This is a term coined by North Africans that refer to the holiday season which starts from Thanksgiving up until the New Year. This is used to give a general overview of all the holidays that fall under American culture. Here most of the Canadians and Americans travel back to their homes. They take the time off to spend with their families while celebrating these Seasonal Holidays. This provides a refreshing pause amidst the working or academic year. Check more information on Worldnoor.
School or college students get short vacations when their classes are off while people who are employed get a break. Seasonal holidays are more commonly known as the “festive season” by the English speaking countries and the United Kingdom. This is in part due to these holidays leading up to Christmas till New Year starts. This is the week that lasts from Christmas Eve to the New Year’s day hence the naming “Christmas Holidays.”
Most of the businesses are closed off at this time and public holidays are declared. It is the fall and winter season which inculcates this sense of excitement and enthusiasm in individuals. There is a growing anticipation for celebrations and overall relaxation. Employees are relieved to take the time off for the entirety of the holidays. The holiday season includes both the religious and cultural holidays that many people around the world celebrate as experienced since childhood. They are ingrained in their respective cultures and passed down since many generations.
The different holidays
In Seasonal Holidays, Thanksgiving is a festival celebrated by natives of the USA, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Liberia. It usually falls on the fourth Thursday of November in the USA and on the second Monday of October in Canada. A similarly named festival also takes place in Japan and Germany. The holiday is marked by families and relatives coming together to have a feast and dinner celebration.
This is to congratulate the rich harvest of the season. There is a sense of community and brotherhood as meals are shared and family values are restored. Amongst the different gustatory cuisines, turkey is one of the most popular ones. It is usually served with seasoned vegetables, especially pumpkin. Thanksgiving is thought to have many religious and cultural origins. However, it is also celebrated as a secular holiday now. Saying prayers of thanks is an integral part of many religious customs as well as after harvests.
According to the North American tradition the Thanksgiving seasonal holidays date back to the Protestant Reformation according to the English traditions. There are origins of the harvest festival also instilled even though the harvest in New England occurs before the late November date. There are special blessings which are thought to be bestowed from God are observed through Christian churches and other such gatherings. The annual Thanksgiving holiday tradition was first noted in 1916 in the United States.
It is now named as the Commonwealth of Virginia. Thanksgiving holidays were decided to be celebrated after the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588. Furthermore this was also after the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1605. Finally the annual day of Thanksgiving began in 1906 after the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1905. There were several days of Fasting observed as well due to the plagues in 1604 and 1622. Also due to the drought in 1611 and flooding in 1613.
This Muslim festival is held all across the world by people who practice the Islamic faith. It is referred to as the “Feast of the Sacrifice.” The exact date on which this Eid falls varies every other year. This is because it follows the lunar calendar. This Islamic holiday is valued by Muslims because of its exceptional religious significance. Prophet Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, Prophet Ismail on Allah’s command. This he did by stoning the satan and preventing his own self from going astray.
Therefore, Muslims worldwide celebrate this seasonal holiday and sacrifice animals such as goats, sheep, cows and camels in Allah’s name. People bathe and dress well on this day. They meet each other at the mosque and offer congregational prayers to start the day. On this day people celebrate by cooking the meat of the animal they sacrificed and having collective meals with family. Beggars are also given packets of free meat.
People sacrifice their best halal domestic animals to represent Abraham’s obedience to Allah. At the end of the three days of Eid, people distribute the meat to the needy. This is to ensure that no one remains hungry on this joyous festival. This is so that no one feels left out during this holiday season. Those who don’t have the means and resources to buy their own animals contribute by buying a share in a large animal that someone has bought. Eid-al-Azha is the second of the two Muslim holidays.
The first one is Eid-al-Fitr which falls immediately after Ramadan, the month of fasting. Animals are sacrificed because when Allah asked Prophet Abraham to sacrifice Prophet Ismail. Allah provided the father with a lamb in place of his son, hence his son was saved. On this day sweets and gifts are also given. Visitors and relatives are welcomed home on this Big Eid.
This Hindu festival is also known as the “Festival of Lights” for it lights up the atmosphere and the mood. This five day celebration usually falls in November or December each year. Diwali is in commemoration of the attainment of nirvana by the Indian sage called Mahavira. It is also for the death anniversary of Swami Dayanand who was a Hindu religious leader. This seasonal holiday is celebrated mostly in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and some other Asian countries.
