Epiphany

Also known as King’s Day or Twelfth Night, Epiphany is a Christian celebration that traditionally brought a close to the Christmas Season. In the western Church, King’s Day commemorates the visit of the Magi, the “Wise-Men” or Kings of the East, to the infant Christ, God’s revelation of the Messiah to the Gentiles (non-Jews.)  In bygone traditions, the “Twelve Days of Christmas” were marked from Christmas Day to Epiphany.

Adoration of the Magi by Mantegna (Public Domain / WIkimedia Commons)

This holiday is not prominent in Canada, but is a significant event in many Catholic areas, including parts of the Europe, Central America and South America.

For more:

Catholic Encyclopedia

It’s Twelfth Night…

Epiphany 2015

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Winter Solstice and Yule

source: Wikimedia Commons / CC

Winter begins in the northern hemisphere on this, the shortest day of the year. In traditional pagan cultures, this time of the year represented darkness giving way to light, and death giving way to life. The dark and cold had reached its nadir. Henceforth the days would grow longer and warmer. Hope was restored. Many of the festivals and celebrations that take place at this time of year, from many different cultures, follow this theme.

For more on this and other winter observances and feasts, check out our display: Holidays and Holy Days.

Hanukkah

source: Roylindman at en.wikipedia

Jews in Canada and around the world celebrate Hanukkah starting at sundown tonight. 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 20. For more information on Hanukkah, check out some of the following:

Check out our display: “Holidays & Holy Days”

Bodhi Day

BuddhaThe religion known as Buddhism dates back to the 6th or 5th Century BCE, when the Indian Prince Siddhartha Gautama became the “Buddha,” literally, “the Enlightened One.” The followers of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism observes Bodhi Day in celebration of the day that the Buddha sat below the Bodhi Tree and meditated on the meaning of life. Bodhi Day is celebrated mainly by the Buddhists of northern and eastern Asia (in Japan the day is known as Rohatsu) and in countries to which those people have immigrated (such as Canada). For more on Bodhi Day and the life of the Buddha, click here.

St. Nicholas Day

stnickIf people tell you that Santa Claus isn’t real, tell them to think again! Saint Nicholas lived in the 3rd and 4th Centuries AD(CE). He lived in what is now known as Turkey, but what was then a Greek area of the Roman Empire. The legends surrounding his life grew and evolved over the years, eventually leading to our modern picture of Santa.

In much of Europe and in many parts of the world, St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 6, or on another date other than Christmas. For more information, check out the St. Nicholas Centre.

Advent

Advent Wreath and Candles.  source: Clemens PFEIFFER, Vienna (CC / wikimedia)

The Holiday Season in the western world has traditionally been synonymous with Advent, literally the period of expectation of an important arrival. For Christians the season of Advent is about the anticipation of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Christ. In the Christian Church, on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, candles are lit as symbols of Advent.

Be sure to check out our display of books for “Holidays and Holy Days!”

Holidays and Holy Days

American Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start to the “Holiday Season” in the United States and in Canada. As the days become shorter and weather gets worse, we prepare for many weeks of festivals, parties and celebrations.  Some of these are religious in nature while many are secular.  It is a month of Holidays and Holy Days.

Come down to the school library to join us as we celebrate this wonderful time of the year. Check out our displays related to Christmas and the many other holidays of the winter including Kwanzaa, Yule, Hanukkah, New Year and more. And come back here to see more online as we celebrate “Holidays and Holy Days.”

Epiphany

Also known as King’s Day or Twelfth Night, Epiphany is a Christian celebration that traditionally brought a close to the Christmas Season. In the western Church, King’s Day commemorates the visit of the Magi, the “Wise-Men” or Kings of the East, to the infant Christ, God’s revelation of the Messiah to the Gentiles (non-Jews.)  In bygone traditions, the “Twelve Days of Christmas” were marked from Christmas Day to Epiphany.

Adoration of the Magi by Mantegna (Public Domain / WIkimedia Commons)

This holiday is not prominent in Canada, but is a significant event in many Catholic areas, including parts of the Europe, Central America and South America.

For more:

Catholic Encyclopedia

It’s Twelfth Night…

Epiphany 2015

Winter Solstice and Yule

source: Wikimedia Commons / CC

Winter begins in the northern hemisphere on this, the shortest day of the year. In traditional pagan cultures, this time of the year represented darkness giving way to light, and death giving way to life. The dark and cold had reached its nadir. Henceforth the days would grow longer and warmer. Hope was restored. Many of the festivals and celebrations that take place at this time of year, from many different cultures, follow this theme.

For more on this and other winter observances and feasts, check out our display: Holidays and Holy Days.

Bodhi Day

BuddhaThe religion known as Buddhism dates back to the 6th or 5th Century BCE, when the Indian Prince Siddhartha Gautama became the “Buddha,” literally, “the Enlightened One.” The followers of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism observes Bodhi Day in celebration of the day that the Buddha sat below the Bodhi Tree and meditated on the meaning of life. Bodhi Day is celebrated mainly by the Buddhists of northern and eastern Asia (in Japan the day is known as Rohatsu) and in countries to which those people have immigrated (such as Canada). For more on Bodhi Day and the life of the Buddha, click here.