Winter Holiday Traditions


There are more holidays in the winter time than just Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Some people celebrate New Year very differently from Americans For New Year’s Eve, in Ecuador, families dress a straw man in old clothes on December 31. The straw man represents the old year. The family members make a will for the straw man that lists all of their faults. At midnight, they burn the straw man, in hopes that their faults will disappear with him.

A holiday some people might be unfamiliar with is Hanukkah. For eight days each November or December, people of the Jewish faith light a special candleholder called a menorah. They do it to remember an ancient miracle in which one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days in their temple. On Hanukkah, many Jews also eat special potato pancakes called latkes, sing songs, and spin a top called a dreidel to win chocolate coins, nuts, or raisins.

Another traditional holiday some people might be unfamiliar with is Kwanza, which means “First Fruits.” Kwanza is based on ancient African harvest festivals and celebrates ideals such as family life and unity. During this spiritual holiday, celebrated from December 26 to January 1, millions of African Americans dress in special clothes, decorate their homes with fruits and vegetables, and light a candle holder called a kinara.