Happy December. I generally enjoy all the jokes that make light of all our earnest efforts not to offend each other. The other side of that is to enjoy the great diversity, no matter which you choose to celebrate.
And so we hereby proclaim this
Let the party begin.
Just to bring you up to date, several celebrations have already begun.
Advent began yesterday: the Christian tradition of celebrating the four Sundays before Christmas. It’s a time of expectation, preparation, and and waiting: waiting for Jesus to arrive, and waiting to celebrate Christmas until, well, Christmas. (You’ll notice this is rather spotty, as Christmas decorations have been up since Thanksgiving. We’re generally not that great at delayed gratification.) Some families focus on the expectation with an Advent calendar, in which each day opens another scene or tiny gift. See an advent calendar.
Another lengthy celebration began on November 15 and goes 29 days, until December 13: Al-Hijra. Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, and some Muslims mark the first day of Muharram as the beginning of the new year. A number of important events in Islamic history occurred during this month; it’s a time of mourning, reflection, and peace. In some countries it’s a public holiday.
Library books for the interested:
- Holidays, festivals, and celebrations of the world dictionary : detailing nearly 2,500 observances from all 50 states and more than 100 nations : a compendious reference guide to popular, ethnic, religious, national, and ancient holidays …
- The Latino holiday book : from Cinco de Mayo to Dia de los Muertos– the celebrations and traditions of Hispanic Americans
- What everyone needs to know about Islam
- Advent and Christmas wisdom from Henri J.M. Nouwen : daily Scripture and prayers together with Nouwen’s own words.