Religious diversity brings awareness to the significant differences in religious belief and practice. In searching for a richer and deeper understanding of diverse cultures, one must embrace religious tolerance, understanding, acceptance and a willingness to move beyond our differences.
- Kwanzaa is an annual African American and pan-African holiday that takes place from December 26 until January 1.
- Dr. Maulana Karenga introduced the festival in 1966 to the United States.
- For seven days, those celebrating Kwanzaa will focus and reflect on the Seven Principles which are unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani).
- On the last day of Kwanzaa, families often gather for a large feast called karamu.
- The first U.S. postage stamp commemorating Kwanzaa was issued in 1997.
- A candle in a candleholder called a Kinara is lighted every day during the festivities of Kwanzaa. The kinara holds seven candles, one black, three red and three green, which represent the people, the struggle, and the future.
- While Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the actual date is unknown. There's no mention of December 25 in the Bible, and many historians say Jesus was most likely born in the spring.
- Many Christmas traditions come from Pagan customs, including gift giving and tree decorating.
- In the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations were boisterous, loud, raucous parties.
- Other names for Santa Claus around the world include Père Noël (France), “Vader Kersfees” (South Africa), and “Dun Che Lao Ren” (China).
- At one time, Christmas was illegal! Puritans renounced Christmas, from 1659 to 1682, and it was considered a crime to celebrate.
- In 1914, during World War I, there was a now famous Christmas truce in the trenches on the western front. Shrouded in rumors, some claim there was even a soccer match played between British and German soldiers, although there is little evidence of this event.
- Hanukkah, which means dedication, celebrates a successful revolt over 2,000 years ago. The Jewish people revolted against Greek Syrian rulers and drove them out of Jerusalem.
- Hanukkah is celebrated over eight days, which commemorates the small amount of oil that should have lasted one day but instead burned for eight.
- Hanukkah can be spelled a myriad of ways, including Chanukah, Hanukah, and Hanukah. There are twenty-four ways to spell it, according to the Oxford Dictionary.
- Jewish holy days always begin and end at sundown.
- A candle in a candelabra, which is known as a Hanukkah Menorah, is lighted every evening after sundown.
- Harry Truman was the first president to celebrate Hanukkah at the White House.
Religious Holiday Events
Religious Holidays Around the World Featuring Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Hannukah
Date: Thursday, December 1
Time: 12:15 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Location: Lobby outside the Precision Custom Components (PCC) Community Room, Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center (The Ruhl Center)
Organized by: The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
Please join the Penn State York Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee to celebrate religious holidays around the world featuring a few in December. Posters highlighting facts about Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Hannukah will be on display. Learn more about these celebrations and enjoy time with faculty, staff, and students as well as refreshments.