Beverly Hills Carmel   8757 Burton Way  Los Angeles,CA90048   (310) 278-8323
Beverly Hills Carmel
8757 Burton Way
Los AngelesCA 90048
 (310) 278-8323

Different Holiday Celebrations Share a Focus on Family

Different Holiday Celebrations Share a Focus on Family

Most people associate the end of the year with celebrations. No matter if you are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Winter Solace or a different holiday, everyone looks forward to this festive season. Whether you plan to celebrate the holidays as a family or with your close friends, each holiday has its unique traditions which makes it special. 

The Traditions of Three Winter Holidays

Hanukkah, or The Festival of Lights, celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple. In remembrance of the miracle of a one-day supply of oil that lasted for eight days, Jews celebrate by lighting a menorah, a candelabra with nine candle holders, each evening during the eight-day festival. On the first night of Hanukkah, one candle is lit using the shamash, or helper candle. On the second night, two candles are lit, and it continues until the eighth night when eight candles are lit. Besides lighting the menorah, Hanukkah has other traditions which have sprung up around it:

  • Eating fried food. Many Jewish people celebrate by eating food fried in oil; Latkes, potato pancakes fried in fat, and sufganiyot, or doughnuts, are popular. 
  • Playing dreidel. A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top gambling game. People, mostly children, play the game for money, or chocolate coins covered with gold-colored foil. 
  • Gift giving. Each night after lighting the menorah, children receive a small present.

In remembrance of the miracle of a one-day supply of oil that lasted for eight days, Jews celebrate by lighting a menorah, a candelabra with nine candle holders, each evening during the eight-day festival. On the first night of Hanukkah, one candle is lit using the shamash, or helper candle. On the second night, two candles are lit, and it continues until the eighth night when eight candles are lit.

Christmas is a holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ in Nazareth according to the New Testament. In most countries, Christians celebrate Christmas Day which is always on Dec. 25 and Christmas Eve. But in some cultures, the Christmas season lasts longer. Regardless, there are a lot of traditions to pack into the festival:

  • A Christmas tree. This is the most recognized symbol of Christmas. The tradition of decorating a tree dates back to the Roman times, and the Christmas tradition is an adaption of this Pagan ritual. For most Christians, putting up and decorating a tree is the official start of the holiday. 
  • Christmas caroling. Although the popularity of singing Christmas songs, or carols, as a group in front of neighbors homes is waning, it still is part of the ideal Christmas
  • Kissing under the mistletoe. Mistletoe is a plant which was a popular decoration for Druids. But over time it has become a well-loved tradition to kiss anyone who is standing under a bough of Mistletoe. 

Winter Solstice, or Yule, takes place around Dec. 21 in the Northern hemisphere and June 21 in the Southern hemisphere. It is the longest night of the year and a time of celebration for Pagans. There are many ways to celebrate the Winter Solstice, but some Pagans include:

  • Lighting the Yule log. While many people associate the Yule log with Christmas, it started as part of the traditional Winter Solstice celebration. 
  • Welcoming back the sun. Pagans celebrate the increasing day length after the Winter Solstice by holding a ceremony to welcome back the sun. 

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No matter how you choose to celebrate the season, the people you celebrate with make the difference. We at Beverly Hills Carmel, an assisted living residence, understand that. We take extra effort to make sure each resident enjoys the season. Call us at 310-278-9720 to schedule a tour.