More than Christmas



Christopher Nobles, Reporter

With the snow coming down and silver bells ringing, we all know one thing is coming: Christmas. But have you stopped and given thought to some of the other holidays people are celebrating this year? Often, people forget that the month of December has religious holidays besides Christmas.

   Two days before people are opening Santa’s presents, the Jews are celebrating their own holiday: Hanukkah. The word Hanukkah means “dedication” and reminds Jews to rededicate their lives to the faith. This day commemorates the Jews’ rebellion and victory against Greek-Syrian oppressors during the Maccabean revolt. The Syrians had invaded their land and taken over their holiest place, the temple, in 168 B.C. Though largely outnumbered, the Jewish Macabee family gathered their people and conquered their oppressors in two notable battles.

   According to the Talmud, a religious text, Jews witnessed what they believed to be a miracle during that time. The menorah, an ancient Hebrew lamp stand, only had enough specially prepared oil for one day and it would take eight days to produce more. But somehow, the candles miraculously burned for eight days. This has inspired the festivities of Hanukkah, with eight days of celebrating for the eight candles on the menorah.  

   Another holiday that many people will celebrate this year is Kwanzaa.  Kwanzaa did not actually originate in Africa, as many believe, but rather is a celebration of people of African descent in the Americas.  American Black Power activist and secular humanist, Maulana Karenga, created Kwanzaa in 1966 as an African-American alternative to Christmas. He wanted a holiday that would give African-Americans the opportunity to celebrate themselves and their culture.

    There are several holidays that will be celebrated as we head off to break, so whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, have a great holiday!