I love living in NYC for many reasons, but one of my favorite things is the religious and cultural diversity. Having my kids be surrounded by people that share different points of view is really important to me. I think it helps set the stage for them to eventually form their own opinions. And New Yorkers aren’t shy to tell you their opinions!
I think that’s a good thing though! Because what I’ve experienced so far is a high level of acceptance and curiosity, especially during this holiday season. Here are many of the holidays I’ve been introduced to by the students in my daughter’s first grade class! I also included a few more I found as I was researching this post. Did I miss any?
St. Nicholas Day: December 6th 1 of 9On the eve of December 6th, St. Nicholas delivers candy and toys into children's shoes or stockings. My daughter's friend leaves a note for St. Nick telling him what she wants on Christmas day. I'd never heard about this holiday until I moved to NYC, but I like it!
Find out more about this holiday at Women for Faith and Family
St. Lucy’s Day: December 13th 2 of 9I love that this holiday celebrates a woman! This is mostly celebrated in Norway and Sweden. There you will find Saint Lucy comes as a young woman with lights and sweets.
Find out more about the amazing life of St. Lucy at The BBC
Hanukkah: December 20-28th 2011 3 of 9I can't wait to attend a Hanukkah party a family in my building in throwing at the end of the week. They promised to have dreidels and cookies! Sounds fun!
Find out the origin of Hanukkah and some games for kids at Apples 4 the Teacher
Christmas: December 25th 4 of 9This is the holiday my family will be celebrating. I've heard about an amazing live nativity on Christmas Eve in a local NYC Church. I'm tempted to go! Have you ever been to a live nativity?
Kristmas: December 25th 5 of 9This a secular holiday for people who want to celebrate most of the modern mythologies surrounding Christmas, except for the birth of Jesus as a savior. They give gifts, celebrate the magic of childhood, and focus on peace on earth.
Find out more about this celebration at the Official Kristmas Website
Junkanoo: December 26th 6 of 9On this day, you'll find street parades with music in many towns across The Bahamas, The Turks, and Caicos Islands. I wouldn't mind leaving the cold to crash their party!
Find out more about this celebration at Carib Tickets
Kwanzaa: December 26th to January 1st 7 of 9Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce basic values of African culture. My kid's music teacher taught them a song about Kwanzaa. Hearing them sing it around the house makes me beam with pride!
Find out more about this holiday at The Official Kwanzaa Website
Hogmanay: December 31st 8 of 9This is celebrated in Scotland. While there are many local customs that are atributed to this holiday, I find the fireball swinging to be the most dangourous! But visually stunning! Would you dare try it?
Find out more about this holiday on Wikipedia
Three Kings Day: January 6th 9 of 9Besides Christmas and Hanukkah, Three Kings Day is one of the most popular holidays in my daughter's class. This is a Hispanic tradition of celebrating the 3 Kings who brought gifts to Jesus. This is the day set aside when the children receive the gifts. I think it makes sense! It ties in gift giving to the birth of Jesus better than Santa Claus. I like the idea!
Learn more about 3 Kings Day from the Huffington Post