There are plenty of meaningful and important events and holidays happening this month — some of which you've heard of, and some of which might be new to you.
Here are eight special holidays and events that your family can celebrate or learn more about in December:
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The eight-day Jewish celebration, often called the Festival of Lights, is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games, and gifts. It was early this year and started in November, but wraps up Dec. 6, so there's still plenty of time to celebrate. We love these amazing sweet potato latkes. Nov. 28 - Dec. 6
Rosa Parks Day
Rosa Parks Day, marked in just a few states, recognizes the day Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus. That bus, pictured above, is now housed at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, giving visitors a chance to sit in the very place Rosa Parks sat during that defining moment of the Civil Rights Movement. Dec. 1.
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International Day of Persons with Disabilities
With 1 billion people living with disabilities worldwide, the United Nations says, "the commitment to realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is not only a matter of justice; it is an investment in a common future." The United Nations is spending this International Day of Persons with Disabilities raising awareness that people with disabilities are one of the hardest hit by COVID in terms of fatalities. "The global crisis of COVID-19 is deepening pre-existing inequalities, exposing the extent of exclusion and highlighting that work on disability inclusion is imperative," the UN says. Read more here. Dec. 3
Las Posadas, which translates to "The Inns" in Spanish is a religious festival that is a traditional and important part of the Christmas festivities in Mexico and parts of Latin America and in Hispanic communities in the United States. While it originated in the church, the custom has now spread to family homes. Las Posadas is often organized by neighborhood committees, with a different host family each night. Visitors, who ask for lodging for Joseph and Mary, bring food, candy, and star-shaped piñatas to celebrate. At each stop, passages of scripture are read and Christmas carols sung. Dec. 16-24
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Need to explain the winter solstice to your kids? This is the day that has the shortest period of daylight of the year. In 2021 the winter solstice falls at exactly 10:59 a.m. EST. Dec. 21.
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This holiday began as the Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus and has become a cultural and commercial holiday as well. Traditions range from religious to secular and include gift exchanges, decorated Christmas trees and light displays, church services, visits with Santa, and meals with family and friends. Dec. 25.
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This annual celebration was started in the U.S. as a way to honor African heritage in African-American culture. Kwanzaa has seven core principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Dec. 26-Jan. 1.
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New Year's Eve
Happy New Year! Have littles who won't be able to stay up until midnight? Celebrate with your own Noon Year's Eve celebration — they don't need to know it's a few hours early! Dec. 31.