Skip Navigation or Skip to Content

December encompasses a variety of winter holidays, including:

Christmas is observed on December 25 to commemorate the birth of Jesus, the central figure of Christianity. The date is not known to be Jesus’s actual birthday, and may have been chosen to correspond with either the day nine months after early Christians believed Jesus was conceived, the date of the winter solstice on the ancient Roman calendar, or one of various ancient winter festivals. In Christianity, Christmas marks the beginning of the larger season of Christmastide, which lasts 12 days.

Hanukkah – also known as the Festival of Lights – is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States honoring universal African heritage and culture, marked by participants lighting a kinara (candle holder).  It is observed from December 26 to January 1 every year.  Kwanzaa consists of seven days of celebration, featuring activities such as candle-lighting and libations, and culminating in a feast and gift giving. It was created by Ron Karenga and was first celebrated from December 26, 1966 to January 1, 1967.