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December global holidays calendar 2021

December global holidays calendar 2021

December is the most colorful and festive period of the entire year. The month is characterized by a wind of celebration created by the numerous festivals and events. This occurs both at the national and international level across religions, cultures, and sometimes corporate events. 

Most people enjoy the joy and reunion brought about by December. In this article, the most popular December traditions, events, and celebrations are being explored. The dates of these events are brought forth including their symbolism.

1. Hannukah 

Also called Chanukah or the Festival of Lights, this is a Jewish festival that lasts 8 days. By the Hebrew calendar, Hannukah starts on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. Variations exist on the exact start date of this festival according to the Gregorian calendar. In 2021, the festival is expected between the 28th of November and the 6th of December.

Hannukah - December global holidays calendar 2021

Its symbolism: the Hannukah festival defines a period during which re-dedication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem is celebrated after the Maccabean Revolt. The attractions of the festival are the lighting of candles at night all through the eight days dedicated to it. Also, Hannukah is characterized by the singing of special music with songs like Mi Yimalel (Who Can Retell?) · Hanukkah O Hanukkah · Maoz Tzur (Rock of Ages). The most common of them is the Ma’oz Tzur and the people take pleasure in reciting the Hallel prayer. There equally exist other common Hannukah traditions among which the eating of oil-dried foods. An example is potato pancakes (also called latkes) and donuts filled with jam (also called sufganiyot). Accompanying this celebration is the exchange of presents among celebrants with dreidel plays.

2. The world’s AIDS day

Date: December 1

 Category: Health

 Why It is Marked: To raise and promote awareness on the scourge of HIV/AIDS

 Where It is Marked: Worldwide

 HIV/AIDS is probably one of the most dreaded diseases known to man. James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter were the first to initiate the idea of World AIDS Day in August 1987. Back then, Bunn and Netter were both public information officers under the World Health Organization’s Global Program on AIDS. Following their idea, the very first World AIDS Day was marked on the 1st of December 1988. The date has been maintained over the years and has always been an official holiday.

The world’s AIDS day - December global holidays calendar 2021

 The symbolism of the day: World AIDS Day is a part of the December global holidays calendar 2021 consecrated to raising and promoting awareness on HIV/AIDS. It equally commemorates those who live with the disease or those whose lives are affected by the disease. The commemoration of this day is done in numerous ways including visits to institutions of destitute children orphaned by the disease. Safe-sex campaigns are sponsored and governments are called to put in more efforts to refrain the spread of HIV/AIDS. 

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3. Santa Lucia

Date: December 13

 Category: Religious

 Why It is Marked: To give tribute to Lucia of Syracuse.

 Where It is Marked: In Scandinavia and Italy

Lucia of Syracuse (283–304), also known as Saint Lucia (translated in Latin: Sancta Lucia) or Saint Lucy, was a Christian martyr. She died during the Diocletianic Persecution and is perceived as an incarnation of light in the darkest part of the year. 

Santa Lucia - December global holidays calendar 2021

The symbolism of the day: on December 13th, Saint Lucia is remembered and celebrated in Scandinavia and Italy as a symbol of illumination and hope. Like most festivals, this joyful day is marked by atmospheric shows, plays, concerts, and processions. Singers feature singers in white attires with headdresses composed of real flickering candles.

4. Yule

Date: December 21 – January 1

 Category: Pagan

 Why It is Marked: To give tribute to the Norse god Odin

Where It is Marked: In Germany and diverse German communities around the globe

 Also called Yuletide, Yuletide, is a festival common to Germans worldwide. The festival is not a religious one and its pagan roots can be connected to the Wild Hunt. Related to the Anglo-Saxon festival of Modraniht, Yule pays tribute to the Norse god Odin. Technically, Yuletide falls during the Winter Solstice thus making it one of the most aged and popular winter celebrations globally known.

Yule - December global holidays calendar 2021

 The symbolism of the day: in old times, the people marked Yule by spending the night outdoors around a huge log lighted in a bonfire. In addition to this fire, the modern celebrants generally pay attention to Mother Earth, built a Yule altar, or make an evergreen Yule wreath. Also observed are candlelit dinners, homes, and Yule tree decorations which accompany the exchange of gifts among celebrants.

5. Festivus

Date: December 23

 Category: Parody

 Why It is Marked: To stand up against Christmas consumerism

 Where It is Marked: Worldwide, with particular attention in the United States

 Festivus which became popular in 1997 is a December global holiday courtesy of the episode “The Strike” from the Seinfeld show.” This parody holiday is aimed at standing against Christmas consumerism especially the pressure and commercialism tied to it. While Christmas is characterized by the purchase of a magnificent Christmas tree, celebrants simply gather around a plain aluminum pole. It is a rare festival with its customs which include the “airing of grievances” and “feats of strength”.

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Festivus - December global holidays calendar 2021

The symbolism of the day: sometimes, pundits lash out at Festivus enthusiasts tagging them as being anti-conventional. Lovers of Christmas term them to be people with little understanding of Christmas and its true value. Despite this, the holiday has prevailed and grows in popularity, mainly among frugal spenders and minimalism fighters. This holiday is a sign of how vast the December global holidays calendar 2021 can be.

