December Monthly Acknowlegements
Our UC Davis community is made up of people from all over the globe, representing many cultures, customs, and experiences. In support of our diverse community we will recognize some of the observances happening each month (presented in no particular order).
You don't have to be a member of a particular community to participate in celebrating many of the observances. If you are interested in learning more, we invite you to connect with campus programs, attend events, and ask questions.
If you are observing/celebrating this month we hope the experience is joyful and meaningful.
Hanukkah is December 7 – 15. Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is an eight-day Jewish holiday that observes the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. Hanukkah commemorates the Jewish people’s struggle for religious freedom throughout history. Religiously, Hanukkah is considered a minor holiday, but it has become one of the most beloved Jewish holidays. It is celebrated with family dinners, events at synagogues, gift giving, and lighting of the Hanukkah menorah (or hanukkiah)—one candle is lit each evening of Hanukkah.
Christmas Day is on December 25 and is both a religious and secular holiday. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a time of hope and joy. The Christmas season is celebrated over 12 days in many Christian traditions. In the U.S., Christmas was made into the secular, warm-hearted celebration we know today about 200 years ago. In reinventing the holiday, people in the U.S. adopted practices, including decorating trees, sending holiday cards, and gift-giving, from other traditions, like Yule. Celebrations of Christmas vary around the world, but usually include gathering with loved ones, sharing food, and giving gifts.
Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated around the world by millions of people. Kwanzaa is celebrated over seven days, always from December 26 to January 1. The name Kwanzaa comes from a Swahili phrase meaning “first fruits” and combines aspects from various harvest celebrations. The holiday has profound meaning for African Americans and the world African community, as it celebrates what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. Kwanzaa was founded as an act of cultural recovery and reconstruction, and celebrates family, community, and African and African American culture. Celebrations of Kwanzaa vary by family but often include singing, dancing, poetry, storytelling, traditional meals and gift-giving, and center around The Seven Principles. A candle is lit on each day of Kwanzaa—on a seven-space candle holder called a kinara—to represent that day’s principle and is followed by a discussion of the principle. On the sixth day of Kwanzaa, families and communities gather for a feast known as Karamu. Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday with deep spiritual meaning in which family, community, history, values, and heritage are celebrated.