When Do All the December Holidays Start? Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice Dates

The holiday season is here and while decorations for Christmas might seem to dominate many cities and towns, Christmas isn’t the only holiday to happen in December. Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and the Winter Solstice are all also celebrated during the month of December each year.

One of the holidays is already underway. Hanukkah began on Sunday night and is set to run until the night of Monday, December 10, before the other holidays even begin. Some Catholics who celebrate Christmas already have advent calendars out as the first Sunday of Advent occurred over the weekend as well. It’s a countdown to the birth of Christ and Christmas.

GettyImages-72852763 A large menorah and the National Christmas tree stand on the Elipse opposite the White House during the annual holiday season December 19, 2006, in Washington, D.C. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Dates of the December holidays in 2018:

Hanukkah: This is the first holiday to start during the month of December. It began Sunday night and goes until the night of Monday, December 10. The tradition of Hanukkah goes back to about 200 B.C. when enough oil to light the menorah for one day actually ended up lasting eight days. The tradition today is to light their menorah every night for eight nights.

Winter Solstice: The Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere happens on December 21 each year. It makes the official beginning of the winter season and is the day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere with the least amount of daylight because the sun is traveling the shortest path across the sky due to the tilt of the Earth on that day. The solstice is typically celebrated by those who follow Pagan traditions and the celebration is called Yule. The ancient tradition has to do with celebrating the rebirth of the New Year, the changing of the season and the sun.  

Christmas: The first Sunday of Advent was on December 2, marking the countdown to the birth of Christ or Christmas, set for December 25 as it is every year. This year Christmas Eve will fall on a Monday and Christmas Day on a Tuesday.

Kwanzaa: This holiday happens each year from December 26 to January 1 and is a cultural holiday rather than a religious one, traditionally celebrated by African-Americans. The holiday was created in 1966 by Professor Maulana Karenga and has seven principles, unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith, according to the Official Kwanzaa Website.

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