December Inclusive Recognition

Community Engagement and Belonging

December Monthly Inclusive Recognitions

December is a month of celebration around the world! With so many different holidays and traditions, it can be hard to know where to start. As of November 24, 2022, 6 billion people around the globe celebrate holidays in December, making it the most popular month for holidays. December is often seen as the last month of the year, but that’s true only of the western Gregorian calendar. Chinese, Islamic, Jewish and other calendars define the first and last month differently. Nevertheless, December includes important holidays and events among many religions and among other traditions and social issues.

12/1 – World AIDS Day: helps raise awareness of HIV/AIDs and money to cure it

12/3 – International Day of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations): raises awareness for the rights and well-being of those with disabilities

12/10 – International Human Rights Day (United Nations): adopted by the UN in 1948, celebrates the day it the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

12/16-12/24 – Las Posadas (Mexican): religious festival in Mexico and some parts of the U.S. (primarily those with Mexican-Americans) of the Christmas season

12/18-12/26 – Hanukkah (Jewish): celebrates the Jews triumphing over the Syrian Greeks for their independence

12/21 – Winter Solstice/Yule: the winter sabbat according to the Pagan and Wiccan faiths

12/25 – Christmas (Christian): holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ

12/26 – Kwanzaa (Black): 8-day holiday inspired by African harvest celebrations

We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams. -Jimmy Carter

International Human Right's Day

International Human Right's Day

Human Rights Day is a special day that celebrates the fundamental human rights that every person is entitled to. It’s observed every year on December 10th and is a time to reflect on the progress that has been made in protecting human rights around the world. It is also a time to recommit to making sure that all people are treated with dignity and respect. Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All

This year's Human Rights Day slogan is “Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All” and the call to action is #StandUp4HumanRights.

Merry Christmas in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) is “Minobii Niibaa Anama’e Giizhiigad,” which is loosely translated to “Merry Nighttime Prayer Day."

Las Posadas

Las Posadas is a December holiday celebrated in Mexico and many other Latin American countries. It commemorates the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.

International Human Solidarity Day

International Human Solidarity Day is a global holiday on December 20 that celebrates the idea of human brotherhood and cooperation. It was created by the United Nations in 2007 and is celebrated every year on December 20th. The goal of this holiday is to promote peace, understanding, and cooperation between all people. This day is also used to raise awareness about global issues such as poverty, hunger, and disease.

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Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is celebrated for eight days and nights, usually beginning on the 25th of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar.

Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah or Chanukkah) is a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight nights and usually occurs in December. It is also known as the Festival of Lights.

Hanukkah celebrates a military victory of the Jews over foreign rulers. The Seleucid kingdom from neighboring Syria took control of Jerusalem in about 198 bce. Some 30 years later the ruler Antiochus tried to force the Jews to give up their religious practices. When he also took over their Temple they rose up against him. The leader of the rebellion was named Judas Maccabeus. He soon defeated the Seleucids. The Jews then cleaned, rebuilt, and rededicated the Temple in 164 bce.

According to tradition, the Jews found only one small jar of lamp oil when they entered the Temple, enough for just one night. With the oil, they relit the Temple’s lamps. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight nights until more oil was obtained.

To celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah people light candles on a branched candlestick called a menorah. They start with one candle and add a new candle each night. In addition to the lighting of the candles, gifts are exchanged and children play holiday games during Hanukkah.

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Eid al-Fitr

The religious festival Eid al-Fitr, or the “Festival of Breaking the Fast,” is one of two major holidays celebrated by Muslims around the world. In the United States, Eid al-Fitr 2022 begins on the evening of Sunday, May 1 and ends on the evening of Monday, May 2.

Also known as the “Lesser Eid,” Eid al-Fitr commemorates the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. An occasion for special prayers, family visits, gift-giving and charity, it takes place over one to three days, beginning on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month in the Islamic calendar.


During the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, nearly all Muslims are required to fast from sunrise to sundown and abstain from smoking, drinking (including water) and sexual activity during the daylight hours. Ramadan is the month in which the Prophet Muhammad received the teachings of the Quran, the Islamic holy book, as a guide for mankind and a means for judging between right and wrong. Fasting during Ramadan, known as Sawm, is one of the five pillars, the basic principles that are essential to the Islamic faith.

Because of the lunar calendar, Ramadan and the other months fall in different seasons depending on the year. Over the course of their lives, Muslims around the world have the opportunity to experience fasting during long summer days, short winter days and everything in between.

As in a pilgrimage, fasting during Ramadan takes people out of their normal lifestyles and requires them to engage in solemn contemplation and examination. Experiencing hunger and thirst is supposed to heighten people's awareness of the sufferings of the poor, and gain a greater appreciation for what they have.



Kwanzaa is a winter holiday that celebrates African-American heritage. It was founded in 1966. The name Kwanzaa comes from the words matunda ya kwanza, which means “first fruit” in Swahili, referring to the first crops of the harvest. In Africa, the first fruit festivals are celebrated in accordance with the summer solstice (winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere). Although many people might consider Kwanzaa as an alternative to Christmas, Maulana Karenga, its founder, believed that Kwanzaa is not created with the purpose to give black people their own religious holiday as an alternative to Christmas, which is why many African-American families celebrate Kwanzaa in addition to Christmas. The holiday lasts for one week (December 26th – January 1st) and culminates on the sixth night when a communal feast called Karamu is celebrated. During the whole week, families observe Kwanzaa by gathering, sharing gifts, and lighting candles in honor of their ancestors and their hopes for the future. Maulana Karenga defined the seven principles of Kwanzaa, calling them “Nguzo Saba” (the seven principles of African heritage). Together, the seven principles make up Kawaida (meaning tradition). Each of the seven days during Kwanzaa celebrations symbolically represents one of the seven principles on which the holiday builds. These principles are:

  • Umoja (Unity).

