Holidays Around the World

Famous holidays around the world celebrated by different cultures and communities.


Karen Rodriguez-Magallon, Reporter

The winter season is upon us! What a better way to celebrate than spending time with loved ones and returning with old traditions and most importantly, holidays! All around the world whether it’s winter or summer, people celebrate different cultural holidays either for religious purposes or just tradition. Here are some Holidays which are celebrated all around the world.


Photo via Pixabay

Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that is celebrated for 8 days. Hanukkah reaffirms the ideals of Judaism by the lighting of candles on each day of the festival. The celebration of Hanukkah includes a variety of religious and non-religious customs. 

The most important of all Hanukkah traditions is the lighting of the menorah each evening. Also known as the Hanukkah lamp, the menorah recalls the Temple lampstand and is a simple or elaborate candelabra with eight branches plus a holder for the shamash candle that is used to light the other eight candles. 

There are also a number of nonreligious customs associated with Hanukkah, including festive meals, songs, games, and gifts to children. Potato pancakes, doughnuts, and other treats fried in oil, which recall the miracle of the oil, are popular. 

Hanukkah is known slightly all around the world. Some celebrities celebrate and have made comments on the holiday. Adam Sandler, an American actor famously sings in “The Chanukah Song,”  “Hanukkah is…the festival of lights, instead of one day of presents, we get eight crazy nights”.

St. Lucia Day

Photographer N_Creatures

St. Lucia’s Day is a festival of lights celebrated in Scandinavia around the time of the winter solstice. Although it is now meant to honor St. Lucia, a Christian martyr, the holiday has been incorporated with earlier Norse solstice traditions, such as lighting fires to ward off spirits during the longest night. 

The modern festival of light combines elements of both pagan and Christian traditions. Schools generally close around noon on the day of the festival so that families can prepare for the holiday. Families observe St. Lucia’s Day in their homes by having one of their daughters dress in white and serve coffee and baked goods, such as saffron bread and ginger biscuits, to the other members of the family. These traditional foods are also given to visitors during the day. 

A popular saying that is related to the St. Lucia holiday is, “Lucy Light, The Shortest day & The Longest Night”.


Photo via Pixabay

Kwanzaa is an African festival observed by many as a celebration of their cultural, heritage, and traditional values. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. 

On each of the seven nights, the family gathers, and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara, a candle holder, then one of the seven principles is discussed. The principles called the Nguzo Saba, which means “seven principles” in Swahili are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture. 

Jessica B. Harris, an American culinary historian states, “We have religious holidays and we have secular holidays. I see Kwanzaa as an opportunity for African Americans to reaffirm ourselves if we choose to, a chance to rebuild and renew our focus. I see Kwanzaa as a holiday of the spirit.”


Photographer Khokarahman

The festival of lights signifies peace and joy, the victory of good over evil, and light over darkness every day. It is one of the most symbolic Hindu festivals, and all the communities in the country celebrate it. 

Diwali is generally a time for visiting, exchanging gifts, wearing new clothes, feasting, feeding the poor, and setting off fireworks. This tradition starts by cleaning homes and purchasing small items of gold. 

As the days progress, prayers and blessings are offered to ensure prosperity. Priyanka Chopra, an Indian actress states, “Diwali… The festival of lights that celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Wishing everyone a very Happy Diwali… hope you’re spending it with loved ones!’