Winter Observances & Celebrations

A christmas tree.

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Myriad cultural, religious, artistic, mystical and spiritual observances of the winter season

The diversity of winter festivals and observances around the world reflect the myriad cultures celebrating them. Because winter comprises the Northern Hemisphere’s darkest and coldest months, fire and light are traditional symbols of celebrations in this half of the globe.

From candles flickering in Jewish homes to Christmas trees decorated with lights; from the burning of the Yule log to the lighting of the kinara, winter celebrations such as Hanukkah, Christmas, Yule and Kwanzaa incorporate light into the festivities.

In some countries, people take to the streets in celebration, such as in China, where the winter season is commemorated with lavish street festivals during the Lunar New Year. The Mexican tradition of Las Posadas is also a social event, celebrated with street parties and processions paying homage to Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. Some spiritual observations, like the Buddhist holiday Bodhi Day, are more meditative.

Other winter holidays are celebrated with feasts, such as Santerian saints’ days or Baha’i faith’s spiritual observances. Learn more about worldwide winter observances and celebrations in such articles and online destinations as:


1. All About Kwanzaa

2. All Is Not Calm over Decorations

3. 3 Military Chaplains Reflect on Holidays in the War Zone

4. By Jove! It’s Christmas

5. Myriad Faiths Celebrate Many Special Days


Hanukkah: From the Collections of the National Sound Archives


One thought on “Winter Observances & Celebrations

  1. Pingback: Two types of light | Malcolm Bellamy's Lifelong Learning Blog

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