Top Popular Festivals and Important Holidays in December around the World
|Photograph: Sussi Hj/Shutterstock.com|
Special Days in December 2021
December 5 - Krampusnacht
A centuries-old Christmas tradition in Germany and other parts of Europe, Krampusnacht is said to be when the Krampus, a beasty demonic figure and the antithesis of jolly St Nick, arrives in towns to reward good children and take wicked ones away to the underworld. Similar to the concept of the Naughty and Nice List, but way, way darker.
December 10 to 18 - Hanukkah
Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is an important Jewish festival which runs for eight days. The religious holiday is a celebration of Judaism and commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. People celebrate by lighting candles, gifting presents and eating traditional Hanukkah food, such as latkes.
December 13 – Santa Lucia
Santa Lucia or Saint Lucy’s Day is a feast day in the Christian calendar celebrating Saint Lucy, a martyr who is seen as a figure of light in the darkest part of the year. It’s an especially important day in Scandinavia, where the day is marked by atmospheric processions and concerts, featuring
singers clad in white and wearing headdresses featuring actual flickering candles.
December 21 - December Solstice and Yule
The December solstice, known as the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, marks the shortest day and the longest night for half of the world. Yule is the ancient Pagan celebration associated with that moment in midwinter. Many modern traditions like carolling and Yule logs (which used to be an actual log, not a chocolate cake) stem from the ancient 12-day festival.
December 24, 25 – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day
We probably don’t need to tell you about this one, huh? A major celebration in the Christian calendar, Christmas traditionally marks the birth of Jesus. However, plenty of people around the world celebrate Christmas for non-religious reasons too, embracing the commercial side of the holiday: turkey, presents, decorated trees and all. Different countries have developed all kinds of unique ways to celebrate that have very little to do with the holiday’s religious beginnings. In Japan, for example, a trad Christmas dinner consists of KFC.
December 26 - Kwanzaa
First celebrated in California in the 1960s, Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American history and culture, culminating in a communal feast. Festivities typically include dancing, performance and candle-lighting.
December 26 – Boxing Day
Boxing Day takes place on December 26. Only celebrated in a few countries, the holiday originated in the United Kingdom during the Middle Ages. It was the day when the alms box, collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were opened and their content distributed, a tradition that still happens in some areas. It was also the day servants were traditionally given the day off to celebrate Christmas with their families.
Boxing Day has now become a public holiday in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, among other countries. In England, soccer matches and horse races often take place on Boxing Day. The Irish refer to the holiday as St. Stephen’s Day, and they have their own tradition called hunting the wren, in which boys fasten a fake wren to a pole and parade it through town. The Bahamas celebrate Boxing Day with a street parade and festival called Junkanoo.
Ōmisoka – December 31
Ōmisoka, New Year’s Eve, is considered the second-most important day in Japanese tradition as it is the final day of the old year and the eve of New Year’s Day, the most important day of the year. Families gather on Ōmisoka for one last time in the old year to have a bowl of Toshi Koshi-soba or Toshi Koshi-udon, a tradition based on eating the long noodles to cross over from one year to the next.
At midnight, many visit shrines or temples for Hatsumōde. Shinto shrines prepare amazake to pass out to crowds and most Buddhist temples have large cast bells that are struck once for each of the 108 earthly desires believed to cause human suffering.
