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Ethnic and Cultural Holidays - Essay Example

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Ethnic and Cultural Holidays

It could be agreed in society that the most cherishing of all the holidays is Christmas and the reason for this is many. Not only is this holiday a celebrated tradition among many different ethnicities but it is a day that represents Christ's birth and for those who follow the Christian faith this is a day that brings joy, love, tears, remembrance, and togetherness. For those of the African culture, Kwanza is the holiday that is symbolic of Christmas. It is very similar to Christmas but it is celebrated on a different day and following a different custom as well. Regardless of how the holidays are celebrated for each culture and ethnic group and regardless of when they are; they are definitely meant to bring comfort to the heart after times of struggle throughout the year. It is indeed what makes each of these very favorable holidays so worthy and worthwhile of celebration.
The word Christmas comes from the old English 'Cristes maesse' meaning Christ's Mass. The Holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Although the actual birthday of Jesus is not known; the early Church Fathers in the 4th century fixed the day around the old Roman Saturnalia festival which is now celebrated on December 25 of every year (History.Com 2006). In Sweden the celebration of Christmas begins quite early and starts with respecting and remembering a Saint known as, "St. Lucia". The celebrating begins December 13 and involves the entire family, bringing a sense of peace and happiness for all who are involved with the festivities during this time. This time of year is worthy to be honored for Swedish people as Saint Lucia was said to have been tortured for following the Christian faith. These days, up until December 26 are days in which all Christians share joy, laughter, faith, love, caring, and understanding among each other in Sweden. They share in their spirituality and celebrate with candles, parades, gifts, and food. However, the main reason for the celebration is to share in the Christian faith and spread the word of God without fear of persecution that existed in the time of Saint Lucia (History.Com 2006).
In Finland the Christmas holiday focuses on remembering those who have already past away while also sharing in each individuals own personal faith. This makes it very well deserved to be celebrated in this country as well, even though the reasoning is different from other cultures. In Norway the holiday is carried out much like it is in America or England, with the traditional tree, fireplace, and religion being shared among all family members. What is different however is this is the origin of the well known "Yule log", a treat that has become widely popular during the Christmas season in all cultures. The Yule log is representative of celebrating the sun returning during winter solstice in the country (History.Com 2006).
What is being found is that the traditions that are well known during the Christmas holidays have all been brought together by different cultures spread all around the world. The tradition of lights and the use of candles during this time of the year came from Sweden. Visiting graves of deceased loved ones first took prose in Finland, and of course the Yule Log (a common favorite among many ...Show more

Summary

For decades now there have been specific holidays set aside for every culture that is commonly known to man kind. These holidays have very special and unique meanings and from a sociological perspective, one that draws on a symbolic type of interpretation, people look upon these days as something of a tradition…
Author : davonteking
Ethnic and Cultural Holidays essay example
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