Winter and Fall Cultural Traditions Around the World

Learn More About Holiday Celebrations Across the Globe!

   Many of us are accustomed to celebrating the American tradition of Christmas during the holidays: decorating the house, purchasing gifts, and, most importantly, celebrating time with family members. However, many different cultures across the world have their own winter and fall traditions instead of Christmas.


  Diwali is a holiday celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and some Buddhists during November. Overall, the holiday represents the triumph of good over evil. Throughout the five days of the holiday, observers decorate their homes with diyas, clay lamps that are arranged in rows and set adrift on rivers, and rangoli, elaborate designs made with rice, flower petals, and colored sand.


Las Posadas

   Las Posadas is a celebration similar to Christmas that is recognized by Central Americans and observed from December 16th to December 24th. The holiday commemorates Mary and Joseph’s search for refuge on the night Jesus was born and involves music, prayer, sweets, and piñatas. During the festival, participants dress in gold robes and take part in processions that are held throughout the city streets. 



  In late February, residents of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia take part in Maslenitsa, a holiday that commemorates the end of winter and start of spring. It also serves as a final opportunity for music, parties, and food before the start of Lent because parties and indulgences are inappropriate during Lent.



   Kwanzaa is a holiday celebrated primarily by African-Americans from December 26-January 1. It is a relatively new holiday and was started in 1966 as a way to celebrate Pan-African culture. Unlike Christmas, it is not centered around religion and instead focuses on generosity, community, and cooperation. Each day of the holiday represents a different value: The first day is unity, the second day self-determination, then collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and, finally, faith.

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