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🎅🏻 December Delights: Local Holiday Music, Diverse Celebrations, Trivia & Laughs Inside!

Issue #025

Issue #025 - December 25, 2023

Christmas Edition

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Crew here at Whitby Thrive!

** Note: Sometimes Gmail clips the end of the newsletter. You can read the whole newsletter online here…

In this issue of Whitby Thrive…

☀️ Today’s Weather in Whitby 

🎅🏻 Grab a Seat, Sit by the Fire, and Enjoy Some Holiday Music

 🎄 Holidays Celebrated in December

 🧸 Other Holidays Celebrated in December

 🎁 Holiday Trivia Questions

 🤣 Holiday Humour

 🔔 Got a Favourite Whitby Business? Nominate Them for a Feature in Our Community Newsletter!

 📅 Whitby Events

 🧪 Trivia Answers

Grab a Seat, Sit by the Fire, and Enjoy Some Holiday Music

Holidays Celebrated in December

Merry Christmas GIF by Elle Winter

December is a month rich with diverse holidays celebrated around the world. Here are brief summaries of four major holidays celebrated in December:

Christmas (December 25th): Christmas is a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated by millions of people worldwide, both within and outside of the Christian community. Traditions include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church services, sharing meals with family and friends, and, for many, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive with presents.

Hanukkah (Dates vary, based on the Hebrew calendar): Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C., where Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. Hanukkah is marked by the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games, and gifts.

Kwanzaa (December 26th to January 1st): Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration held in the United States and other nations of the African diaspora in the Americas to honor African heritage in African-American culture. It was created by Maulana Karenga and first celebrated in 1966. Kwanzaa involves feasts, music, dance, poetry, and narratives, with a focus on seven core principles (Nguzo Saba).

New Year's Eve (December 31st): While not a traditional holiday in the religious sense, New Year's Eve marks the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year according to the Gregorian calendar. It is celebrated with social gatherings, where people dance, eat, drink, and watch or light fireworks to mark the arrival of the new year at midnight.

Each of these holidays has its unique customs and traditions, reflecting the rich cultural diversity of the global community.

Other Holidays Celebrated in December

Inspire Winter Solstice GIF by Positive Programming

In addition to the well-known holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Eve, there are several other holidays and observances celebrated in December around the world. Here are a few:

Winter Solstice (around December 21st or 22nd): The shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, marking the astronomical first day of winter. Many cultures celebrate with festivals and rituals.

Saint Nicholas Day (December 6th): A Christian festival day in honour of Saint Nicholas, the inspiration for Santa Claus. It is especially celebrated in Europe, with gift-giving and feasting.

Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12th): A significant religious and cultural celebration in Mexico and among Mexican-Americans, commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary to Juan Diego in 1531.

Bodhi Day (December 8th): Observed by Buddhists, this day commemorates the day that Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.

Saint Lucia's Day (December 13th): A Christian feast day celebrated in Scandinavia and in Italy, in honor of Saint Lucia, a 3rd-century martyr. The day is marked by processions and singing, with girls dressed in white and wearing wreaths of candles.

Boxing Day (December 26th): Celebrated in the UK and other Commonwealth countries, this day originally involved giving gifts to the poor. Today, it is known for shopping sales and as a public holiday.

Omisoka (December 31st): The Japanese New Year's Eve, a time for family gatherings, cleaning the house to welcome the new year, and eating special noodle dishes.

Las Posadas (December 16th - 24th): A nine-day celebration leading up to Christmas in Mexico, Guatemala, and parts of the United States, commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem with processions and parties.

Festivus (December 23rd): is a secular holiday that entered popular culture in 1997 through the American TV sitcom "Seinfeld." Originally created by writer Dan O'Keefe, Festivus gained popularity as a whimsical alternative to the commercialism and pressures often associated with the Christmas season.

These holidays reflect a variety of cultural, religious, and seasonal traditions, showcasing the diversity of ways in which December is celebrated around the world.

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Holiday Trivia Questions

A Christmas tree on Christmas morning with presents.

Which country is credited with starting the tradition of decorating Christmas trees?

  • A) Germany

  • B) France

  • C) England

  • D) Norway

Answer posted below

Christmas stockings hung over a fireplace

What is the origin of the Christmas tradition of hanging stockings?

  • A) A medieval European custom of leaving shoes out for charity.

  • B) A legend involving Saint Nicholas and three bags of gold.

  • C) An old Scandinavian tradition to honour the god Odin.

  • D) A Victorian-era invention for Christmas decoration.

Answer posted below

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December 25th

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Origin of Decorating the Christmas Tree

Correct Answer: A) Germany.

The tradition of decorating Christmas trees originated in Germany during the 16th century. It is believed that devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. The Christmas tree was popularized by the Germans throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. It became widely known outside of Germany after Queen Victoria and her German husband, Prince Albert, displayed a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in the 1840s. This royal endorsement was highly influential and soon after, Christmas trees became a customary part of English and then American Christmas celebrations. The tradition spread globally, and today, the Christmas tree is a central part of holiday festivities in many cultures around the world.

Origin of Hanging Stockings

Correct Answer: B) The tradition originates from a legend involving Saint Nicholas.

The tradition of hanging stockings at Christmas is linked to a legend about Saint Nicholas, a 4th-century Christian bishop who is known for his generosity. According to the legend, there was a poor man who had three daughters. The man was so poor that he did not have enough money for a dowry, so his daughters couldn't marry. Saint Nicholas, hearing of the man's plight, decided to help in secret. He knew the man would not accept charity, so he waited until it was night and threw three bags of gold through an open window, one landing in a stocking that had been left by the fire to dry. This act of kindness saved the daughters from a life of poverty. Over time, this story evolved into the Christmas tradition of hanging stockings by the fireplace or on the bedpost, in the hope that they will be filled with gifts by Saint Nicholas (or Santa Claus) on Christmas Eve. This tradition is widely practiced in many countries around the world, with children eagerly awaiting surprises in their stockings on Christmas morning.