By: Julia Keane
When someone is asked to name their favorite, or most recognizable, holiday, the most common responses are usually Christmas, or maybe Easter, or even Valentine’s Day.
It is no secret that most of America’s biggest celebrations are holidays centered around Christianity. And while the colorful store displays and exciting parties thrown across the nation are incredibly appealing, it is also important that we recognize holidays of cultures that don’t get as much recognition
At Glenelg in particular, we need to do a better job at commemorating holidays like Passover, Tu BiShvat, Diwali, and Cinco de Mayo.
Passover is an annual Jewish holiday that will take place from April 15 to April 23. It is a celebration of the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt during which many Jewish people refrain from eating certain foods, hold special sedars, recite specific blessings or prayers, and visit their synagogue frequently.
Another Jewish holiday that does not receive a lot of recognition is Tu Bishvat, which occurred on Jan. 17. Tu Bishvat is focused around the celebration of trees, and every year those who celebrate pick up trash around their communities and plant trees as they reflect on how important nature is. A rabbi in the 1500s was the first to hold a Tu BiShvat seder, celebrating the Tree of Life.
Diwali is a festival of lights that normally lasts five days between mid-October and mid-November and is celebrated by Hindu, Jain, and Sikh people. The holiday symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. Many families clean, renovate, and decorate their homes with items such as diyas (oil lamps) and rangolis (colorful circle patterns). People also wear their finest clothing garments, light fireworks, and hold large family feasts.
Another holiday centered around the commemoration of a culture is Cinco de Mayo, or May 5, which marks the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. However, it has become more popular in the United States than in Mexico since. Each year on May 5, banners are displayed, dances and parades are held, students are educated about the holiday’s historical significance, and Mexican products and services are advertised across the nation.