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Celebrations in December look different for various religions and cultures. However, the holidays often have the goal of bringing people together to enjoy traditions and food. While celebrating with loved ones, also keep in mind the people who are struck by grief and sadness this year. 


Heri za Kwanzaa (Happy Kwanzaa). From December 26 to January 1, Kwanzaa joins African and African American people together to celebrate family, community and culture. During the holiday, The Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba), Unity (Umoja), Self-Determination (Kujichagulia), Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima), Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa), Purpose (Nia), Creativity (Kuumba) and Faith (Imani) are recognized. Over the seven days people celebrate with food, music, stories and poetry. January 1 is dedicated to the reflection and recommitment to The Seven Principles. Kwanzaa helps restore the roots of African culture and serves as a bonding time between people.

Explore this website to learn more about Kwanzaa. 


Hanukkah, or Chanukah, brings light and warmth into a home during the darkest and coolest time of the year. The Jewish holiday begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month Kislev, in 2022 it runs from Dec. 18-Dec. 26. Hanukkah commemorates the victory of a small Jewish army, known as the Maccabees, over their Greek-Syrian oppressors. After reclaiming the land, they went to light the Temple’s Menorah, the seven-branched candelabrum but only a one-day supply of oil was left. Stunningly, the oil lasted for eight days. These eight days are celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, prayer and food.

How to light the menorah.

Hanukkah Recipes.

Los Posadas

This year from Dec. 16-Dec. 24 Las Posadas, meaning ‘The Inns’ in English, will be celebrated. The religious festival is typically held in Mexico but celebrated in parts of the U.S. The holiday marks the time Mary and Joseph spent traveling form Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of an inn for Mary to give birth to baby Jesus. Over the nine nights, symbolizing the nine months Mary was pregnant, neighbors and family gather for a procession to sing carols at people’s doors and ask for lodging. When they reach the right person’s door, they are let in to enjoy a feast and break a star-shaped piñata. This continues each evening with a different house as the chosen Posadas. This tradition has been taking place in Mexico for hundreds of years.

Watch this video about Los Posadas traditions. 


The Christian holiday Christmas is celebrated every year on Dec. 25 to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s son. Many people exchange gifts, decorate Christmas trees, go to church and enjoy a feast with family and friends. The name Christmas comes from the Mass of Christ or Jesus. Christmas Day has been a federal holiday since 1870. Christmas is a religious and cultural celebration which is recognized all around the world.

How Christmas traditions like trees and Santa Claus came from.

How Christmas is celebrated around the world

Managing Mental Health During the Holidays

It’s time for the holidays. However, for many people the feelings of grief and sadness can overpower the happy and togetherness feelings. Often, the trees, candles or lights are reminders of lost loved ones who are no longer here to celebrate. According to a National Alliance on Mental Illness survey, 3 in 5 Americans feel their mental health is negativity impacted this time of year. Understanding how to combat these negative feelings is important and looks different for everyone. Speaking to family and loved ones about your plans for the holidays can help set expectations. Other good practices including keeping up with self-care, connecting with others who are grieving through a support group and sharing fond memories of your lost loved ones during family gatherings.

Steps to prioritize mental health from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Durham women turns trauma into healing others.