Winter Celebrations Around the World
Winter brings on the big holiday season, with December dominated by Christmas and Hanukkah
. But there are some other winter celebrations that you may be less familiar with. Here are a few of them, along with eLibrary articles and Research Topics that can help your students learn about them.
-Kwanzaa was created in 1966--the early days of the Black Power movement--to encourage African Americans to embrace their heritage and culture. It is a weeklong celebration that begins on December 26 and focuses on the "seven core principles": Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, Faith.
Related Research Topics: Kwanzaa
, Black Power Movement
, ProQuest Research Topic Guide: African American History
-Lunar New Year is celebrated in many East Asian countries and is based on lunar or lunisolar calander used by each country. The largest of these celebrations is in China and results in one of the largest human migrations
each year, as people travel to spend the holiday with family. The Chinese lunisolar calendar marks the start of the new year at the appearance of the new moon between January 21 and February 20. Parades with dancing lions is one of the more colorful traditions of the holiday.
Related Research Topics: Chinese New Year
-There are many festivals and celebrations
around the Winter Solstice, the point in time when the days start getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere:
Yule is a Pagan celebration that has traditions that are familiar to most of us, as the Christmas tree, wreath and Yule log all have their roots in it. Today, various movements of neopaganism celebrate versions of Yule around the winter solstice.
Dongzhi, which is observed in China, Japan and Korea, is related to the idea of balance, with the short, cold days representing the fading yin and the longer, warmer days representing the emerging yang. Traditional foods are dumplings and tangyuan, glutinous rice balls.
Yalda is celebrated mostly in Iran. It is an ancient Persian holiday tied to the birth of the god Mithra in the Zoroastrian religion. Friends and family gather to eat (especially pomegranates and watermelon) and read poetry, usually that of Hafez, who is a giant of Persian literature.
Related Research Topics: Solstice
-Newtonmas. OK, this one is kind of informal, but it is something that is noted by science nerds, atheists
and humanists. Isaac Newton was born on December 25, 1642. (According to the Julian calender, still used by England at the time. It's complicated. See the Calendar Research Topic
.) So, many people like to spread Newtonmas greetings as an alternative to the religious-based celebration
that happens to also fall on that day.
Related Research Topics: Isaac Newton
-The best for last! The Hungarian town of Mohacs holds the Busojaras Festival to mark the end of winter. Somewhat similar to Carnival and Mardi Gras, the six-day event ends on Ash Wednesday and involves elaborate costumes. Men run about in carved wooden masks with horns and furry sheepskins, generally wreaking lighthearted havoc. The tradition, which is recognized on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, is rooted in either a 16th-century effort to scare away the occupying Ottoman Empire or to scare away winter.
Related resource: Global Tradition; Scaring Winter, New York Times
eLibrary has the resources to aid your students in learning about cultures around the world. Our Research Topics are always a good way to start, as they provide overview, background and in-depth articles, images, graphics and more. Either assign them or allow students to search and browse our new thumbnail-oriented interface. For tips on getting the most from eLibrary, see our libguide
and previous posts from this blog: Tip: Power Searching for Research Topics in the New eLibrary
, eLibrary Power Searching Tip: Quotation Marks and Titles
Enjoy the winter (or scare it away) in whatever way that works for you!