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January 6, 2014

The December Season from Region to Region

In this segment of last year’s holiday newsletter, we introduced you to several cultural holidays that are celebrated in December. If you missed it last year, go to the newsletter archive at abletranslations.com and read up on the Dōngzhì Festival, HumanLight, and Zamenhof Day. Once again, I invite you to take a moment and travel with me as we explore the December season from region to region. Let’s start our journey in Sweden. St. Lucia Day, which takes place on December 13th, is a celebration of a third-century saint. On this day, girls dress up as “Lucia brides”. They wear long white gowns and red sashes — a tradition that dates back to the 18th century. The attire is accompanied by a wreath of burning candles on their heads. The girls wake their families by singing songs and offering coffee.

Bodhi Day, celebrated on the 8th day of December, is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautauma (Shakyamuni), experienced enlightenment. According to traditional lore, Siddhartha had recently abandoned years of extreme ascetic practices and resolved to sit under a peepal tree and simply meditate until he found the root of suffering and how to liberate oneself from it. Pancha Ganapati is a modern five-day Hindu festival celebrated from December 21st through 25th in honor of Lord Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture. During each of the five days of Pancha Ganapati, a special sadhana (spiritual discipline) is focused on by the entire family. Because of the festival’s importance as a new beginning and mending of all past mistakes, a shrine is created in the main living room of the home and decorated in the spirit of this festive occasion. At the center is placed a large wooden or bronze five-faced statue of Lord Pancha Ganapati. We encourage you to take part in as many cultural activities as you can this December. Celebrating the diversity of one another is part of who we are as Canadians. From all of us at Able Translations, Happy Holidays. Stay safe and warm.

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