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Winter Celebrations

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” –C.S. Lewis

As we near the end of the year, many of us will be celebrating cherished holidays over the next few weeks. Our world is full of unique people and unique cultures. As a result there are a myriad of different holidays celebrated around this time. Check out some of those below:


This year Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) started on December 18 and will end on December 26. It is one of the most widely observed holidays in the United States. For Jewish people all over the world, the eight days of Hanukkah are a time of reflection, celebration, and learning. The holiday is marked by meaningful traditions, as well as a variety of celebratory foods and games that honor the origin story of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a holiday with a rich history and elaborate set of customs, from the menorah lighting ceremony to the significance of traditional foods and toys.

Learn more about the history of Hanukkah here!

Las Posadas

The religious festival known as Las Posadas, or “The Inns” in Spanish, is observed between December 16 and 24 in Mexico and some regions of the United States. Related directly to the Christianity aspect of Christmas, the celebration of Las Posadas honors the trip that Joseph and Mary took from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a secure location where Mary could give birth to the infant Jesus.

Learn more about Las Posadas here!

Winter Solstice

When the earth’s axis tilts away from the sun during the winter solstice, which occurs between December 20 and 23, it marks the shortest day and longest night of the year for people who live in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter Solstice celebrations honor the “return” of the sun. Celebrated all over the world, Winter Solstice events can greatly differ.

It is undeniable that Stonehenge’s ancient circle aligns with the movements of the sun, even though no one is certain why it was constructed. It is one of the world’s monuments, and archaeological evidence suggests that winter solstice celebrations took place there. Modern partygoers have continued the custom by gathering early the day after the longest night to see the sun rise through the stones. For this calm and reverent celebration, visitors can even approach the stones directly, a location that is typically roped off.

The Hopi Native American tribe of northern Arizona celebrate the winter solstice with a festival called Soyal. Purification, dancing, and occasionally gift-giving are all part of ceremonies and rituals. The Hopi people welcome the kachinas, guardian spirits from the mountains, around the time of the solstice. Crafted prayer sticks are used in a variety of rituals and blessings.

Learn more about different Winter Solstice celebrations here!


While many Christians use Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is not a religion-exclusive holiday! Whether religiously celebrated or not, Christmas is a time for loved ones to gather and celebrate one another. This is done through many traditions including Santa Clause, gift giving, stockings, delicious food, Christmas trees, wreaths, mistletoe, and of course, Mariah Carey.

Learn more about the interesting history of Christmas here!


Kwanzaa is an annual holiday that is primarily observed in the United States from December 26 to January 1 and celebrates African family and social values. Maulana Karenga, an influential figure in Afrocentrism and a professor of Africana studies at California State University, came up with the name and the celebration in 1966. Karenga added the seventh letter, an extra a, to make the word long enough to accommodate one letter for each of the seven children present at an early celebration. The word kwanza, which means “first,” is derived from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza. Kwanzaa is modeled after first-fruits festivals in Southern Africa. From Monday, December 26, 2022, to Sunday, January 1, 2023, Kwanzaa will be observed.

Learn more about Kwanzaa here!

New Years

The celebration of the new year is found in many different iterations throughout the world. Here in the United States, we often celebrate by staying up late and cheering when midnight hits. Many watch the televised Ball Drop in New York City as a part of their festivities. New Years is often used as an opportunity to set new goals for the year.

Click here to get some ideas for New Years goals!

In whatever way you celebrate the season, we at DEPCO wish you happy holidays! May you find yourselves surrounded by loved ones, meaningful and fun traditions, and delicious food.


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