December Global Holidays, Festivals and Date

December is heeeeerrrreee, bringing with it lots of December global holidays which include the Christmas and new year. . Did I just hear someone shout ”Huuuraaaaay”? oh it is worth some hurrays because, for most of us, this happens to be our favourite part of the year, considering all the festivities and celebrations made possible because of the inevitable global holidays the in the month of December. 

You know how it is after you’ve been spread thin from January counting to November, working a job, building and expanding a business, managing kids through all the school sessions, and all the other commitments they had been to your life. It is just very natural to look forward to our all-time December holidays globally and all the holidays she will, of course, bring us.

More so, it affords us time with family(extended families especially) and our faraway friends too. We can’t even deny it, some of us only get to see extended family members and some friends who live far away, just once in a year, and that once is when we all come home for the holidays and all whatnot. December global holidays is a life-saver and one of the best time to meet our international friends. Trust me.

It is for a reason such as this, that we are putting together this article, so we can better know and also recognize the many global holidays that happen in December.

I could guess that majority of us are well aware of some, like Christmas (December 25th) and Boxing Day (December 26th). But, tell you what? They are a whole lot more. Read on and get blown away.

The popular December Global Holidays you need to keep in mind include;

Names Of Global Festivities In December 2021Dates Of December Global Holidays
HanukkahNovember 28th to December 6th.
World Aids DayDecember 1.
Santa Lucia December 13
YuleDecember 21 – January 1.
Festivus Global HolidayDecember 23.
 ChristmasDecember 25.
Boxing DayDecember 26.
Kwanzaa Global Holiday December 26 – January 1.
New Year’s EveDecember 31

Local and International December Global Holidays

The month of November, allows us to focus our attention and efforts on charitable causes and world peace, alongside a plethora of activities in the corporate environment, then our private lives occur in December, which is the 12th and the concluding month of the year. 

The month hosts lots of shopping, family reunions, school breaks, cooking, and seasonal variations. So here are some of the December global holidays that are experienced local and internationally you should always keep in mind.


December global holidays

Hanukkah is one of the known December global holidays in the Religious category and it’s a global holiday that begins from November 28th to December 6th. 

Reason for the Holiday: This December global holiday is marked to commemorate the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean uprising had been crushed.

Where it’s celebrated: It is celebrated in Israel and some other Jewish communities around the world. 

What to know about Hanukkah December Global Holiday

In the year 165 BCE, a small group of Jews called the Maccabees recaptured Jerusalem from the Syrian King Antiochus IV, and after cleaning out the temple, they could only find enough oil to light the menorah(a special eight-branched candlestick, for one day. But miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days).

So, in celebration of this miracle, Hanukkah is an 8-day Jewish festival that traditionally begins on the 25th day of the month of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, featuring the eight-branched menorah.

Although, the menorah holds nine candles, eight of which represent each night of Hanukkah so the ninth candle is called the shamash which is used for lighting the other candles, and it is usually the middle candle on the menorah.

Hannukah is also known as Chanukah or the Festival of Lights and there are usually variations on the exact day that Hannukah begins each year, this is due to the Gregorian calendar. But for this year, the festival falls between November 28 and December 6.

Hanukkah is also a period where gifts are exchanged as many children, get to receive eight small presents, one on each night of the festival or a big present on the first night of Hanukkah.

The significant thing though, is the presents are often wrapped in blue and white papers, which are the colors of the Israeli flag.

On Hanukkah, Jewish people are encouraged not to do work while the candles on the menorah are burning. Instead, they play traditional games such as dreidels, eat oil-dried foods such as potato pancakes (also known as latkes) and jam-filled donuts (also known as sufganiyot). These are some of the most popular customs of Hannukah.

World Aids Day

December global holidays

When you are talking about the Decmber global holidays, the WAD one of the most celebrated holidays in December in the Health Category and is December global holiday marked every December 1. 

Reason for the Holiday: To raise awareness on the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

Where It’s Marked: Worldwide

World AIDS Day is a global holiday that was first observed on December 1, 1988 (check the history here), to bring greater awareness to HIV, as well as to commemorate those affected by the disease. Today, it is regarded as the longest-running disease awareness initiative of its kind in the history of public health.

The idea was first conceived by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter in August 1987. At the time, Bunn and Netter were working as public information officers for the World Health Organization’s Global Programme on AIDS.

Then, the following year, the first World AIDS Day was marked on December 1, which has remained the holiday’s official date.

There are several ways to commemorate the day, ways such as; visiting destitute children orphaned by the disease, sponsoring safe-sex campaigns, and lobbying governments to ramp up efforts to curb the spread of HIV.

More so, the day is always commemorated with a theme each year, so this year’s theme is ”End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics”, with a special focus on reaching people left behind.

WHO and its partners are highlighting the growing inequalities in access to essential HIV services. So on December 1, 2021, WHO is calling on global leaders and citizens to rally to confront the inequalities that drive AIDS and to reach people who are currently not receiving essential HIV services. 

The holiday is indeed for a global cause and a global good and that therefore makes it a very worthwhile one of the world’s favourite December Global Holidays.

Santa Lucia

global holidays in December

Santa Lucia is yet in the Religious Category, marked on December 13 in the list of the December global Holidays.

Reason for the Holiday: To pay tribute to Lucia of Syracuse.

Where It’s Marked: Scandinavia and Italy

Santa Lucia is a December Global Holiday celebrated in honour of Santa Lucia, who was an Italian Saint that died as a martyr, in the early 4th century.

