Christmas is one of many December global festivities celebrated in December, marked by a Google Doodle throughout the month.
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the month of December, with the help of a small yellow bird wrapping fairy lights around its logo.
The Christmas period is almost over, with families having celebrated in a very different manner from usual.
Hannukah is also celebrated in December, as are Kwanzaa, Yule and for fans of the sitcom Seinfeld, the slightly less wholesome tradition of Festivus.
Here is a calendar of the December global festivities.
Hannukah (10-18 December)
Hannukah is an eight day Jewish festival that traditionally kicks off on the 25th day of the month of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar. This year, that falls on Thursday 10 December.
Hannukah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire.
It is observed by lighting a menorah – a candlestick with nine branches. One branch, that usually sits above or below the others, holds the candle that is used to light the other eight, one of which is lit each night.
Some Jewish people like to celebrate Hannukah in a similar way to how Christians celebrate Christmas, feasting and giving gifts. Oil-based foods such as latkes are popular.
Yule (21 December-1 January)
Yule, also known as Yuletide, is celebrated by Germanic people. It has pagan roots, particularly to the Norse god Odin and the Anglo-Saxon festival of Modraniht.
These days it is more similar to Christmas, with people congregating for meals and gift giving. Indeed, it has spawned a number of Christmas traditions, such as the yule log.
It is mostly celebrated by people in Heathenry and other forms of Neopaganism.
Festivus (23 December)
Festivus entered popular culture in 1997 thanks to the Seinfeld episode “The Strike”.
The parody holiday is a resistance to the consumerism of Christmas, and is celebrated by standing around an unadorned aluminium pole, as opposed to a decorated tree.
Traditions include the “airing of grievances” and “feats of strength”, while people also make reference to “Festivus miracles”, which are actually easily-explainable events.
Christmas (25 December)
Most of the world celebrates Christmas on 25 December, marking the birth of Jesus Christ.
This date was picked because it corresponded with winter solstice in the Roman calendar. In actuality, the date of Jesus’ birth is unknown.
Some people celebrate Christmas on the 24th, and certain cultures even celebrate in January.
People give gifts, shares feasts with family and decorate trees in their homes.
Boxing Day (26 December)
There are competing theories for how the day after Christmas got its name.
One is related to alms boxes, which were given out to poor people by churches after Christmas, in a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages.
The Oxford English Dictionary says it refers to “the first weekday after Christmas Day, observed as a holiday on which postmen, errand boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas box” as recognition for their year of service.
Kwanzaa (26 December-1 January)
Kwanzaa is a celebration of African-American culture that lasts for seven days. It ends on 1 January with the giving of gifts and sharing of a meal.
The festival was created by Maulana Karenga, a festival of Africana studies and an active member of the Black Power movement, and first celebrated in 1966.
He started it after the Watts riots to “give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society”.
New Year’s Eve (31 December)
New Year’s Eve celebrations will be far less raucous this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.