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  • My new Twitter handle is now live - check me out at @jackiewgibson!

  • CNN has posted a history of bias against Sikhs - more reason for people to learn about religions before they attack anyone:...

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here: http://t.co/A0ltLLIm

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here: http://t.co/l3KrAJZf

  • Hackers group Anonymous takes down Vatican website: http://t.co/B6lbGAVp

  • WGN-TV calls doomsday prophecies "an illusion": http://t.co/mv8Gzyw7

  • RT @graceishuman: Really,? Asking people JUST LEAVING the service how they felt about it? Tacky, tacky, inappropriate

  • Whitney Houston's funeral service really took the world to church. Love Pastor Winans' honesty, very moving.

  • #teacher ? Here are appropriate responses to situations with your Jehovah's Witness student: http://t.co/A6UfqcgH

  • #Teachers: Want to know why your Jehovah's Witness student won't say the pledge and how to respond? http://t.co/EIdlgDwW

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Holiday Information

The following series of winter religious holidays was written by Religion Transcends writer Jackie Walker for the Winter 2009 issue of Relate magazine. Relate’s mission is to inspire teen girls to pursue their dreams with confidence and to teach them to be an example for others in their speech, life, love, faith and purity. Religion overviews may have Christian overtones to make the content relatable for the Christian teen audience.

If you’re putting the finishing touches on a winter wonderland of figgy pudding, jingling bells, and neatly wrapped presents, you’re in good company. Each year, about 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas. That’s more than 9 out of every 10 people in the United States!

Of course, Christmas comes in a variety of packages: Santa and his sleigh, Jesus and his manger, the Grinch and his itty-bitty heart. So just what is the real Christmas story? And what are some of the holy nights that the other 7% of Americans are celebrating this winter?

Set aside those gingerbread cookies and read this holiday list (we checked it twice!).

Islam

Holiday: Ashura

Date: December 27

Main Players: Noah, Moses, Hussein

The Story: Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims celebrate Ashura differently. Sunnis are those who believed a new leader should be elected when Muhammad died. Shi’ites are those who thought the new leader should be a descendent of Muhammad. Sunnis remember the day Noah stepped off the Ark. They also use Ashura to celebrate the day Moses parted the Red Sea and escaped from the Egyptians. Shi’ites mourn the death of Hussein ibn Ali. Hussein was the grandson of Muhammad. As a descendent, Shi’ites believed he should rule over the Muslim community. But the Sunnis didn’t recognize him as leader…so Hussein started his own kingdom. Because he refused to pledge allegiance to the government that was in place, he was killed and beheaded during battle. Today, Shi’ites consider Hussein a martyr because he died for his religion.

Traditions: Sunnis celebrate Ashura by fasting (meaning they don’t eat that day). Shi’ites mourn the anniversary of Hussein’s martyrdom on Ashura and sometimes for weeks after. To show their grief, they may:
-Fast
-Mourn in public
-You may have seen pictures of Muslim men walking in a line and beating themselves on Ashura; this is a way to show grief
-Visit Hussein’s tomb in Karbala, Iraq

Other installments in this series:
-Buddhism: Bodhi Day
-Judaism: Hanukkah
-Christianity: Christmas
-Hinduism: Vasant Panchami

Other holidays this winter:
-Islam: Hijra (December 18)
-Wicca: Winter Solstice (December 21)
-Shinto: Gantan-sai (January 1)
-Baha’i: World Religion Day (January 17)
-Buddhism/Confucianism: Chinese New Year (February 14)

Created by Religion Transcends, 2009

The following series of winter religious holidays was written by Religion Transcends writer Jackie Walker for the Winter 2009 issue of Relate magazine. Relate’s mission is to inspire teen girls to pursue their dreams with confidence and to teach them to be an example for others in their speech, life, love, faith and purity. Religion overviews may have Christian overtones to make the content relatable for the Christian teen audience.

If you’re putting the finishing touches on a winter wonderland of figgy pudding, jingling bells, and neatly wrapped presents, you’re in good company. Each year, about 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas. That’s more than 9 out of every 10 people in the United States! Of course, Christmas comes in a variety of packages: Santa and his sleigh, Jesus and his manger, the Grinch and his itty-bitty heart. So just what is the real Christmas story? And what are some of the holy nights that the other 7% of Americans are celebrating this winter? Set aside those gingerbread cookies and read this holiday list (we checked it twice!).

Christianity

Holiday: Christmas

Date: December 25

Main Players: Jesus Christ

The Story: You probably know that Jesus – not Santa – is the reason for Christmas. But when was the last time you heard the real Christmas story? The story is pieced in the Bible’s New Testament. These stories tell of Joseph and his fiancée Mary, a virgin who became pregnant. An angel told Mary she was pregnant with God’s son. The couple had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, Joseph’s hometown, so they could be counted in the government’s census. They reached an inn in Bethlehem, but it was full. So the innkeeper let them stay in the stable with the animals. There, Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger, a feeding trough for animals. Three magi, called “Wise Men,” came to the inn, where they gave him gifts. Jesus Christ would go on to let the world know he was God, die on a cross, and spark the beginning of Christianity.

Traditions: From Christmas cards and stockings to Rudolph and his reindeer, you could probably list a mile of Christmas traditions. But three stick out that relate directly to Jesus’ birth:

  • Christians walk around town singing Christmas carols about the birth of Jesus.
  • Churches often put up nativity scenes, displays of the scene at Jesus’ birth.
  • Christians give gifts to one another, just as the Wise Men gave gifts to Jesus.

