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Events of the Month

2002-DECEMBER

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Events during 2002-December:

December is a month of significance to many of the world's religions. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and many aboriginal religions celebrate holy days during this month. 1

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DEC-1: This is World AIDS Day. AIDS has killed about 15 million people; over 45 million are infected -- mostly African heterosexuals. The total number of women infected is now very close to the total for men. 2

bulletDEC-1: This is the First Sunday in Advent, (a.k.a. Advent Sunday). Advent is a series of Christian observances leading up to Christmas. It starts on the Sunday that is nearest to NOV-30, St. Andrew's Day. 3 The Roman Catholic Church forbids marriages during Advent. 4
bulletDEC-6: This is the most probable date on which Muslims observe Eid al-Fitr, the last day of the holy month of Ramadan which recalls the gift of the Holy Qur'an to humanity. The actual date is determined when the new moon becomes visible. 5
bulletDEC-7: This is the last day of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights (a.k.a. Chanukah & Feast of Dedication). The final candle of an eight-candle menorah is lit in many homes. It recalls the war fought by the Maccabees in the cause of religious freedom.
bulletDEC-6: In Canada, this is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, held annually on this date. On 1989-DEC-6, a deranged gunman, entered the École Polytechique de Montréal. His application to admittance at the school had been rejected. He blamed feminists for ruining his life. He shot 27 people: 23 women and 4 men. 14 women died. All the men survived. 6
bulletDEC-8: This is The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated by Roman Catholics. The feast is linked to the date 1854-DEC-8, when Pope Pius IX formally defined the dogma. It is the belief that the Virgin Mary was conceived without sin circa 20 BCE. Many people believe incorrectly that it refers to Jesus' conception circa 5 BCE.
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DEC-8: Bodhi Day (a.k.a. Rohatsu) is when Buddhist celebrate the enlightenment of the Buddha in 596 BCE. Some years, it is celebrated on DEC-8, or on the Sunday immediately preceding that date. 7

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DEC-10: This is Human Rights Day, DEC-10, the 53rd anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  "The 1000 Lamp Mandala Ceremony" is celebrated around the world to promote peace in Tibet and elsewhere.

bulletDEC-15: This begins a 40 day period of fasting (Advent) in preparation for Christmas in the Orthodox churches. In Eastern countries, believers abstain from meat and dairy products; only one meal a day is eaten. In the West, meat is given up on Wednesday and Fridays during Advent.
bulletDEC-22: The Winter Solstice occurs on this day at 01:14 UT. It is celebrated by followers of many Aboriginal and Neopagan religions around the world. It is called Yule by Wiccans, who consider it one of their four minor Sabbats. Followers of Shinto observe Tohji-taisai, the Grand Ceremony of the Winter Solstice. Many Atheists in the U.S. also celebrate the solstice, which is the shortest day and longest night of the year.
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DEC-25: Celebration of Christmas, the nominal birth date of Jesus Christ, by the western churches which follow the Gregorian calendar. Most theologians believe that Jesus was born between 4 and 7 BCE, perhaps in the fall.

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DEC-26: This is the first day of a week-long celebration of Kwanza (a.k.a. Kwanzaa, Quansa)  It is an inter-faith African-American and Pan-African holiday celebrating family, community and culture. "Kwanza" is a Swahili word for "the first," or "the first fruits of the harvest". It continues until JAN-1.

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DEC-26: The death of the prophet Zarathustra is observed by Zoroastrians.

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DEC-26: Boxing Day is celebrated in Australia, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. It is apparently related to an old custom of giving cash or presents to poor people. However, nobody really knows for certain why the "box" got into "Boxing Day." Theories abound. It is listed in the Canada Labour Code as a holiday.

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DEC-31: New Year's Eve. A generally secular celebration.

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Although care was taken in the preparation of this list, we cannot accept responsibility for any errors or their consequences.

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References:

  1. Helen T. Gray, "Keeping faith during the holidays," Kansas City Star, 1999-DEC-17. It is a brief article on how followers of four religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Wicca) celebrate their faith near the end of December. Online at: http://www.kcstar.com/item/pages/fyi.pat,fyi/37741687.c17,.html 

  2. "World AIDS Day," at: http://www.worldaidsday.org/

  3. "Music for the first Sunday of Advent," at: http://www.jwpepper.com/advent1.html 

  4. "First Sunday of Advent," at: http://www3.kumc.edu/diversity/ethnic_relig/advent.html 

  5. "Ramadan, Eid-al-Fitr & Eid-al-Adha 1423 AH," at: http://moonsighting.com/ramadan.html

  6. "National day of remembrance and action on violence against women," at: http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/dec6/
  7. "Bodhi Day: Anniversary of Buddha's Enlightenment" at: http://209.52.189.2/article.cfm/1932/15119 

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Site navigation:

 Home page > Religious information > Holy days > here

or Home page > Holy days > here

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Copyright © 2002 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Essay prepared on 2002-NOV-27
Latest update: 2002-NOV-28
Compiled by B.A. Robinson

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