The basic symbol is the lighting of small clay lamps. This signifies that all good will be victorious over evil power. Everything negative will be diminished and piety and righteousness will take form. The people who celebrate it adorn new and beautify clothes. These are colorful and catchy showing their excitement and willingness to groom. Firecrackers burst and there is lots of noise as people share in the laughter. Sweets are distributed amongst loved ones for gratitude and congratulations.
This is one of the major festivals hosted and celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. It is held during the Hindu lunisolar month known as Kartika. This is a very prominent Hindu spiritual ritual that focuses on light taking over the darkness. How good always wins over evil and knowledge takes precedence over ignorance. For preparations of this seasonal holiday people usually clean and decorate their homes, offices and workshops. Diyas (oil lamps) and rangolis (colorful art rings) are displayed in full view.
The worship ceremonies for the goddess Lakhshmi are held. She is the one that bestows wealth and prosperity. There are lighted fireworks and people take part in huge feasts. Here the traditional sweets called mithai are given for goodwill. This five day celebration has its roots in the early Indian subcontinent and is mentioned in the Sanskrit text. Diwali is celebrated at the end of the summer harvest.
Interestingly, like Diwali this is also called the “Festival of Lights.” However, it is a Jewish ritual that extends over eight days and nights. The start date varies every year but is mostly in November or December. The Jewish people fought against the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd Century B.C. The Empire had taken over most of the Middle East and Judaisim was made illegal. The historical significance of Hanukkah is at the point when the Jewish took back their Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They got to worship again in this religious place. Now Jews light up candles during Hanukkah in a special eight branch candle holder which is called Menorah. Oily and sweet cuisines like doughnuts are eaten and people spend most of their time with their close communities. This is on the 25th day of the Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar.
This festival marks the Jewish victory over a tyrant king and how the worship place in Jerusalem was redeemed. This had followed the Maccabean Revolt. Families light up the menorah and offer prayers for eight nights. The number of days is used to show that the oil lasted for eight days and lit up the Jerusalem temple miraculously. In the candelabrum one branch is usually placed above or below the other one and its candle lights up the other eight candles.
This type of candle is known as shammash or attendant. It lights up one candle each day until all eight candles are lit on the final night of the festival. Hanukkah songs are sung on these seasonal holidays, the game of dreidel is played and oily or dairy foods are enjoyed. Hanukkah has cultural significance amongst the North American Jews since it occurs at the same time as Christmas during the holiday season.
Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December every year. This is a worldwide Christian tradition in the memory of the birth of Jesus Christ. The derivation of Christmas is from “Christ’s Mass.” It has its origins in the Christain liturgical year. In many nations this is seen as a civil holiday and people usually spend time with their family decorating their homes. There are all sorts of sparkly items present such as colourful lights, christmas carols, greenery, festive foods and gifts. Children are mostly drawn towards the large Christmas tree in the centre with the shiny star resting on top of it. There is a large feast that takes place in the Christian liturgical year. Just prior to this is the Advent of Nativity Fast which begins the season of Christmastide. This began in the West and lasts for 12 days.
It ends on the Twelfth Night and is declared into a public holiday in most countries. This is both a Christian religious and cultural festival. The holiday season for Christmas is always a time people look forward to as they return to their family homes. The customs associated with Christmas in most religions can be of any type. These include pre-Christian, Christian and secular themes. The more popular part of this festival is giving gifts and completing an Advent wreath. There is Christmas music and dancing. The Christmas Carol and church services. Special christmas cards and a wholesome communal meal is shared. The decorations are endless including lights, shiny golden balls, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe and holly. Then there are some fatherly figures involved which are believed to bring in gifts for children. These are Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas or even Christkind.
This festival is celebrated from December 16 to 24th and originates from Spanish Catholicism. This is a nine day holiday season. Several other Christian branches also celebrate Las Posadas in Guatemala, Mexico and Southwestern United States as well. Families look forward to Christmas time and they proceed from house to house.
This procession is continued when people carry a candle in a paper lampshade that each house signs. The group of marching people finally stop when they arrive at a church or home. Here the families are ready to feast, drink pinatas and sing carols. Las Posadas in Spanish actually means “The Inns” and it is in the memory of the journey undertaken by Joseph and Mary. They traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem searching for a safe place where Mary could give birth to her baby. When both Joseph and Mary could not find any shelter in Bethlehem, they made their way to a stable.
This is where the Christ Child, Jesus was born. This seasonal holiday is observed in the towns and villages all across Mexico. A small child dressed as an angel leads the procession through the town streets. The children wear attires of gold and silver and carry along candles with them on this occasion. They also have images of Mary and Joseph riding a donkey with them. The procession may not always be given refuge but refreshments are provided.