During this time of year, as the weather changes and nights grow longer, many people around the world come together to celebrate and honor the light within that we cultivate through this time of year. We feast, reflect, and celebrate within our communities and look ahead to the return of spring. Read on to learn a bit about the traditions celebrated within our school and beyond!
- Diwali– This is a Hindu festival of light that honors many deities who represent prosperity, wealth, and wisdom. Families celebrate by cleaning and decorating their homes with colorful rangoli artwork and clay oil-lamps called Diyas. The festival lasts for five days and is one of India’s biggest celebrations.
- Advent– This Christian tradition begins four Sundays before Christmas and is a time to commemorate the birth of Jesus. Over the course of four weeks, this tradition honors the mineral kingdom, plant kingdom, animal kingdom, and humankind as Christmas day approaches.
- Christmas– This is a Christian celebration that honors the birth of Jesus. It is often celebrated by giving and receiving gifts and is the culmination of the four-week Advent celebration.
- Hanukkah– This is the Jewish festival of lights that honors the miracle of the menorah in the temple in Jerusalem. After the temple was destroyed and the Jewish people returned to restore it, they discovered only enough oil to keep their menorah lit for one day, but miraculously it remained aglow for eight days until more oil could be found. Today one candle is lit during each night of Hanukkah and special prayers are said.
- Kwanzaa– This is a celebration of African-American culture and heritage. Celebrated for seven days, this festival includes seven important symbols that are gathered for ceremonies and seven daily principles: Umoja – Unity, Kujichagulia – Self-Determination, Ujima – Collective Work and Responsibility, Ujamaa – Cooperative Economics, Nia – Purpose, Kuumba – Creativity, Imani – Faith.
We wish all WSMF families warmth, good health, and light this winter season and hope you are able to engage in your own family traditions safely this year.