Religious and Cultural Celebrations Abound in December

Religious and cultural celebrations abound in December. On December 8, Mahãyãna Buddhists observe Bodhi Day, the day on which Buddha attained understanding of the truth of existence, freeing himself from all human suffering and finding perfect happiness; beginning on the 10th, Judaism celebrates Hanukkah, a festival that marks the liberation of the Jews from the Syrian Greeks. The festival’s traditions are based on the story that when the Jews returned to cleanse their temple, the ritual oil for burning was expected to last only one day, but miraculously lasted for eight instead; for much of the month, Christianity observes Advent and Christmas; and starting on the 26th, many African Americans join in Kwanzaa festivities rooted in five key values: ingathering, reverence, commemoration, recommitment, and celebration.