12 religious holidays believers celebrate in December – Deseret News

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Temple Har Shalom in Park City holds a Hanukkah party Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
December has finally arrived, and with it comes an abundance of colorful lights, vibrant wreaths and a bunch of family parties.
Most of these celebrations are inspired by Christmas and Hanukkah, the two major religious holidays celebrated by Christians and Jewish believers, respectively, in America.
With an increasing amount of interfaith marriages, many American families have had to figure out how to celebrate both holidays, according to InterfaithFamily, a support website for interfaith families.
But Christmas and Hanukkah aren’t the only religious holidays this month that some families may have to celebrate together. In fact, the Interfaith Calendar organization lists a number of religious holidays for the month of December. Here are 12 holidays with a little explanation on each.

This holiday honors the birth of Saint Nicholas, the saint who serves as a role model for gift-giving and is commonly known as Santa Claus, according to Interfaith Calendar.
This holiday celebrates the historical Buddha’s decision and vow to sit under the Bodhi tree until he reached spiritual enlightenment. It’s celebrated through meditation and is embraced similar to how Christians celebrate Christmas to honor Jesus Christ.
In the lead-up to Jesus’ birthday celebration on Christmas, Catholics celebrate the day of Immaculate Conception to honor his mother Mary, who they say was preserved from original sin for her entire life.
This is a primarily Catholic holiday celebrated by Mexicans and Americans of Mexican descent that honors the reported appearance of the Virgin Mary in Mexico City, according to Interfaith Calendar.
This is a primarily Hispanic Christian holiday that commends Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus, according to Interfaith Calendar.
This is the eight-day Jewish festival of lights, which celebrates the Maccabean revolt in Israel. Eight candles are lit with a menorah to honor the holiday.
Solstice is the point in the year “when the earth is most inclined away from the sun. It is the most southern or northern point depending on the hemisphere,” according to Interfaith Calendar. Pagans and Wicca believers will celebrate that event through Yule, in which believers also honor “the winter-born king, symbolized by the rebirth of the sun,” Interfaith Calendar explained.
Christmas is a primarily Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Many will attend church, have family parties and exchange gifts, according to Interfaith Calendar.
Unlike many of the other holidays in the month, Zoroastrians honor the death of their prophet, Zarathustra, who founded Zoroastrianism, one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions.
Christians solemnly honor the deaths of children killed by King Herod, who was attempting to kill Jesus, according to Interfaith Calendar.
Catholics use this day to honor Jesus, Mary and Joseph, according to Interfaith Calendar.
For Watch Night, Christians will thank God for the safety they received during the year, according to Interfaith Calendar.
For more on world religious holidays, head to Princeton University’s website.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the Maccabean revolt occurred in Egypt. It occurred in Israel.

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