Holiday Traditions Celebrated All Over the World

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There is no better time to gather with those you love than at the holidays. No matter what holiday you celebrate, what they have in common is that they are all a time of love, family, peace and happiness.

If you and your family are celebrating a new holiday, starting a new tradition, or sharing in another interfaith celebration, they are all a way to celebrate the joy of the season.

By far, the most celebrated worldwide holiday is Christmas with its colorfully decorated trees, gaily wrapped gifts and a jolly bearded man. In Finland, add to that list a stroll through the graveyard as on Christmas Eve, families leave a single lit candle next to the graves of their loved ones. Not only are there thousands of traditions surrounding each holiday but there are thousands of other holidays that are celebrated as well.

For Diwali, the Festival of Lights, a five-day celebration, Hindus fill their houses and gardens nightly with clay oil lamps or candles. The lights celebrate the once banished mythic hero Rama and his wife, Sita, and welcome Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity, into their homes.

Tu B’shevat, a tradition celebrated by Jews on the 15th day of the month of Shevat which is in either January or February, depending on the Hebrew calendar, signifies the end of the rainy season and emphasizes the responsibility to care for and nurture the earth. People plant trees, eat fruit, and celebrate the beauty of the planet.

An Austrian tradition has St. Nicholas rewarding good little boys and girls while Krampus is said to capture the naughtiest children and whisk them away in his sack. In the first week of December, people dress up as the Krampus, especially on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, frightening children with clattering chains and bells.

In Finland, on New Year’s Eve, tin is melted, then poured into a bucket of snow or ice-cold water. When the metal hardens, it is held up to a light and the shape it casts on the wall is used to tell one’s fortune.

Eid Al-Fitr, the Feast of the Breaking of the Fast, is held after the month-long fast of Ramadan, lasting for three days following the appearance of the crescent moon. The holiday, the most popular in Islam, includes a feast featuring couscous with raisins and onions, and desserts such as dates, raisins, and round sesame or almond cookies called ghoribas.

A new tradition for many is centered on the Hindu on the Bindu, which celebrates Diwali, the festival of lights. This doll with its feel-good smile is a perfect addition to this holiday but it inspires children all year long to learn about their family traditions and share them with others. The bindu is the symbol of all beginnings, the ultimate opportunity for all creation.

We here at Hindu on the Bindu want to hear from you and learn about the holidays you celebrate and the traditions you cherish. Please send us an email and we will share your stories on this website.

Merry Christmas! Habari gani! Happy Holidays

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