Festivus is a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as a way to commemorate the holiday season without participating in its pressures and commercialism. Festivus became part of worldwide popular culture after being featured on an episode of the American TV show Seinfeld in 1997.
Festivus was conceived by writer Dan O'Keefe and was celebrated by his family as early as 1966. The holiday was later introduced into popular culture by O'Keefe's screenwriter son Daniel on an episode of Seinfeld. The holiday's celebration, as it was shown on Seinfeld, included an unadorned aluminum "Festivus pole", practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength", and the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles".
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The Emperor's Birthday (天皇誕生日 Tennō tanjōbi ) is a national holiday in the Japanese calendar. It is currently celebrated on 23 December. The date is determined by the reigning Emperor's birthdate.Emperor Akihito was born on this date in 1933.
During the reign of Hirohito (Showa period, 1926–1989), the Emperor's birthday was observed on 29 April. That date remained a public holiday, posthumously renamed Greenery Day in 1989 and Showa Day in 2007.
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HumanLight is a Humanist holiday celebrated on December 23. Like Kwanzaa, HumanLight is a modern invention, created to provide a specifically Humanist celebration near Christmas and the Western Hemisphere's winter solstice. It was established by the New Jersey Humanist Network in 2001.
Humanists have cast HumanLight as a celebration of "a Humanist's vision of a good future." They celebrate a positive approach to the coming new year, generally through the lens of Humanist (and particularly secular humanist) philosophy—secular as opposed to religious. The December 23 date allows HumanLight to connect itself to the December holiday season without interfering with other winter holidays which many Humanists may also celebrate.
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Saturnalia was an ancient Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn originally held December 17 and later expanded with unofficial festivities through December 23. The holiday was celebrated with a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum and a public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and a carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves. The poet Catullus called it "the best of days."
In Roman mythology, Saturn was an agricultural deity who reigned over the world in the Golden Age, when humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labor in a state of social egalitarianism. The revelries of Saturnalia were supposed to reflect the conditions of the lost mythical age, not all of them desirable. The Greek equivalent was the Kronia.
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In Judaism, the New Moon ushers in a new month
Rosh Chodesh or Rosh ḥodesh (Hebrew: ראש חודש; trans. Beginning of the Month; lit. Head of the Month) is the name for the first day of every month in the Hebrew calendar, marked by the appearance of the new moon. The new moon is marked by the day and hour that the new crescent is observed. It is considered a minor holiday, akin to the intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot.
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Hanukkah (Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, usually spelled חנוכה pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew, also romanized as Chanukah, Chanukkah, or Chanuka), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.
The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical Menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch. The extra light is called a shamash (Hebrew: שמש, "attendant" or "sexton") and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the shamash is to have a light available for use, as using the Hanukkah lights themselves is forbidden.
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The Nativity Fast is a period of abstinence and penance practiced by the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches, in preparation for the Nativity of Christ, (December 25). The fast is similar to the Western Advent, except that it runs for 40 days instead of four weeks. The fast is observed from November 15 to December 24, inclusively. These dates apply to those Orthodox Churches which use the Revised Julian calendar, which is identical to the Gregorian calendar. For those national Churches which still follow the Julian calendar (Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem), the Winter Lent does not begin until November 28 (Gregorian) which coincides with November 15 on the Julian calendar.
Sometimes the fast is called Philip's Fast (or the Philippian Fast), as it traditionally begins on the day following the Feast of St. Philip the Apostle (November 14). Some churches have abbreviated the fast to start on December 10, following the Feast of the Conception by Saint Anne of the Most Holy Theotokos.
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Las Posadas is a nine-day celebration with origins in Spain, now celebrated chiefly in Mexico, Guatemala and parts of the Southwestern United States, beginning December 16th and ending December 24th, on evenings (about 8 or 10 PM).
(... from Wikipedia on 2012-04-18 03:03:40)