“Snow-covered mountains, frozen lakes, icy waterfalls, warm beaches, vivid sunset, a blazing fireplace, sparkling snowmen”, these few words are enough to portray a live picture of winters in front of our eyes. The winter period is like a real fairy tale period. Winter provides a chance to feel the warmth of relations by giving us an opportunity of spending some home time. As a result, Winter holidays become an integral part of the winter season. Winters make us appreciate the true beauty of nature.
In this article let’s talk more about the winter holidays
- Basic description of winters
The Winter holidays typically lasts for about three months beginning from late November and going till late January with variations. In some areas, the temperature reaches 22 degrees Celsius and in some places, the temperature won’t rise above minus 5 degrees.
What makes Winter Holidays special?
As soon as the winter season begins,people start eagerly waiting for Winter Holidays. The following are some of the reasons which make winter holidays special:-
- Winter holidays provide a perfect time for gathering together with family and friends and enjoying each other’s company to the fullest.
- A great deal of shopping can be done during this beautiful time
- It’s a true season for exchanging gifts and showing a gesture of love.
- Winter Holidays provide a chance to enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, from skiing and snowboarding to hiking and snow tubing.
- During the Winter Holidays, one can enjoy the beautiful light decorations which amplify the scenic beauty of winter
- Winter festivals – An Integral Part of the Winter Holidays.
The atmosphere during the winter season is very vibrant and colorful. Everywhere there are happy faces and people go on the holiday spirit. The winter holidays bring happiness with them in the form of winter festivals. Understanding and celebrating the different festivals during winter holidays is an excellent way to know in-depth about culture.
The various cultural festivals celebrated during winters are:-
Significance of Halloween
Halloween is one of the important festivals celebrated in the United States. Every year it falls on October 31st. It is believed that the spirits of the dead used to come back and harm the people. Therefore people started performing certain practices to scare away the harmful spirits. And this eventually leads to the emergence of Halloween as a festival.
How the celebrations occur
- Celebrating Halloween paves a great way to bring out the inner child in us during the winter holidays.
- The kids as well as the adults dress up with different costumes, mostly scary but nowadays costumes of superheroes, prince, and princess, popular celebrities also prevail.
- ”Trick or treat” has become an important tradition of this festival, in which the children after dressing up with different costumes go from house to house and knock on the doors. They ask for different types of threats by saying trick or treat. Accordingly, if no treat is given, they can click play a trick on the homeowner.
- People also watch horror movies and even visit the haunted house as a part of this festival’s celebration.
- They exchange beautifully decorated greeting cards.
- There are various masquerade parties in which the young and old enthusiastically participate.
- Carving pumpkins into jack-o-lantern has also become a part of this celebration. Jack-o-lantern is placed in front of the houses to scare evil spirits and welcome children.
Significance of ThanksGIving
- Thanksgiving Day is observed on the 4th Thursday of November every year. Thanksgiving in simple terms refers to give thanks. On this day people give thanks to God for their autumn harvest and every other success they have achieved this year. Thanksgiving Day provides an opportunity to express gratitude for the abundance in our lives. It can be good relationships with our friends, our families, our opportunities, our health. The holiday holds a very special and deep sense of gratitude. This day is a reminder to appreciate all the happiness and beautiful things of life.
How the celebrations occur
1.People exchange gifts and thanksgiving messages with loved ones.
2.Family get-togethers and feasting are a common part of this celebration.
3.Preparing special dinners and food items make the moments very special. The food items include pies, cookies, cranberry sauce, hot chocolates, plum pudding, and pumpkin pie.
4.People watch football and enjoying thanksgiving games such as scavenger hunt.
Significance of Black Friday
Black Friday is a commercial winter holiday. It is celebrated after Thanksgiving Day. The reason behind the name-“Black Friday” is explained by two theories-
According to one theory, this day is called Black Friday because on this day the shopkeepers and retailers finally start making a profit that is, they hit the black. It is believed that earlier people used to write their profits in black and their losses in red. After suffering losses throughout the year, people started making profits on the day following Thanksgiving day because of the increase in sales of different kinds of stuff.
The other theory states that the police officers were the first to name this day as a black day. They were not given any holiday and instead they had to work for more hours because of the chaos created by Thanksgiving day. The policemen had to deal with extra crowds, traffic jams, shoplifting, silly fights among people, and therefore this day turned out to be negative for them.
