Monday, December 26
* St. Stephen's Day - Christianity
Remembrance of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
* Kwanzaa begins (through January 1) - African American heritage
A seven-day festival that celebrates values highly regarded by people of African American ancestry. The values include umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). Each of these principles, collectively known as the Nguzo Saba, is represented by a red or green candle, each of which is lit on successive days using a central black candle.
* Zaratosht Diso [Anniversary of the death of the prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster)] - Zoroastrianism
Estimates of when he lived vary from the sixth to the second millenium B.C.E., but this date memorializes the death of the prophet Zoroaster, whose hymns (gathas) are preserved in the Zoroastrian scriptures.
Wednesday, December 28
* Holy Innocents' Day - Christianity
A day of solemn memory for the male children of Bethlehem killed by King Herod in an attempt to destroy Jesus.
Friday, December 30
* Sharaf - Bahá'í
The beginning of the sixteenth month of the Bahá'í year; its name means "honor."
Saturday, December 31, New Year's Eve
* Ghambar Maidyarem (through January 4) - Zoroastrianism
A celebration for the creation of animals, and a time for the equitable sharing of food with others.
Sunday, January 1, New Year's Day
* Temple Day - Buddhism
North American Buddhists attend special services in temples on this day.
* Birthday of Meitreya Bodhisattva - Buddhism [Pure Land schools]
Marking the birth of Meitreya, who will come at the end of time to renew the pristine Buddhist teachings.
* Feast of Mary, Mother of God; and the Naming of Jesus Christ - Christianity
Some Christians celebrate this day in honor of Jesus' mother; others celebrate this day (eight days after Jesus' birth) as the day when Jesus was presented at the Temple and officially named by his parents.
* Gantan-sai (O-shōgatsu) - Shintō
This Japanese celebration of the New Year includes prayers for the renewal of hearts, good health and prosperity. The festival lasts for a week, during which time people visit one another's homes and offer gifts of good wishes for the coming year.