Happy almost Yule (21st) and Christmas (25th).

If you celebrate Hanukkah, Chag Sameach!

Did you know that there are 9 religious holidays in December besides the three I mentioned above? Here are two that I had never heard of before sitting down and writing this blog.

Bodhi Day – December 9th. This holiday celebrates the historical Buddha’s decision and vow to sit under the Bodhi tree until he became enlightened. It’s celebrated through meditation and is embraced similar to how Christians celebrate Christmas.

Pasada Navidena – December 16-24th. It is a nine-day celebration of Joseph and Mother Mary making the journey to the Inn where Mary gave birth to Jesus. It is primarily celebrated in Latin American countries but also places influenced by the Spanish.

At our house we celebrate two holidays during this season, Christmas and Yule. The cool part of our interfaith household is that the symbols for the celebration of Christmas and Yule are very similar. Yule is the pagan celebration of the winter solstice. Winter Solstice, astronomically speaking, occurs when either of Earth’s poles reaches its maximum tilt away from the Sun. Essentially, it is the shortest day of the year in terms of hours of sunshine. Religiously speaking, Yule is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world. It simultaneously celebrates the shortest day of the year (Winter Solstice), midwinter (don’t worry spring will come), the return of the Sun (shortest day over each day now is getting longer), and a festival of rebirth and renewal (time to look forward with hope). Yep it is a pretty damn cool Holiday!

During this Holiday season whether you observe a religious Holiday or not, I would extend from our house to yours this blessing:

Bright Blessings to you and yours

May this Season of renewal

Permeate your whole being

May the Spirit of the Season

Bring you hope, joy, and wonder

May this Yuletide Holiday

See Goodwill and Kindness for all

Blessed Be

Also if during this season you are missing a loved one(s), I send you my love as you navigate grief. I am so sorry for your loss, whether it was recent or decades ago. Truly know that I don’t know the right thing to say, just that I hold you in my heart.