Today is the first day of December, and to ring in the holiday season, Google is running a series of Doodles celebrating the many holidays happening globally.
Today’s global Google Doodle, notably labeled as being “Day 1” of the “December Holidays” series, features a bird that flies in to decorate the usual Google logo with holiday lights. It’s implied from being “Day 1” that Google may plan to shake up the design as the month progresses.
Every year, Google has a variety of festivities to help you celebrate your favorite year-end holidays, whether you’re celebrants of Christmas, a household for Hanukkah, fine with Festivus, and every tradition in between. This latest Google Doodle, which encourages you to search for the various holidays taking place around the world this December, is a healthy reminder that there are others in the world who celebrate things differently.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at some of the more well-known December holidays happening globally. First up, starting on December 10 this year — traditionally happening on the 25th day of the month of Kislev on the Jewish calendar — Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration of a story of miraculous provision. Each night, another candle is lit on the menorah, and sometimes gifts are exchanged at the same time.
Starting on December 21 and running through January 1, there are many who celebrate Yule, a holiday with over a millennium of history and traditions, much of which formed the basis of what many know today as Christmas traditions. Each year, Yule is set to start on the day of the winter solstice.
Every year, on December 23, fans of the show Seinfeld celebrate Festivus by gathering around an aluminum pole and participating in the “Airing of Grievances.” In a year like 2020, it’s easy to imagine folks have quite a few grievances to air. While Festivus rose to popularity in 1997, it was a tradition in the creator’s family for over 30 years.
For most of the world, Christmas takes place on December 25, serving for Christians as a celebration of Jesus’s birth, while many others take it as an opportunity to give gifts of appreciation to friends and family. Interestingly, in some traditions around the globe, Christmas is not a December holiday, but actually falls on January 6, 7, or even as late as January 19.
On December 26, many people both in America and around the globe celebrate Kwanzaa, a holiday rooted in African heritage. First celebrated in 1966, Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday, with each day highlighting one of the Nguzo Saba — or “seven principles of African Heritage.” Celebrants also mark Kwanzaa with a kinara, a special candelabra with seven candles, one for each day.
Also taking place on December 26, Boxing Day is a long-standing holiday — typically in parts of the globe influenced by England — with two distinct meanings to “boxing.” In one tradition, Boxing Day is the day where churches would open their alms box and give money to the poor. In a more recent tradition, some employers will give their workers a “Christmas box” on Boxing Day to honor their good work of the past year. For most though, Boxing Day is an excuse to visit extended family as well as watch a lot of football.
Lastly, on December 31, we all celebrate New Year’s Eve as the final day of the year and the day after which we can all finally put 2020 behind us. In Japan, this is celebrated as Ōmisoka, with friends and family often gathering for toshikoshi soba — or “year-crossing noodle.”