Wednesday, December 21 winter solstice
*Winter Feast - Native American spirituality
A time when Native Americans of the Woodland tribes share food with the spirits of winter.
*Yaldā - Zoroastrianism
The "night of birth" which marks the longest night of the year, after which days begin getting longer-thus symbolizing the victory of light and goodness over dark and evil. This festival is celebrated with storytelling, poetic readings, family reunions, and feasting.
A celebration symbolizing the rebirth of the sun by the Goddess. A present-day Wicca event that ritually marks the shedding of the dross of the past year and contemplating one's future spiritual development.
*Tohji-Taisai [Grand Ceremony of the Winter Solstice] -
This day marks the end of the sun's decline (the yin period) and the beginning of its growth (the yang period). In Japanese spirituality, the sun is expressive of Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess and guiding spirit of the Japanese people.
Friday, December 23
*Birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Commemorating the birth of Joseph Smith, Jr., in 1805 C.E. in Vermont. He translated what became known as the Book of Mormon and became the first president of the LDS Church when it was founded in 1830 in Fayette, New York.
Saturday, December 24
*Chanukah [Hanukkah] begins (through January 1) - Judaism
The Jewish Festival of Lights commemorates the Maccabean victory over Syrian-Greek oppressors and the recapture and re-dedication of the Jerusalem Temple in 165 B.C.E. Special readings and praise songs focus on liberty and freedom. The eight-candle Menorah is lit at sundown, and gifts are given.
Christmas Eve - Christianity (Western and Eastern churches)
Celebration of the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. It is observed with worship, carols, candle lighting, manger scenes and festive meals.
Sunday, December 25
*Christmas Day/Feast of the Nativity - Christianity (Western and Eastern churches)
Celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, observed by prayers, exchanging of gifts, and family parties.