Honoring our diversity this holiday season

The holiday season is upon us with a many different ways to celebrate. Unlike last year, this season will likely feel a bit more normal as people begin to gather together.

Although many people associate the holidays with Christmas, the month of December also coincides with Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.  Kwanzaa, which is celebrated December 16th- January 1st, is a cultural holiday that honors African heritage and identity.  While Hanukkah is an eight-day “festival of Lights.”  Hanukkah means “dedication” and it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple.

Today, many people celebrate the holidays by blending religious and cultural customs with family traditions.  Holiday gatherings can include traditional foods, special greetings, prayer, song, the exchange of gifts and other rituals from places our ancestors once called home.  This give us a unique opportunity to learn about and share those traditions that make us unique and to honor and value their diversity as well.

For older adults, cultural traditions take on greater meaning, especially during the holidays.  For many, it is an opportunity to pass along historical events, family values and culture from one generation to the next.  For others, they represent meaning and purpose and a sense of connection to those that have passed.  Regardless of how you may choose to spend the holidays, the season offers a chance to reflect on our cultural traditions and differences and to celebrate what brings us all together.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.