Happy Festive Season 2011!
The festive season has arrived and staff and service users across the country are looking forward to coming together to celebrate! Creative Support is holding regional parties for our service users throughout December. If you have not had details of the party for your area, ask your support staff for more information.
As well as the Creative Support parties, people across our services will be enjoying the following seasonal celebrations:
December 20th – 28th is Hanukkah or Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. It dates back to two centuries before the beginning of Christianity. In the western calendar Hanukkah is celebrated in November or December. The word Hanukkah means rededication and celebrates one of the greatest miracles in Jewish history, the victory of the Jews over the Syrian Greeks, and is celebrated by lighting a hanukkiah, or menorah, for eight days, eating latkes (potato pancakes), and playing dreidel (a game played with a spinning top).
The Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, is celebrated on the 21st of December. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day, and longest night of the year, and is the traditional time to celebrate the truly important things in life: your family, your children, your home and looking forward to a wonderful year to come. Yule is a time that honours love and new birth. Just as Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, Yule celebrates the birth of the Sun God – child of the Goddess in the Pagan belief system. Many people associate the Winter Solstice, or winter itself with death, as it is the season in which nature is dormant, and in which many plants die off and crops are scarce. But as the Winter Solstice is the longest night, (boasting more than 12 hours of darkness), it is also the turning point of the year, from this point on the sun grows stronger in the sky and the days become gradually longer once more. Thus the Winter Solstice is also a celebration of rebirth.
Christmas or Christ’s Mass is one of the most popular Christian celebrations as well as one of the most globally recognized mid-winter celebrations in the Northern hemisphere. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The birth is observed on December 25th, which was the Roman winter solstice. Universal activities include feasting, Midnight Masses and singing Christmas carols. It is also well known for the encouragement of good deeds and the giving of gifts, in the tradition of St. Nicholas or Santa Claus. Many observe the holiday for twelve days leading up to the Epiphany on January 6 which celebrates the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus.
December 26th is Boxing Day. In the UK, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect ‘Christmas boxes’ of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This custom is linked to an older English tradition where, in exchange for ensuring that wealthy landowners’ Christmases ran smoothly, their servants were allowed to take the 26th off to visit their families. The employers gave each servant a box containing gifts and bonuses (and sometimes leftover food).
December 31st is New Year’s Eve, known as Hogmanay in Scotland, where the name derives from the old Scots name for Yule gifts of the Middle Ages.