The holiday season is upon us and many people are making plans and setting the stage for the festivities to come. While Christmas celebrations are often the first to come to mind, there are millions of Americans who celebrate the season in other ways. We would like to wish all of our clients, friends and colleagues a joyous holiday by sharing a few of the many traditions celebrated at this time of year.
To our Jewish friends, we wish you a Happy Hanukkah, also known as the festival of lights. This holiday celebrates the victory of the Jews over the invading Syrians in 165 B.C. Following the victory, the sons of the priests who led the revolt rededicated the Temple that was defiled by the Syrian invaders. They discovered that they only had enough oil to light the lamps for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted for all 8 days.
To our Christian friends, we wish you a Merry Christmas. Interestingly, the early Americans were of Puritan decent and did not celebrate Christmas. In fact, after the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. Congress was even in session on December 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America’s new constitution. Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.
To our Buddhist friends, we wish you a thoughtful Bodhi Day celebration, also known as the day Buddha achieved enlightenment in 596 BC. Bodhi Day is traditionally the 8th day of the 12 lunar month. After six years of seeking enlightenment, Buddha found a Peepul tree, fasted and meditated under this tree for a week, and on the morning of the eighth day came to several realizations which were to become the basis of The Noble Eightfold Path and Four Noble Truths.
To our Iranian friends, we wish you a happy Shabe-Yalda, also known as the birthday of the sun. Shabe-Yalda is celebrated on the longest night of the year, or the eve of winter solstice, to commemorate the birth of the Persian god of light and truth. On this day, celebrants are encouraged to stay up all night to witness the turning point to longer days, eating the last fresh fruit from the summer crop.
To our Islamic friends, we hope you had a meaningful Eid Al-Fitr after your observance of Ramadan. Eid Al-Fitr is a three day holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, a 30 day dawn to dusk fasting ritual performed during the month of Ramadan for spiritual renewal.