  • Kujichagulia (Self-determination).

  • Ujima (Collective work and responsibility).

  • Ujamaa (Cooperative economics).

  • Nia (Purpose).

  • Kuumba (Creativity).

  • Imani (Faith).

Kwanzaa is also distinguished by seven symbols including:

  • Makka (mat), a traditional straw or woven textile. It represents the base or the foundation on which the other symbols are placed.

  • Kinara (candle holder) holds seven candles.

  • Mishumaa Saba (the seven candles).

  • Mazao (crops).

  • Mahindi (corn).

  • Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup).

  • Zawadi (gifts).


Christmas is a holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated by Christians all around the world and is considered one of the most important holidays of the year. Christmas celebrates the day that Jesus Christ was born to Joseph and Mary in the city of Bethlehem.

Merry Christmas in Different Languages

  • Arabic: Milad Majid

  • Chinese: (Cantonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun

  • Chinese (Mandarin): Sheng Dan Kuai Le

  • Croatian: Sretan Bozic

  • Danish: Glædelig Jul

  • French: Joyeux Noel

  • German: Fröhliche Weihnachten

  • Greek: Kala Christouyenna

  • Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka

  • Italian: Buone Feste Natalizie

  • Japanese: Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto

  • Korean: Sung Tan Chuk Ha

  • Portuguese: Feliz Natal

  • Swedish: God Jul

  • Spanish: Feliz Navidad

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More Inclusive Holiday Books

Winter Solstice/Yule

The winter solstice is a holiday that celebrates the shortest day of the year. It is observed on December 21st in most countries, but some celebrate it on other dates. The word “solstice” means “sun stands still,” and this name reflects the that on the winter solstice, the sun appears to stand still in the sky. After the winter solstice, the days begin to get longer again.

Yule is a winter holiday that celebrates the rebirth of the sun. It is celebrated by many different people around the world, including Pagans, Wiccans, and Druids. Yule usually takes place in late December or early January and is often marked by special celebrations, gift-giving, and family gatherings.

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Diwali is the Indian “festival of lights”—a holiday that celebrates the triumph of good over evil. This year, Diwali will be celebrated on October 24. Though technically religious, it’s also become a cultural event in North America that’s celebrated with sweets and special foods. Learn about Diwali, when it occurs, and common traditions!Diwali (also called Divali or Deepavali) is a “festival of lights” that celebrates the triumph of light over dark and good over evil, and the blessings of victory, freedom, and enlightenment. The name comes from Sanksrit dipavali, meaning “row of lights.” On the night of Diwali, celebrants light dozens of candles and clay lamps (called diyas), placing them throughout their homes and in the streets to light up the dark night.

In most of India, Diwali consists of a five-day celebration that peaks on the third day with the main celebration of Diwali. In other places where Diwali occurs, usually only the main day is celebrated.

Diwali is primarily celebrated by followers of the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain faiths. However, the holiday is celebrated throughout India, Singapore, and several other South Asian countries as a national holiday, meaning that people outside these religions may participate in Diwali celebrations, too. Hindu, Sikh, and Jain communities in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and elsewhere around the globe also regularly celebrate Diwali.

Diwali occurs annually in autumn (or spring, in the southern hemisphere), during the Hindu month of Kartik. (To put it in Western terms, Kartik begins around mid-October and ends in mid-November.) Specifically, Diwali occurs on the darkest day of the lunar month, which is the day of the new Moon.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a public holiday originally celebrated in the middle-ages in the United Kingdom, today it’s celebrated in many countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Observed annually on December 26 in Canada, the U.K. and Commonwealth countries around the world, Boxing Day was traditionally the day employers would give their staff Christmas presents, called "boxes," to celebrate the season. But since the day after Christmas is now usually a statutory holiday, in our modern society, we now often give those boxes to ourselves. Or at least that's one way of looking at this longtime tradition, which has been noted for centuries. There's no exact definition of Boxing Day, though some tie it to British servants who helped their lords and ladies with Christmas dinner and literally took home boxes (and got a day off) the next day.

New Year's Eve/Omisoka

New Year’s Eve, people around the globe celebrate the coming of the New Year on this last day in the gregorian calendar.

Omisoka is the last of the December global holidays as the Japanese celebrate it on December 31st. It is a day to celebrate the coming of the New Year, and people typically exchange gifts, eat special foods, and participate in traditional ceremonies.

New Year's Traditions From Around the World

  • United States: Watching the ball drop. ...
  • Brazil: Heading to the beach. ...
  • Spain: Eating 12 grapes. ...
  • India: Building a sculpture of an old man and burning it down. ...
  • Japan: Eating soba noodles. ...
  • France: Feasting with Champagne. ...
  • Haiti: Sharing soup joumou. ...
  • Denmark: Throwing old plates.