Friday, December 1, 2017

December: A Month of Holidays

By Ruth Hemphill

 The month of December is a time of festival for many people all over the world. 

In 2017, the first of many holidays starts at sundown Nov. 30 and extends to sundown Dec. 1. The holiday of Mawlid-al-Nabi celebrates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad for many Muslims. Celebrated with processions and sermons, Mawlid is designated as an official holiday in Muslim countries throughout the world. The date of the celebration is calculated according to the moon calendar.

For those interested in knowing more about this, the Tennessee Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped (TLBPH) has several biographies, including:

Muhammad, by Michael Cook, available in audio and braille formats; Muhammad, by Demi, for grades 3-6, available in audio format; Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, by Karen Armstrong, available in audio and braille formats; Muhammad of Mecca: Prophet of Islam, by Elsa Marston, for grades 6-9 and older readers, available in audio format.

Bodhi Day commemorates for Buddhists the day the Buddha achieved enlightenment and, is thus, considered to be the founding of Buddhism. In 2017, Bodhi Day will be celebrated Dec. 8. Due to the austere nature of the Buddha’s quest for enlightenment, Bodhi Day is usually celebrated in a low-key fashion, with chanting and meditation. Some Buddhists do decorate a ficus tree and provide sweets for children.

Books related to Buddhism in the TLBPH’s collections include: The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, by the dalai lama XIV and Howard Cutler, available in audio and braille formats; An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life, by the Dali Lama XIV, available in audio and braille formats; and Buddhism, by I.G. Edmonds, for grades 5-8 and older readers, available in audio and braille formats.

Hanukkah begins at sundown Dec. 12 this year, lasting eight days until nightfall Dec. 20. Commemorating the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem, after a small tribe of Hebrews defeated a much larger Greek army, this “festival of lights” is celebrating with nightly menorah lightings, special prayers and a variety of foods. Only one candle is lit on the first night of Hanukkah with additional candles lit each night until all candles are lit. While many children are given gifts, the original tradition was to give children money to reward good behavior and devotion to studying the Torah. The money also allowed the children to practice charity.

Hanukkah books available from TLBPH include: Hanukkah in America: A History, by Diane Ashton, available in audio format, and The Story of Hanukkah, by Amy Ehrlich, for grades K-3 and older readers, available in audio and braille formats.

While dates for the previous festivals vary for each year, Christmas is always celebrated Dec. 25. For Christians, the celebration is a commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Many Christians celebrate with decorated trees, church services and special foods. Others celebrate a more secular holiday with Santa Claus and gifts, and many celebrate a combination of both.

TLBPH has many Christmas books, including: The Physics of Christmas: From the Aerodynamics of Reindeer to the Thermodynamics of Turkey, by Roger Highfield, available in audio format; A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories That Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit, by Mike Huckabee, available in audio format; Where Did Christmas Come From? by Al Remson, available in audio and braille formats; and Christmas Around the World, for grades 2-4, by Emily Kelley, available in audio and braille formats.

Kwanzaa begins Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017 and goes through Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, marking the 51st annual celebration. It is a celebration of the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. A combination of African “first fruit” celebrations, with candle lightings, drumming, storytelling, poetry reading and food.

TLBPH has books for all ages describing this holiday, including:

It’s Kwanzaa Time!, by Linda Goss, for grades 4-7 and older readers, ; Kwanzaa, by Deborah M. Newton Chocolate, for grades K-3, available in audio and braille formats; and Kwanzaa: An African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking, by Eric V. Copage, available in audio format.”

The Tennessee State Library and Archives is a division of the Office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett

No comments:

Post a Comment