December 2021 Calendar of United States of America
December 2021 Calendar with Holidays and Celebrations of United States
01 WED World AIDS Day
01 WED National Christmas Lights Day
02 THU International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
02 THU National Mutt Day
03 FRI National Bartender Day
03 FRI International Day of Persons with Disabilities
04 SAT Candle Day
04 SAT Wildlife Conservation Day
05 SUN Day of the Ninja
05 SUN International Volunteer Day
05 SUN National Repeal Day
06 MON St. Nicholas Day
06 MON Last Day of Hanukkah
06 MON National Gazpacho Day
06 MON National Miners Day
07 TUE Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
07 TUE World War II
07 TUE International Civil Aviation Day
07 TUE National Letter Writing Day
08 WED Feast of the Immaculate Conception
08 WED National Brownie Day
09 THU National Llama Day
09 THU International Anti-corruption Day
10 FRI Human Rights Day
10 FRI Dewey Decimal System Day
10 FRI Nobel Prize Day
10 FRI International Animal Rights Day
11 SAT International Mountain Day
11 SAT UNICEF Birthday
12 SUN Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
12 SUN Gingerbread House Day
12 SUN National Poinsettia Day
12 SUN International Day of Neutrality
13 MON National Day of the Horse
13 MON Green Monday
13 MON National Guard Birthday
13 MON National Salesperson Day
13 MON National Violin Day
14 TUE Monkey Day
14 TUE National Free Shipping Day
15 WED International Tea Day
15 WED National Cupcake Day
15 WED Bill of Rights Day
15 WED National Wear Your Pearls Day
16 THU Boston Tea Party
16 THU National Chocolate Covered Anything Day
17 FRI Wright Brothers Day
17 FRI Pan American Aviation Day
17 FRI National Ugly Sweater Day
17 FRI National Maple Syrup Day
17 FRI National Underdog Day
18 SAT National Wreaths Across America Day
18 SAT Answer The Telephone Like Buddy The Elf Day
18 SAT National Twin Day
18 SAT International Migrants Day
19 SUN National Emo Day
20 MON International Human Solidarity Day
21 TUE Winter Solstice
21 TUE National Crossword Puzzle Day
21 TUE National Short Girl Appreciation Day
21 TUE National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day
22 WED National Short Person Day
22 WED National Cookie Exchange Day
23 THU Festivus
23 THU National Roots Day
24 FRI Christmas Eve
25 SAT Christmas Day
26 SUN Kwanzaa
28 TUE National Card Playing Day
28 TUE National Short Film Day
28 TUE Pledge of Allegiance Day
28 TUE National Call a Friend Day
28 TUE National Download Day
29 WED Wounded Knee
29 WED Still Need To Do Day
30 THU National Bacon Day
31 FRI New Year's Eve
31 FRI No Interruptions Day
December Important Festivals Around the World
|Photo: Rad Season|
Al Dhafra Festival – Abu Dhabi
If you are one who loves to dive headfirst into a new culture, the Al Dhafra Festival is just for you. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy commander in chief of the UAE armed forces collaborate to host an epic socially vibrant festival at the edge of the Empty Quarter desert in Dubai. A caravan of camels and hundreds of tribes descend upon the stunning sand dunes of the festival grounds and provide a breathtaking view.The three-week festival includes Saluki dog races, falconry, photography competitions and amazing culinary dishes. Don’t forget to check out the Mazayna: a beauty competition for camels!
Dates: December 2020 / January 2021 – TBA
Location: Madinat Zayed, Al Dhafra Region, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Where to stay: Madinat Zayed
New Year’s Celebration in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
It’s hard to believe that New Year’s in Rio is the second biggest party in the city. However it does make sense after you experience the legendary Carnival that takes place every February / March. Nonetheless, celebrating NYE simply can not get any more epic in this part of Brazil. More than 2.5 million people pack onto Copacabana Beach for the biggest beach party known to mankind. Music and fireworks light up the seaside crowd looking to bring in the new year with positivity and love.Several music stages line the beach for those committed to dancing the night away and plenty of bars and restaurants allow you to get a perfect view of the firework show. Make sure to bring all-white attire to fit right in with the Brazilian New Year’s tradition!
