Inspirational Traditions - How different cultures celebrate the holidays

Good Morning! Here's the Monday Morning Blog?


Did you get a chance to touch base with that teen or young adult in your life last week? Check in with them and see what they want for Christmas. They can be hard group to shop for.


Hey teens and young adults! Ideas are always needed and welcomed. Please feel free to let us know.


December's Theme - Holiday Traditions

This month's theme is holiday traditions. Sometimes adults work hard to make memories for their families. One of the ways they do this is create holiday traditions, like making a favorite cookie or watching a certain movie as a family. To a teenager, these events may seem rather boring as they would rather be with their friends in person or interacting with them on their phones. The holidays are a hard time for teens, so adults may want to try and make those traditions be more engaging with their teens.


Holiday Traditions in different cultures and religions

People celebrate the holidays in different ways; either through different family traditions which were created by them or traditions based on the culture one was raised in. This week, instead of doing a feature about an inspirational person, I decided to feature three inspirational holiday traditions that are different from my own. I did a little research and would like to share some of my new found knowledge in this week's post.


Besides all of the interesting facts I learned about each holiday itself, I also learned that not all of these holiday celebrations happen at the same time. So, as I celebrate Christmas with my family on December 25th, other cultures and religions may be doing something else as they have either already celebrated their holiday, are yet to do so, or can appreciate the joy of others as they celebrate in their own way.


Hanukkah - Jewish

Hanukkah is the Jewish tradition of celebrating the holidays. As of the writing of this post, Hanukkah took place on November 28th to December 6th this year.

According to britannica.com, "Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that reaffirms the ideals of Judaism and commemorates in particular the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by the lighting of candles on each day of the festival." A Menorah, also known as the Hanukkah lamp, is the candle holder that holds the candles to be lit. There are nine candles in the Menorah, eight for the eight days of the festival and one called the servant candle to light the other ones.


There is also a game called dreidel that is played with a four sided top. I remember playing this game in elementary school when we were learning about other culture's holiday traditions.


Kwanzaa - African

Kwanzaa is the African tradition of celebrating the holidays. This year, Kwanzaa will be taking place December 26th through January 1st. It is a holiday that celebrates family, community and culture. It was created by Dr. Maulana Kerenga in 1966 out of the Black Freedom Movement. He saw a need to strengthen the African-American community.

According to the officialkwanzaawebsite.org there are The Seven Principals that are celebrated by families celebrating Kwanzaa. They are

  • Unity

  • Self-Determination

  • Collective work and Responsibility

  • Cooperative Economics

  • Purpose

  • Creativity

  • Faith

This holiday is celebrated with feast, music, dance, poetry and narrative and ends with a day dedicated to reflection and recommitment to The Seven Principles listed above.


Ramadan - Muslim

Ramadan is the Muslim tradition of celebrating when the Qur'an (the central religious text of the Muslim religion) was first revealed to the prophet Muhammed.

Through my research for this post, I learned that Ramadan takes place during the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. In 2021, it took place April 12th through May 12th. So, traditional Muslims may not take part in the traditional Christmas festivities that those who practice Christianity do. But, they still share in the joy that those who choose to celebrate.


According to britannica.com, during Ramadan, they participate in fasting, prayer, reflection and community. They will fast from dawn until dusk for all 30 days of the celebration. The celebration begins and ends with the appearance of the crescent moon.


"For Muslims, Ramadan is a period of introspection, communal prayer (ṣalāt) in the mosque, and reading of the Qur'an. God forgives the past sins of those who observe the holy month with fasting, prayer, and faithful intention." - Britannica's topic about Ramadan


Different Holiday Traditions celebrate diversity

After taking a look at these three different holiday celebrations, I learned some something about each one. They all have a history in wanting to celebrate their holidays with the traditions of their own cultures. Understanding these differences can lead to more acceptance of people who are different from us.


To acknowledge and celebrate diversity of people and their holiday celebrations, how do you or did you celebrate your holidays? Do you have any special traditions that are a part of your celebration of the holidays? Let me know in the comments below.


A last minute gift idea for Teen Readers

Both of the books in The Way Series focus on high school and the challenges teens can face. Book one, The Hard Way, focuses on peer pressure and making choices with the approval of peers being a factor. Book two, Shawn's Way, shows a freshman in high school navigating his way through being the target of a bully. Check out the books tab of my website for more information, Selma P. Verde - Books


Mentoring and Resources

Have you seen these tabs on my website? One is my Mentor page which has some mentor statements related to this month's theme Holiday Traditions. And the teen resource links that I mention in my monthly Teen Resource post can be found on the Resource tab or through a link on the Mentor page. Be sure to take a look and let me know what you think!


Have a great week!