By Faith Evans
Between the excitement of spinning the dreidel and staying up all night waiting for Santa, December’s other holidays and observances get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. In reality, there are many other days in December worth acknowledging to keep time from dragging on in the weeks leading up to winter break.
Those who simply can’t wait another moment for Christmas, let alone 19 days, can take part in St. Nicholas day celebrated Dec. 6. Nicholas of Myra was well known for slipping coins into unsuspecting shoes, and his legend of gift giving has today become the tradition of Christmas stockings. In keeping with St. Nick’s tradition, children considered “nice” find a treat in their Christmas stockings.
Despite December being considered a season of joy, a tragedy of the past is recognized in this month. On Dec. 7 of 1941, America’s Navy base in Hawaii was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy. Today, the event is recognized every Dec. 7 as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and flags everywhere in the United States are flown at half mast to commemorate those injured and killed.
Memories of the past aren’t all sad. 10 days after Dec. 7, Pan American Aviation Day and Wright Brother’s Day fall on Dec. 17. The first is meant to draw interest toward aviation and the convenience of increased communication systems throughout the world due to the invention of the airplane. The second highlights Orville and Wilbur Wright’s successful 12-second flight in 1903, marking the revolutionary start of modern aviation.
“Not many Americans realize the contribution that aviation and the Wright Brothers have given to help society and the world as a whole. I just wish people would appreciate that more,” Josh Frizell, junior, said. Frizell went to Rancho High School his freshman year for their aviation program.
There is also good news for all those who adore long winter naps. The shortest day of the year is soon arriving. The winter solstice, recognized on Dec. 22, is neither a holiday nor an observance, but many agree that the added hours of darkness equate to more sleep.
“It’s practically a celebration of sleep all on it’s own. Who doesn’t want extra sleep? Especially with the schedule the school has us running on sleep wise,” Lauren Isbell, freshman, said.
Kwanzaa, recognized as a holiday on most calendars, begins on Dec. 26 and consists of a week-long celebration honoring African culture. Maulana Karenga was an African-American leader who proposed the holiday’s addition to December’s list of observances. It was first celebrated in 1966, and the festivities include lighting the seven symbolic candles (three red, one black, three green) and pouring ritual drinks called libations. A Kwanzaa ceremony includes music, drums, and storytelling of African history. Many who celebrate it will combine it with other holidays like Christmas or Hanukkah, and it is not uncommon for the seven candles to be displayed next to a tree or menorah.
When New Years seems just too far away, and kissing snotty Marmin under the mistletoe sounds way better than attempting to muscle through another excruciating day of school, students can relax knowing that between a mini-Christmas, modern communication systems, and the idea of sleeping in for hours and hours, any day in December can be a celebration all by itself.