Dates: December 31, 2020
Location: Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Chichibu Night Festival – Japan
If there was one piece of advice for the Chichibu Night Festival, it’s to get there way early! Located just 90 minutes from Tokyo, this massive Japanese party gets packed quick and for good reason. Floats decorated with lanterns, wood carvings and unique musical touches line the streets until they arrive at the city center. Once in place, an incredible firework show commences for a view that is very hard to match.Pop up food stands are placed all around the small town so you can get a true taste of Japanese street food. Don’t forget to pick up a couple bottles of amazake (sweet rice wine) to keep you warm during the frigid December evening.
Dates: December 2 – 3, 2020
Location: Chichibu, Japan
Where to stay: Chichibu
Paris International Fantastic Film Festival – France
Film-heads unite during one of France’s most culturally sound film festivals. True fans of horror, fantasy and everything in between will be able to enjoy a plethora of international blockbusters, local films and foreign-language flicks.All motion pictures will be played at the world-famous Max Linder Panorama theatre. Spectators even get to vote at the end of each screening and will decide which films receive PIFFF awards and prizes.
Dates: December 2020 – TBA
Location: Max Linder Theatre, Paris, France
Where to stay: Paris
Salsa World Championships – United States
Believe it or not, there are about half a dozen world salsa championships that take place around the globe. Make sure to head to the championships if you want to truly see the “Olympics of Salsa.” Negotiations are underway with several cities and venues to announce the next season which will be held in December 2020.Established in 2005 and televised nationally by ESPN the U.S. version of the Salsa World Championships will not disappoint. Not only do you get to enjoy an extravagant competition filled with flare and pizzaz, but attendees also can partake in daily salsa lessons from world-class instructors. Not a bad way to impress your crush!
Dates: December 2 – 6, 2020
Klausjagen, Küssnacht – Switzerland
One of the strangest festivals in December takes place in Küssnacht where locals take to the northern shore of Lake Lucerne and chase down Santa with a cowbell and a bunch of hollering.The medieval pagan practice was meant to scare off evil spirits with noise but has transformed into a Christian festival involving good ol’ St. Nick. The night before, the entire village gathers for a parade wearing candlelit hats. Once Santa appears, nearly 500 people chase him down and give him a beating. Interesting to say the least.
Dates: December 4, 2020
Location: Küssnacht, Switzerland
Where to stay: Küssnacht
Junkanoo Parade – Bahamas
This party is serious. So much so, locals prepare months in advance by fixing their costumes, floats and mastering their dance moves. Thousands of spectators crowd the side of the street and kickoff a massive parade in the Bahamas celebrating the Akan origin.Other spin-off festivals take place around the world, but the true Junkanoo Parade is located in Nassau, New Providence. The celebration brings Garifuna culture to life through choreographed dance to the beat of drums and cowbells. This epic parade is so popular that it’s been featured in James Bond – Thunderball, Jaws the Revenge and Miami Vice!
Dates: December 26, 2020 – January 1, 2021
Location: Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas
Where to stay: Nassau
Snowglobe Music Festival – United States
California is home to a lot of Rad events and things to do. Snowglobe might just top the list for Golden State’s winter festival lineup. Party on to headlining acts from Skrillex, Fisher, Griz and Gigantic Nghtmre. Take in the new year right on Lake Tahoe’s buttery slopes and specialty spiked hot beverages.Don’t miss out on the snowboarding competitions as premiere winter-sport athletes duke it out under the firework-filled sky. Holiday treats come at no shortage from the countless food vendors present.
Dates: December 2020 – TBA
Location: Lake Tahoe, California, USA
Where to stay: Lake Tahoe
Burning of the Clocks – England
Forget the past, look forward to the future and embrace the present. England’s Burning of the Clocks is a unique winter solstice festival with a carnival atmosphere.Those who attend carry their hand-made paper “clock” lanterns throughout the city before burning them on the beach in an enormous bonfire symbolizing the end of the year. Costumes, music and plenty of fireworks will be present in this uncommon but eerily satisfying event in Brighton, England.
Dates: December 21, 2020
Location: Brighton, England
Where to stay: Brighton
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