taamuli (the day of meditation), people are coming together with open hearts. This year have a mindful holiday and send merry wishes to those celebrating traditions of all kinds.