Move over Christmas, there are other holidays in December

OKEECHOBEE — Although it may seem as if Christmas holds a monopoly on the month of December, there are actually several other occasions and holidays sharing the month. Pearl Harbor Day, Human Rights Day, Hanukkah, Festivus, National Fruit Cake Day and Make Up Your Mind Day are just a few.

National Pearl Harbor Day of Remembrance is observed on Dec. 7 each year and is a day to look back on the events that happened on that day in 1941 when Japan bombed the Hawaiian base, killing more than 2400 people and damaging or destroying hundreds of aircraft. Thousands were injured, and this attack led to the U.S. joining the battle in W.W.II.

Those who observe Pearl Harbor Day normally do so by honoring service members in some way. Many send care packages through local organizations or by unofficially adopting a local family who has a member in the service.

Human Rights Day is celebrated on Dec. 10, and this year marks the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration of Human Rights sets equal value and dignity for all people everywhere. According to the Human Rights Day website, the Declaration of Human Rights has been translated into more than 500 languages.

Hanukkah is probably the second most well known holiday celebrated in December. It is an eight-day festival of lights celebrated by the Jews with a nightly lighting of the menorah, special prayers and food.

Menorah

According to Chabbad.org, Hanukkah came into being during the second century BCE when a small band of Jews, who were faithful to the one true God, was able to defeat a mighty army, who had been trying to force them to accept Greek culture and beliefs. The story continues when this small band of Jews tried to light the menorah at the temple, they found there was only one container of oil uncontaminated by the Greeks, and they were able to use this small amount of oil to keep the menorah lit for eight days. Because of this, they instituted Hanukah as a reminder of this miracle.

On each night of Hanukkah they light one of the nine flames on the menorah. They recite special blessings and sing songs, praising and thanking God for delivering the weak from the hands of the mighty.

Festivus, celebrated on Dec. 23, first came into being after an episode of the Seinfeld show in 1997. It is known for its slogan, “A Festivus for the rest of us.” Those celebrating Festivus normally adorn their home with a bare aluminum pole to illustrate the contrast with the normal materialism going on during the month. The Festivus website explains there is often an airing of grievances so everyone can tell the other what he has done to disappoint the other throughout the year. This is normally followed by a dinner and then a competition of strength when everyone attempts to pin the head of the house.

Festivus is celebrated on Dec. 23.

National Fruitcake Day is celebrated on Dec. 27 each year, and according to trivia.com, this is because most people re-gift their fruitcakes on this day. Punchbowl’s website claims 38 percent of people who receive fruitcakes turn around and give them away after receiving them. They also say ancient Egyptians were buried with fruitcakes to help them on their journeys. That’s one way to ensure you don’t get your gift back.

Make Up Your Mind Day is celebrated annually on Dec. 31, and as the name implies, the point is to make up your mind about things you have been wavering about all year. Just decide already. Make a list of pros and cons, and make up your mind.

Move over Christmas! We love you, but December has a lot more to offer than we thought.

Maybe while we watch those Hallmark movies and wrap our gifts we can observe a few of those other occasions too. Maybe put a Festivus pole on one side of the room and the Christmas tree on the other?

National Fruitcake Day is celebrated on Dec. 27.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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