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  Weekly Feature (December 18, 2004)

Lights in Winter Holidays 2004


What a wonderful time of year! It is a time to celebrate all the work done for the year and a time to celebrate the holidays. As well as Christmas, there are many holidays to enjoy this month: Hanukkah (Jewish), Kwanzaa (African), Los Posados (Mexican), and St. Lucia Day (Swedish). All of these holidays involve the use of lights. Lights are not only beautiful but have special meanings for each celebration.


Hanukkah is celebrated this year starting December 19th. This holiday celebration lasts eight days. The eight-day celebration is significant in that it symbolizes the Rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago. When it was time to light the Temple lamp, there was only enough oil for the lamp to burn one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days. The significance of the eight days is also celebrated by lighting one candle for each day of the celebration. Each candle represents a day the oil burned in the Temple lamp. The candles are held in a symbolic figure called the menorah. The first candle will be lit on December 19th with one candle being lit each following day until all the candles are lit.

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Kwanzaa is an African celebration starting the last week of December (around December 26 through January 1). Light is used in this celebration as a symbol of seven principles. Each principal is symbolized with a candle. A kinara is the candleholder that holds the seven candles. Each night a candle is lit and families talk about one of the seven principles. This is done each night until all the candles are lit. These principles are 1) unity, 2) self-determination, 3) collective work and responsibility, 4) co-operative economics, 5) purpose, 6) creativity, and 7) faith.

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Los Posados

This holiday is celebrated in Mexico, beginning December 16. The celebration lasts for nine nights. Each night children and their families re-enact the story of Mary and Joseph (parents of Jesus Christ) trying to find a place to lodge for the night. They travel to each house holding lighted candles and are turned away until they reach the house where the festivities of the night are being held. At this house, they are welcomed to go in and join in the celebration for the evening.

St. Lucia Day

St. Lucia Day is celebrated on December 13. The story behind the holiday is of a young Sicilian girl who lived over 1,700 years ago. She would not deny Christianity so she was punished and her eyes were put out. She is pictured as wearing white robes and wearing a crown of light. The light represents the breaking of the winter spell and bringing light into the world. St. Lucia Day is celebrated in Sweden, Finland, Italy, and the Caribbean.

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Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. This holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. On Christmas Eve a large candle can be lit to symbolize Christ, Light of the World. This candle is left to burn throughout the night. Many people also light candles during the Christmas dinner. The many lights in and on homes are to celebrate Christís birthday.

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Some of this information is from:


For some more Christmas fun you may want to try these websites:


From this site you can visit Santa Claus and see how Christmas is celebrated around the world.


This site contains many activities for young children and people who are young at heart: crafts, stories, colouring pages, and many other fun activities.

No matter how you celebrate this holiday season, know that you will be surrounded by light from all over the world. Take the time to enjoy the season and have a very bright holiday. The teachers at the Pearson Adult Learning Centre hope that you have a safe and happy holiday. We look forward to seeing you all in the New Year.



Visit Last Week's Feature: Holiday Fun

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