Hanukkah is a popular holiday and festival in the Jewish faith. It has its origins in ancient Israel. At the time, the Jewish people had been conquered by a foreign king who tried to change their religion and had desecrated the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The Jewish people fought back to defend their religion and were eventually victorious. After the Jews cleansed and restored the Temple, it was “proclaimed that the dedication of the restored Temple should be celebrated every year for eight days.” After their victory, the Jews saw that the temple only had a single jar of sacred oil that would burn for a single day. But a miracle occurred and “the oil burned for eight days until new consecrated oil could be found.” In the present day, Hanukkah is marked by lighting the Menorah candles, reading scripture, charity, singing, eating, giving gifts to children, and games.
Hanukkah. (2021). Encyclopaedia Britannica.https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hanukkah
eBooks at AC Library:
Goodman, P. (2018). The Hanukkah Anthology. The Jewish Publication Society. search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1910460&site=eds-live&scope=site
Inside Edition. (2019, December 22). What is Hanukkah? [Video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVt4aMMxnQ4
Glaser, S. (2019, December 19). Hanukkah: History, Meaning and its Relevance Today. The Jerusalem Post. https://www.jpost.com/judaism/hanukkah-i-have-a-dream-611409
Hanukkah. (2021, November 23). The History Channel. https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/hanukkah
The History of Hanukkah. (n.d.). My Jewish Learning. https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/hanukkah-history/
Bodhi Day is a holiday in the Buddhist faith. The holiday marks the day the Buddha became enlightened. Buddha’s original name was Siddhartha Gautama, and he was born a prince. Dissatisfied with his life and burdened by negative thoughts, he left his wealth to seek enlightenment. Following years with no success, he began meditating under a fig tree. He stayed there until he finally achieved enlightenment “and became the Buddha, or ‘the one who is awake.’” Bodhi Day is a solemn occasion without many festivities. Buddhists observe it with meditation, chanting, decorating bodhi trees and serving tea and cookies.
O’Brien, B. (2019, March 8). An Overview of Bodhi Day: Commemoration of the Buddha’s Enlightenment. Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/bodhi-day-449913
CF Morale and Welfare Services. (2020, December 30). Bodhi Day: Holiday Explorer Series. [Video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL_7sHdEcAA
Simon, Scott. (2020, December 5). Buddhists Prepare to Observe Bodhi Day, When Siddhartha Gautama Became Buddha [Audio]. In NPR Weekend Edition Saturday. https://www.npr.org/2020/12/05/943453999/buddhists-prepare-to-observe-bodhi-day-when-siddhartha-gautama-became-buddha
Richmond, L. (2013, February 7). Celebrating Bodhi Day for the 21st Century. Huffington Post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/celebrating-bodhi-day-for-the-21st-century_b_2254289
Yalda is an Iranian and Central Asian holiday marking the winter solstice. People gather and stay up late during this long night to eat, read poetry, and play music. The holiday has its origins in ancient Iran, where people believed that in the battle between good (daylight) and evil (night/darkness), good was at its weakest point while evil was at its strongest. Families would gather with the elders to support them and each other during this “magical and unlucky” night. They would light candles “to help the light, the sun, to conquer the darkness.”
Garcia-Navarro, L. (2020). Iranian American Chef Discusses Role of Food in Yalda Day Celebrations. Weekend Edition Sunday (NPR). http://18.104.22.168/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=p3h&AN=6XN2020122014&site=eds-live&scope=site
Global News. (2020, December 20). Holiday Celebrations: Persian winter festival of Shabe Yalda [Video]. Global News. https://globalnews.ca/video/7534476/holiday-celebrations-shabe-yalda
Saadat, S. O. (2019, December 16).Around the Yalda Table: Two Canadian Families Share how they mark the Persian Winter Solstice Celebration. CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/life/culture/around-the-yalda-table-two-canadian-families-share-how-they-mark-the-persian-winter-solstice-celebration-1.5398036\
Christmas is a holiday of the Christian faith. Christians celebrate it on December 25 in most western countries, and in some places, Christmas is celebrated in January. The holiday marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Christians believe Jesus Christ to be the Messiah (saviour) and Son of God. Christmas is celebrated around the world with gift giving, singing, church services, decorating houses and other buildings, parades, plays re-enacting the story of Christ’s birth, family meals and parties.
Fictional Resources at the AC Library:
Capra, F. (1946). It’s a Wonderful Life. DVD. Find it in the Library in the DVD section Call #: DVD WON
Dickens, C. (2008). A Christmas Carol. Find it in the Library in the Leisure Reading section Call #: PS 3568 .E688 .C47 2008
The History Channel. (2014, December 23). Origins of Christmas. [Video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wmp0HPCOxk
The Unexpected Origins of Popular Christmas Traditions. (2018, December 25). CBS News. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-unexpected-pagan-origins-of-popular-christmas-traditions/
Christmas: Holiday. (2021). Encyclopaedia Britannica.https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christmas
Kwanzaa is a holiday celebrated by African Americans and affirms “African family and social values.” The holiday was created in California the 1960s by African Studies professor Maulana Karenga. Karenga chose the name Kwanzaa by taking the Swahili word ‘kwanza’ which means ‘first’ and then added the second ‘a’ to make it seven letters. Kwanzaa has its origins in “Southern African first-fruits celebrations.” The seven days of Kwanzaa stand for the seven principles of Kwanzaa, which are, Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith. The seven symbols of Kwanzaa are fruits, vegetables and nuts, straw mat, candleholder, ears of corn, gifts, communal cup of unity, seven candles coloured red, green, and black (the colours of Africa) which represent the seven principles. During the celebration, families light one candle each day to acknowledge each of the seven principles. Kwanzaa includes a feast on December 31 where people put on traditional clothing.
Kwanzaa. (2021). Encyclopaedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Kwanzaa
Inside Edition. (2019, December 25). What Is Kwanzaa and How Is It Celebrated? [Video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKLvaql9Xvg
Trammell, K. (2017, December 26). A non-black Person’s Guide to Kwanzaa. CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/26/us/kwanzaa-explainer-trnd/index.html
Kwanzaa. (2020). The History Channel. https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/kwanzaa-history>
Makar Sankranti is a holiday of the Hindu faith. It is a celebration dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya to give thanks “to nature for its resources” and “marks the end of the winter solstice and the onset of longer days.” Thus, is marks the northward movement of the sun into the “zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn).” Hindus observe the holiday by taking a swim or dip in holy rivers such as the Ganges.
Makar Sankranti 2021 Date: When is Makar Sankranti in 2021?. (2021, January 14). The Indian Express. https://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/life-style/when-is-makar-sankranti-2021-7142115/
Times of India. (2020, January 14). Significance of Makar Sankranti. [Video] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doUUbmfT2YA
Jamal, A. (2021, January 12). Happy Makar Sankranti: History, Significance and Date of the Festival. The Hindustan Times. https://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle/festivals/happy-makar-sankranti-history-significance-and-date-of-the-festival-101610440318054.html
Makar Sankranti 2021: Date, Time and Rituals. (2021, January 8). India Today. https://www.indiatoday.in/information/story/makar-sankranti-2021-date-time-and-rituals-1757118-2021-01-08