10 December holidays you might not know about

APTOPIX New Hampshire Daily Life Winter Solstice
Posted at 7:42 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 20:22:25-05

When it comes to December holidays, Christmas is one of the most popular in our country and is widely celebrated around the world.

But it's far from the only one.

There are many other holidays observed in the month of December, whether religious or ethnically and culturally rooted.

Being mindful of diverse holidays is another way of fostering an inclusive space for the communities we walk through.

Here are 10 holidays celebrated in December to keep in mind.

November 28 - December 6: Hanukkah

Hanukkah, sometimes spelled Chanukah, is a Jewish holiday that lasts eight nights. It lands sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year.

Jewish holidays occur according to the Jewish calendar — which is also considered lunar and has a different number of days — and not the solar calendar. Half of the time, according to the JCC of Indianapolis, it overlaps with Christmas. In 2021, it has landed well before Christmas time.

Chanukah is the Festival of Lights that commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after a revolt by a band of Jewish fighters, called the Maccabees, against the Syrian-Greek empire that had attempted to destroy the Jewish faith.

MORE: Here is everything you need to know about Hanukkah and ways to celebrate in Indianapolis

December 6: Saint Nicholas Day

There are some similarities between the Christian holidays St. Nicholas Day and Christmas, however different.

St. Nicholas is the inspiration for the modern-day Santa Clause, according to the National Day Calendar. Legendary stories share that St. Nick was dedicated to serving the sick and suffering his whole life and is known for selling all his possessions.

There are several traditions for this holiday, including leaving small gifts and treats in shoes. There is also the Krampus.

MORE: Krampus Bazaar and Rampage set for its grand finale in Bloomington

December 8: Rohatsu (Bodhi Day)

Bodhi Day is a Buddhist holiday that celebrates the day that the Buddha Siddharta Gautama experienced enlightenment, according to the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) "Calendar of Observances."

Rohatsu, or Bodhi Day, is celebrated on the eighth day of December every year.

According to the National Day Calendar, Bodhi Day is a quiet and reflective holiday. Most celebrate the holiday with a day of meditation, tea and cookies, or decorating a Bodhi tree.

Anyone can practice this holiday, according to the National Day Calendar. Even if you’re not Buddhist.

December 8: Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a Roman Catholic holiday.

This day is dedicated to celebrating the mother of Jesus, Mary, who gave birth to him without original sin, according to

It's commemorated in Catholic churches with a particular service or mass.

December 16 - December 24: Posadas Navidenas

Posadas Navidenas is mainly celebrated in Latin America, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Cuba, Spain, and by Hispanics in the U.S.

According to the Interfaith Calendar, this is known as Posadas Navidenas is known as a Hispanic Christian holiday. It commends Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus.

The holiday is typically celebrated all nine nights with a gathering of Christians who are dressed up to sing and pray, according to Mexperience

December 21 - January 1: Yule (Winter Solstice)

Yule is a Pagan or Wiccan holiday that begins at sundown at the winter solstice, according to Diversity Resources.

As the oldest winter celebration on record, December 21 marks the first day of the winter season — i.e., winter solstice — making it the shortest of the year.

At sundown, Pagans recognize the great horned hunter god as being reborn.

Yule is celebrated with reflection. According to Cosmopolitan, those choosing to observe it can make an evergreen wreath, light a Yule log, have a Yule feast, do a wishing ritual, and more.

APTOPIX New Hampshire Daily Life Winter Solstice
Under a midday winter solstice sun, a trio of climbers make their way up a slope on Mount Washington, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in New Hampshire. Neither the sun nor the mercury rose very high as temperatures barely climbed out of the single digits on the shortest day of the year. The mountain had just 8 hours and 51 minutes of daylight on Saturday. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

December 25: Christmas

Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrating the birthday of Jesus, according to History.

Numerous countries across the world celebrate this holiday.

The commercial phenomenon is celebrated with gift exchanges, decorating trees, church services, communal meals, and waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.

MORE: 2021 Holiday events in Indianapolis, Central Indiana

December 26: Zarathosht Diso (Death of Prophet Zarathushtra)

Zoroastrians honor the death of their prophet Zarathustra — who founded Zoroastrianism — on December 26.

Zoroastrianism is one of the world's oldest monotheistic religions, according to History.

The holiday is celebrated by visiting a fire temple, offering prayers in remembrance of the prophet. It's a solemn occasion, according to History, so there is nothing elaborate planned.

December 26 - January 1: Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration honoring African American heritage, according to ADL.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966, according to History, as a way to bring the Black community together.

The holiday is celebrated differently from family to family but typically incorporates a gathering of song and dance, African drums, storytelling, poetry readings, and a large traditional meal.

The Indianapolis Kwanzaa Committee is holding an event every night of Kwanzaa at 6 p.m.

December 31: Watch Night

On December 31, Christians will thank God for their safety during the year, according to the Interfaith Calendar.

This night is also a cultural celebration worldwide, known as New Year's Eve, with no religious affiliation. Moreover, it is celebrated due to the Gregorian calendar starting anew, according to ADL.

Of course, New Year's Eve is generally celebrated with parties to eat, drink and dance their way past midnight.