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Giving the gift of presence, not presents

by Brianna Bush - Lifestyles Editor
Wed, Dec 5th 2018 01:00 pm

By Brianna Bush | lifestyles editor

 

It’s the holiday season and people are hustling to find the perfect gift for the special people in their life. During Black Friday, there are people trampling over each other and physically fighting over low priced items. What happened to the times when all people needed were their family and friends?

The days where families come together on Christmas to just be together are gone and are replaced with days where screaming children complain about how the gift they got wasn’t the right gift. Christmas has become overly commercialized and turned into something that companies can make millions off the chaos of ‘gift giving.’

The history of Christmas is long and complicated, it has been seen as a religious holiday and a cultural holiday. The first winter celebration, the winter solstice, is a celebration to help people look forward to the days to come after a cold and harsh winter. It was a celebration to help remind people warmer days were on the way.

During the 1600s, the celebration of Christmas was outlawed in Boston, Massachusetts because of the Puritans. Anyone who was seen celebrating were fined five shillings for breaking the law. In later years, 1870 to be exact, Christmas was declared a federal holiday.

In relation to Christmas, people in Scandinavia celebrated Yule on December 2. The men would go out and get giant logs for their family to light. After lighting the log, they would celebrate for as long as it burned. The celebrations sometimes lasted up to 12 days and included feasts.

Though Christmas is the commercialized holiday, we cannot forget all of the other holidays that are celebrated during the harsh winter months. According to history.com, the people of Rome celebrated Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of architecture, in place of traditional winter celebrations since the winters were not as harsh.

To take away from Christian versions of winter holidays, other religions celebrate in different ways. Another popular holiday, Hanukkah, is an eight day Jewish celebration that revolves around the nine branches of the Menorah. 

“Each night for eight nights, another candle is added to the menorah after sundown; the ninth candle, called the shamash (“helper”), is used to light the others,” according to history.com.

During the celebrations people eat latkes, which were a potato like pancake and Sufganiyah which is a jelly doughnut. During Hanukkah, it is customary to play with spinning tops called dreidels. According to bhg.com, legend has it that children would get around the ban on the Torah by bringing the spinning tops to their study sessions so their oppressors thought they were just playing games. 

There are so many different holidays that are celebrated during the frigid months of the year. Most people don’t think about the holidays, traditions and customs they don’t celebrate. One holiday that is not commonly celebrated in the United States is the Chinese New Year. 

The Chinese New Year is not federally recognized as a public holiday in the U.S., but is legally observed in California as of 2015 according to chinesenewyear.net. This year is the Year of the Pig, according to the zodiac, the pig is the twelfth of all the zodiac animals. The Chinese New Year has been celebrated for over 4,000 years and is based off the Lunar Calendar.

There are many myths as to why the pig is the twelfth animal. One such myth says “the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. Pig was late because he overslept.”

Another well celebrated holiday is Kwanzaa, which is celebrated starting December 26 and ends on January 1. “The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili,” according to history.com

During the days of celebration usually include song and dance, it varies from family to family. On each night of the seven days of Kwanzaa a candle on the Kinara is lit by a child, it is then that they discuss one of the seven principles.

All of these holidays are on a basis of celebrating with loved ones and traditions, but they have taken a sour turn over the years, becoming “Hallmark Holidays.” There are people out there who are willing to trample each other over Christmas gifts and children that expect everything under the sun. 

People can make a move to help prevent future generations from becoming “spoiled brats” by focusing more on traditions and family time.

 

lifestyles.editor@gmail.com | @your_girl_bri__