How celebrations occur:
- Shopping is the main event of this day.
- People stand in long queues to avail of the different discounts offered by shopkeepers on a variety of things.
- Many employees are given a day off, so they spend time with family and friends.
- This day indicates the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
Christmas Eve refers to the evening before Christmas. It falls on December 24, which is the day before Christmas Day. On this day people remember the events around the birth of Jesus Christ. It holds a special place as it is believed that Jesus Christ was born at midnight on 25th December.
How the celebrations occur
1.People attend the midnight mass church services.
2.There are presentations of scenes that depict the holy family of Jesus Christ and the different events which occurred during the birth of Jesus Christ.
3. Many families hang up stockings on the fireplace or near the end of the bed with the belief that Santa Claus will fill these stockings with gifts.
4.Churches are decorated and Christmas carols are sung.
On 25th December Christmas is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. The name Christmas comes from the Mass of Christ.
How celebrations occur:
1.People form a group and sing Christmas carols going home to home
2.Every corner of the house is decorated beautifully.
3.Magnificently decorated Christmas tree adds to the charm of the house.
4.Meeting and giving time to family members give a joyful and warm feeling.
5.Special Christmas meals are prepared and people dine together with family and friends. Christmas cakes are a must in dinner
6.Streets are decorated with glittering lights.
7.Exchanging Christmas gifts and Christmas cards are also a part of the celebration.
8. Some people volunteer to serve the meals to poor
New year Day
The winter holiday season concludes with the new year’s celebration. New year’s day is the first day of the modern Gregorian calendar. The significance of the new year lies in the fact that it brings new hopes, new dreams, new possibilities in our life. The festivities begin from New Year’s Eve and continue to New Year’s Day.
How celebrations occur:-
1.New year celebrations provide a very good opportunity to spend time with loved ones.
2. People wear the finest clothes and attend parties.
3. The young and old everyone sing and dance together.
4. Beautiful sparkling fireworks are the center of attraction.
5.People make new resolutions like giving up on bad habits, inculcating positive habits for a new beginning.
6.One of the main focus of attractions is -the ball drop in the times square in Manhattan in New York city – a crystal and electric ball are placed on top of a very high pole, just one minute before the midnight on 31st December the ball is lowered and it reaches the ground at exactly midnight. This event holds a very special place in everyone’s heart and people watch it with so a lot of enthusiasm.
Hanukkah is also known as the festival of lights in Jewish communities. It is an 8- day Jewish celebration. It falls in late November to late December ( varying from year to year). It is celebrated to celebrate the victory of a clan of Jewish freedom fighters known as – Maccabees over Syrian soldiers
. After a lot of struggle, the Maccabees recaptured the temple from their oppressors. When they prepared the temple for rededication, a miracle occurred which led to the traditions of the Hanukkah festival. It is believed that in the temple there was only enough purified oil to kindle the temple light for a single day but miraculously the light continued to burn for eight days.
How celebrations occur:
- The lighting of the menorah is the most important part and tradition of this festival -the menorah is a candle stand with 9 branches. Eight out of the nine candles are usually of the same height and the middle one is taller which is used to light the other candles. People lit one candle I on the first day, two on the second day and it continues till the eighth day and seeks special blessings from the almighty.
2.Gift – exchanging is also quite popular during this time.
3. In honor of the oil miracle that happened, people celebrate this special by eating oily foods latkes (potato pancakes), sufganiyot(jelly-filled doughnuts).
4.Playing with a four-sided spinning toy called- dreidel is very common among kids.
5.People decorate their houses and sing Hanukkah songs together.
Other different winter holidays
Apart from cultural festivals, there are various special events which can be enjoyed during the winter holidays. Few of the winter events are:
- St. Paul winter carnival
- The Saranac lake winter festival
- Dartmouth winter carnival
- International snow sculpture championship
- Winter fest
- Stowe winter carnival
- Whitefish winter carnival
During the winter holidays, everyone is in high spirits. This period provides a reason to reflect, rejoice, and reach to the needy. The various winter festivals celebrated during this time reflect a sense of interconnectedness among people. From taking a break from the busy schedule to enjoying the company of family and friends, winter holidays present a perfect time for relaxation and enjoyment.
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