Other installments in this series:
-Buddhism: Bodhi Day
-Judaism: Hanukkah
-Islam: Ashura
Hinduism: Vasant Panchami

Other holidays this winter:
-Islam: Hijra (December 18)
-Wicca: Winter Solstice (December 21)
-Shinto: Gantan-sai (January 1)
-Baha’i: World Religion Day (January 17)
-Buddhism/Confucianism: Chinese New Year (February 14)

Created by Religion Transcends, 2009

The following series of winter religious holidays was written by Religion Transcends writer Jackie Walker for the Winter 2009 issue of Relate magazine. Relate’s mission is to inspire teen girls to pursue their dreams with confidence and to teach them to be an example for others in their speech, life, love, faith and purity. Religion overviews may have Christian overtones to make the content relatable for the Christian teen audience.

If you’re putting the finishing touches on a winter wonderland of figgy pudding, jingling bells, and neatly wrapped presents, you’re in good company. Each year, about 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas. That’s more than 9 out of every 10 people in the United States!

Of course, Christmas comes in a variety of packages: Santa and his sleigh, Jesus and his manger, the Grinch and his itty-bitty heart. So just what is the real Christmas story? And what are some of the holy nights that the other 7% of Americans are celebrating this winter?

Set aside those gingerbread cookies and read this holiday list (we checked it twice!).

Judaism

Holiday: Hanukkah

Date: December 12-19

Main Players: The Jewish Temple in Jerusalem

The Story: Compared to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Hanukkah is a less important holiday. But some Jewish families do celebrate it. As history tells, the Jews had a holy temple in Jerusalem. The Greek army seized the temple in 168 BC and destroyed many items like the menorah, a golden candle holder. In 165 BC, after the Jews had cleaned up the temple, they held a dedication ceremony to give some honor back to the building. They looked for oil to light the menorah but found only enough for one day. By some miracle, the oil lasted for eight whole days! The temple was later destroyed in 70 AD; all that remains are fragments like the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. But Jews today remember the night they took the temple back and witnessed the miracle of the oil.

Traditions: Some Jews give presents on Hanukkah, but for the most part Hanukkah involves two traditions:

  • Jews light a menorah in their homes. It has 9 candles, one for each night the menorah stayed lit and one candle to light the others. They light one candle each night for eight nights.
  • Kids play games like spinning the dreidel. This is a top with four sides that say “Nes, Gimel, Hay, and Shin” which together mean “a great miracle happened there.”

Other installments in this series:
-Buddhism: Bodhi Day

-Christianity: Christmas

-Islam: Ashura

-Hinduism: Vasant Panchami

Other holidays this winter:
-Islam: Hijra (December 18)
-Wicca: Winter Solstice (December 21)
-Shinto: Gantan-sai (January 1)
-Baha’i: World Religion Day (January 17)
-Buddhism/Confucianism: Chinese New Year (February 14)

Created by Religion Transcends, 2009

The following series of winter religious holidays was written by Religion Transcends writer Jackie Walker for the Winter 2009 issue of Relate magazine. Relate’s mission is to inspire teen girls to pursue their dreams with confidence and to teach them to be an example for others in their speech, life, love, faith and purity. Religion overviews may have Christian overtones to make the content relatable for the Christian teen audience.

If you’re putting the finishing touches on a winter wonderland of figgy pudding, jingling bells, and neatly wrapped presents, you’re in good company. Each year, about 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas. That’s more than 9 out of every 10 people in the United States!

Of course, Christmas comes in a variety of packages: Santa and his sleigh, Jesus and his manger, the Grinch and his itty-bitty heart. So just what is the real Christmas story? And what are some of the holy nights that the other 7% of Americans are celebrating this winter?

Set aside those gingerbread cookies and read this holiday list (we checked it twice!).

Buddhism

Holiday: Bodhi Day

Date: December 8

Main Players: Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama)

The Story: Bodhi Day celebrates the day Buddha became enlightened – in other words, Buddha figured out what life is really about. The fat Buddha you’ve seen in pictures grew up as a skinny kid named Siddartha Guatama. He lived in a palace with all the riches. But one day he saw four people along the road who were dying or ill. Siddhartha wondered how he could get rid of suffering, so he began following Hinduism. He ate only a grain of rice a day and became super skinny. One day in Bodh Gaya, India, he propped his weak body beneath a tree and began to meditate. There, he suddenly understood the universe and the reason for suffering. He was, as they say, the “enlightened one,” or the Buddha. Buddha didn’t stop there. He could’ve sat under the tree forever, completely content. Instead he went out and preached what he’d discovered. His followers became Buddhists. So Bodhi Day marks the day Siddartha Guatama became Buddha – and Buddhism became a religion.

Traditions: There are no required traditions on Bodhi Day. But Buddhists who want to celebrate can:

  • Meditate like Buddha
  • Chant Buddhist texts (called sutras)
  • Perform kind acts toward others in honor of Buddha

Other installments in this series:
-Judaism: Hanukkah

-Christianity: Christmas

-Islam: Ashura
-Hinduism: Vasant Panchami

Other holidays this winter:
-Islam: Hijra (December 18)
-Wicca: Winter Solstice (December 21)
-Shinto: Gantan-sai (January 1)
-Baha’i: World Religion Day (January 17)
-Buddhism/Confucianism: Chinese New Year (February 14)

Created by Religion Transcends, 2009