Monday, December 12
* Feast Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe - Catholic Christianity
Commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531 C.E. Juan Diego, a native American living during the Spanish conquest of Mexico, saw a vision of the Virgin Mary. He was told to build a church in her honor exactly where he stood, and in that spot the Basilica of Guadalupe was erected. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the world travel to that church every year and venerate the icon of the Virgin that is there, imprinted on Diego's cloak; it is believed that Our Lady of Guadalupe can intercede with God so that faithful believers' prayers can be answered, and miracles can occur. She is also the patron saint of Mexico.
Wednesday, December 14
Sanghamitta Day - Buddhism
Celebrating the anniversary of the arrival of King Asoka's daughter Sanghamitta, who founded an order of nuns in Sri Lanka and carried with her a branch of the original tree under which the historical Buddha found enlightenment (it still survives in the ancient capital of Anuradhapura). This festival occurs on the full moon day in December.
Thursday, December 15
* Birthday of Amitābha Buddha - Buddhism
Marking the birth of the bodhisattva Dharmakāra who resolved to attain enlightenment as a buddha and vowed to create a Pure Land. He became the buddha Amitābha ("infinite light"), and any sentient being who desires to be born into that land is guaranteed rebirth there through his vow, and from there she/he/it will unfailingly reach Nirvana. This belief forms the foundation of Pure Land Buddhism, which is practiced by many Buddhists in Japan, China, and other East Asian countries.
* Bill of Rights Day
While not a religious festival, this day marks the signing into law of the ten original amendments to the United States Constitution in 1791, including the First Amendment that protects citizens' freedoms of speech and of religious expression.
Friday, December 16
Posadas Navideñas begins (through December 25) - Christianity (Western churches)
A Latino/Latina Christian feast of the Lodgings, commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph toward Bethlehem in preparation for the birth of Jesus.
Sunday, December 18
* Fourth Sunday of Advent (love) - Christianity (Western churches)