Holidays Celebrated During December
December hosts numerous holidays from many traditions. You may already be familiar with some of these holidays and enjoy celebrating them with family and friends. PSL respects these multiple December festivities; these are just a few.
Hanukkah – December 7 - 15
Hanukkah, which is Hebrew for “dedication,” is the Festival of Lights. It commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greek army, and the subsequent miracle of rededicating the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and restoring its menorah, or lamp. Although there are many traditions with Hanukkah, the core ritual of the eight-day Hanukkah holiday is the lighting of the menorah, or hanukkiah. This nine-stemmed menorah is lit each evening of the holiday after sunset, with one candle added each additional night. It is customary to place the menorah in a window or some other publicly visible location to fulfill the custom of publicizing the miracle, in which a jar of oil sufficient to burn for one night burned for eight in the ancient Temple. Prior to lighting the candles each night, a series of blessings are recited.
Bodhi Day – December 8
Bodhi Day is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment. Traditions vary on what happened. Some say Siddhartha made a great vow to Nirvana and Earth to find the root of suffering, or die trying. Other traditions simply state that he entered deeper and deeper states of meditation, confronting the nature of the self. Bodhi Day is celebrated in a calm, quiet and peaceful manner. Many Buddhists will spend the day meditating and praying with a focus on the Four Noble Truths. These truths are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. At home, Buddhists might decorate a Bodhi tree with lights and statues of Buddha may be displayed around the house.
Christmas – December 25
One of the most recognized December holidays is Christmas; which is celebrated on December 25th. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of the Christian religion. In the early 20th century, it became a secular family holiday observed by Christians and non-Christians alike. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church and sharing meals with family and friends.
Kwanza – December 26 through January 1
Kwanza is an African-American and pan-African (relating to all people of African birth or descent) holiday that celebrates family, community and culture. This holiday was created in 1966, by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of African Studies. Kwanza is a seven-day cultural festival. During this holiday families and communities organize activities around the Seven Principles; which are: Umoja – Unity, Kukichagulia – Self Determination, Ujima – Collective work and responsibility, Ujamaa – Cooperative economics, Nia – Purpose, Kuumba – Creativity and Imani – Faith. The seven candles of Kwanzaa in red, black and green, represent the seven Principles. The one black candle symbolizes the people themselves, the three red candles represent the struggle or blood-shed in the past and the three green candles represent the Earth or the abundance of possibilities the future holds.
During the month of December, the communities of Presbyterian Senior Living are full of events and celebrations that include all of the various cultures and traditions that make up each individual community. Each community is festive with holiday decorations, delicious meals, choirs singing and a sense of joy and togetherness. Presbyterian Senior Living hopes that your time together celebrating your favorite holiday this month is filled with love, hopes and dreams for a positive future and one that celebrates the diversity that each family member and friend brings into your life.
About LaJeune Adams
PSL’s Cultures and Values give assurance of our organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, through ensuring that all stakeholders feel that they belong. By lifting up voices and people, we will create an organization where all stakeholders feel that they are of value. As part of this commitment PSL formed Culture Champions within each community and location within the organization. Culture Champions are PSL representatives empowered with leading the movement of living and teaching our values while embracing DEI initiatives and encouraging others to do the same. As the Corporate Director of Education and Development and DEI Officer, LaJeune Adams is one of the PSL leaders that supports and works directly with the Culture Champions. LaJeune has worked with Presbyterian Senior Living for over 16 years in the roles of Human Resources Manager and Area Human Resources Director prior to her current role.