In the United States, the 3rd Monday in January is a National Holiday in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. While it is not a holiday in Canada, Canadians and people all over the world will take some time today to acknowledge the tremendous legacy of Dr. King as a champion of freedom, equality and peace.
Check out our book display in honour of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, including these titles:
For many Canadians and for millions of people around the world, Christmas is a secular holiday. It is not a religious holy day, rather it is a cultural event based on things such as family, gift giving and charity. For many Christmas is focused on children and the central figure is Santa.
Yet for many millions of of other people in Canada and around the world, Christmas Eve is a deeply significant night of the year in spiritual terms. Christmas emerged as the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus. Whether in churches or other places of worship, or at home, or in other locations, Christians gather together celebrate the Nativity, the birth of Jesus.
Check out some of these books from our display, “Holidays and Holy Days.”
“Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday which celebrates family, community and culture. Celebrated from 26 December thru 1 January, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili, a Pan-African language which is the most widely spoken African language.”
This 9 day festival is central to Navidad (Christmas) celebrations in Mexico. This is a neighbourhood festival that commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph, who could not find posadas, (Spanish for “lodging”) before the birth of Jesus. A procession, including people dressed as Angels, Saints and the Holy Family, marches through the neighbourhood, knocking on doors looking for a place to stay. Like Mary and Joseph, they are refused, until finally the parade ends at one home where they are welcomed in. Feasting ensues, including a pinata for the children.
Simbang Gabi is a Filipino Christmas celebration. Similar to the Mexican Las Posadas and other Navidad celebrations in the Spanish speaking world, Simbang Gabi is a Novena, or a nine-day festival. Dating back hundreds of years to the beginning of Spanish rule over the Philippines, Simbang Gabi emerged as a distinctly Filipino celebration of Christmas. One of the features that developed in response to the agricultural practices of Filipino farmers is that the services are carried out in the very early morning, sometimes as early as 3:00 AM.
Simbang Gabi begins on December 16 and concludes with the Misa de Gallo on December 24.
Many Canadians trace their roots to the Philippines, including many students here at Lord Tweedsmuir. Ask some of your fellow students about Simbang Gabi! You can also find out more here:
Jews in Canada and around the world celebrate Hanukkah starting at sundown on December 22.
The Festival of Lights is a celebration of God’s deliverance and provision. The event began in remembrance of Maccabean revolt in the 2nd Century BCE, when the Hebrews recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem, the spiritual centre of Judaism. Each candle of the Menorah is lit, one per day for the 8 day Festival.
Like all Jewish Holy Days, which follow the lunar Hebrew Calendar, Hanukkah can occur anytime from late November to late December according to the Gregorian Calendar. This year Hanukkah will conclude on the evening of December 30.
For more information on Hanukkah, check out some of the following:
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
The theme for Human Rights Day 2019 is “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights.” The youth of the world, including you, and the other students here at Lord Tweedmsuir, have both the right, and the responsibility, to both celebrate and defend Human Rights for all people.