6. Christmas

Date: December 25

 Category: Religious

 Why It Is Marked: To commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ

 Where It’ Is Marked: Worldwide

Christmas is celebrated on a marked day simply because according to the Roman calendar, it falls on the winter solstice. In numerous countries, Christmas is celebrated as a cultural event rather than a religious one. The sharing of gifts is attributed to Santa Claus or Father Christmas depending on the place. Church services are held on the day and Christians gather in numbers. 

Christmas - December global holidays calendar 2021

The symbolism of the day: Christmas is assuredly the most common and celebrated December holiday. December 25th marks the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who is believed by Christians to be the last true prophet sent by God. Christians praise him for giving humanity the possibility to be saved from sin. One thing that sets Christmas out of a lot of festivals is that both Christians and non-Christians celebrate the day. Despite this celebration, it is important to note that the actual birth date of Jesus Christ is till date unknown.

7. Boxing Day

Date: December 26

 Category: General

 Why It Is Marked: Symbolism varies

 Where It Is Marked: Worldwide

 Diverging opinions have always been expressed on how Boxing Day came about and what is the best way to celebrate it. Some people hold that it was the official day during which churches gave out alms boxes to the poor as gifts after Christmas. Others say Boxing Day is a day during which gifts are offered to errand boys, servants, and postmen in appreciation for the services rendered all through the year.

Boxing Day - December global holidays calendar 2021

 The symbolism of the day: regardless of the opinions existing about it, Boxing Day prevails as one of the most prominent December holidays. December 26th has since been declared a public holiday in countries numerous countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. In these countries, Boxing Day is mainly characterized by the organization of sporting events. A huge number of individuals however take the opportunity to offer themselves a day of routines.

8. Kwanzaa

Date: December 26 – January 1

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 Category: Cultural

 Why It Is Marked: To preserve certain African values

 Where It Is Marked: Worldwide, especially in the United States

 Rooted in African history, Kwanzaa is mainly celebrated in the United States as a December holiday. Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, this festival is based on the African-American culture. It was first observed in 1966 after the Watts riots in Los Angeles, California. The word ‘kwanzaa’ is in Swahili and once translated means ‘first.’ The word is thought to originate from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” meaning “the first fruits.”

Kwanzaa - December global holidays calendar 2021

 The symbolism of the day: Kwanzaa is celebrated with traditional African songs, plays, and dances. It gives praise to the African cultural heritage and is accompanied by storytelling and poetry reading. Discussions on the values of the African culture are equally held among different age groups. The activities of the event usually converge into a large daily traditional meal and a remarkable feast called ‘Karamu’ on the 31st of December.

9. New Year’s Eve

Date: December 31

 Category: General

 Why It Is Marked: To mark the end of the year

 Where It Is Marked: Worldwide

 This holiday which is the last on our list equally is the last of the year. Falling on December 31st yearly marks the transition from one year to another.

New year's Eve - December global holidays calendar 2021

The symbolism of the day: the day can be observed in numerous ways. In most religions, it is a day during which Christians recall all their deeds of the year (both good and bad). On this day, they equally set new challenges and resolutions aimed at guiding them into the New Year. Christians pray to thank God for his grace throughout the year while asking for His blessing in the upcoming year. Others on their part spend the day with family and friends at social gatherings and restaurants. Fireworks in the air, shouts, and hurray are at the top of the festival at midnight.

December Global Holidays 2021

Name Of December Global Festivities 2021Date Of December Global Festivities 
United Arab Emirates (National Day)01 December 2021
Ghana (Farmer’s Day)04 December 2021
Finland (Independence Day), Spain (Constitution Day)06 December 2021
Thailand (King Bhumibol’s Birthday)07 December 2021
Thailand (Constitution Day)10 December 2021
Mexico (The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe)12 December 2021
Malta (Republic day)13 December 2021
Bangladesh (Victory Day), South Africa (Day of Reconciliation)16 December 2021
Qatar (National Day)18 December 2021
Christmas Eve, Libya (Independence Day)24 December 2021
Christmas Day, Pakistan (Birthday of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah)25 December 2021
Various Countries (Boxing Day), Slovenia (Independence and Unity Day)26 December 2021
Sri Lanka (Unduvap Full Moon Poya)29 December 2021
Philippines (Rizal Day)30 December 2021
Various Countries (New Year’s Eve)31 December 2021

The Bottom Line

December global holidays calendar 2021 is comprised of holidays of all sorts, from religious to pagan and cultural events. Whatever be your preference, you are likely to find a holiday in December to end the year. 

 Aside from all the celebrations, colors, gifts, and special meals, December is also a period of reconnaissance. During this month, it is important to remember all those who stood up for you in one way or another. It is an ideal month for sharing emotions with loved ones, families, and friends. 

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Hello everyone! I am Shuri Fuh Maouline, founder of shurilifestyle, a Cameroonian based in Douala, Littoral. I blog about routines, motherhood, lifestyle, travel, relationship, food, and drinks. I enjoy sharing my little experiences and ideas and I hope that through this medium I will be able to give helpful tips and answer some of your questions. Feel free to correct me, comment and ask your questions via the comments section or by email via