According to legend, she usually brought food and aid to Christians hiding in the Roman catacombs, during the terror under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and to bring with her as many supplies as possible, she needed to have both her hands free, so she wore a candlelit wreath on her head to light her way and leave her hands free to carry as much food as possible.

To celebrate the feast, families have one of their daughters (traditionally the eldest) dress in white and serve coffee and baked goods, such as saffron bread (lussekatter) and ginger biscuits, to the other members of the family. These traditional foods are also given to visitors during the day. The girls wear actual candles on their heads with lights flickering on them(That part is quite scary though).


Yule December global Holida

Yule is in the Pagan category, the global holiday is marked from December 21 – January 1. 

Reason for the Holiday: The holiday is marked to pay tribute to the Norse god Odin. 

Where It’s Marked: Germany and various German communities around the world.

Yule is a December holiday marked by Germanic people around the world. The festival has pagan roots and can be traced back to the Norse god Odin as well as the Anglo-Saxon festival of Modraniht. Yuletide technically falls within the Winter Solstice, making it one of the oldest and popular December global holidays.

The Winter Solstice offers a perfect opportunity to get together with family and reflect on the year that has gone by and the year to come.

Typically, solstice means ‘sun stand still’, and this is the time when the sun seems to halt in the sky, and Yule is connected to the joy at the birth of the Sun God, child of the Goddess. It is therefore the turning point of the year when the days gradually become longer and the darkness of winter is overcome.

In case you asking why our ancestors held Solstice in such reverence, it was because their lives were governed by the sun, and the promise of its return of course was considered sacred, unlike today, that our relationship with the natural world has much less of an impact on our everyday lives. 

Yule is celebrated for twelve days starting on the Winter Solstice. During these twelve days, crops are harvested to make a meal, trees are decorated with pinecones, foliage, a huge log is lighted in a bonfire and people also spend the long night outdoors. 

Some people go-ahead to build a Yule altar, make an evergreen Yule wreath, or give back to Mother Nature. Candlelit dinners and Yule tree decorations are also common and yes, people also exchange nature-based gifts.

Amazing how each holiday always has the custom of gift exchange. That alone makes me a low-key wish, that every day was a global holiday.

Festivus Global Holiday

Festivus Global Holiday

Festivus is in the Parody or Secular category, marked on December 23.

Reason for the Holiday: The global holiday is celebrated to advocate against Christmas consumerism.

Where It is Marked: Worldwide, particularly in the United States

Festivus is a December holiday with a very parodical and secular nature. It happens on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season.

It was created by Daniel O’Keefe, an author then gained popularity after it was made the focus of the 1997 Seinfield episode ”The Strike” which O’Keefe’s son, co-wrote.

Some people are not just given to the hullabaloo and the festivities of the Christmas seasons so they created a sort of counter- opposite holiday to Christmas. It beats me though, how it has managed to continue over the years. I thought we all loved all that Christmas is about. 

Anyways, as portrayed in the Seinfeld episode, the holiday includes practices such as the “Airing of Grievances”, which occurs during the Festivus meal and in which each person tells everyone else all the ways they have disappointed them over the past year.

After the meal, the “Feats of Strength” are performed, this involves wrestling the head of the household to the floor, with the holiday ending only if the head of the household is pinned down. 


Christmas Global Holiday

This all-time December global holiday is in the Religious category and it is marked every December 25. It’s the most recognized December gloabl holidays amount christains.

Reason for the Holiday: To commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Where It’s Marked: Worldwide.

Christmas is unarguably the most popular December holiday. The day marks the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom Christians believe to be the last true prophet sent by God to save humanity from sin.

What sets Christmas apart from most religious festivals is that the day is generally celebrated even by non-Christians. 

 So the Christians celebrate it religiously while the non-Christians celebrate it culturally. Little wonder it is the most popular of December global holidays because everyone is involved somehow. 

However, one thing is noteworthy, which is the fact that the actual date and month of Jesus’ birth are unknown. Christmas was picked simply due to its correspondence with the winter solstice in the Roman calendar

This global holiday has so many customs like;

  • Gift giving
  • Completing an advent wreath
  • Playing and singing of Christmas carol.
  •  Watching a play about the birth of Jesus(usually acted out in churches).
  • Exchange of Christmas cards
  • Attending a church service is usually tagged as a ”Christmas service”.
  •  Preparing and sharing a special meal.
  • The display of various Christmas decorations, ranging from Christmas trees, Christmas lights, garlands, wreaths. Due to the gift-giving and all the other busyness of the Christmas holidays, that involves heightened economic activity, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for business people globally. 

Boxing Day

Boxing day

Boxing Day is in the General category and it is a global holiday marked on December 26.

Reason for the Holiday: Symbolism varies(people celebrate it for diverse reasons).

Where It is Marked: Worldwide.

Boxing Day is a global holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day (December 26th).

However, opinions have always been different on how Boxing Day came into being and how best to celebrate it.

Some people believe that this was the official day when churches gifted alms boxes to the poor after Christmas while others consider Boxing Day as the day to gift errand boys, postmen, and various kinds of servants, in appreciation for their services throughout the year. 

Meanwhile, the holiday originated in the United Kingdom and it is celebrated in several countries that previously formed part of the British Empire. 

This global holiday began in the Middle Ages, as the day when the alms box, collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people and some churches still open these boxes on Boxing Day, but in the 21st century, it has also become a day for shopping and engaging in sporting activities.

Kwanzaa Global Holiday 

Kwanzaa Global Holiday 

This global holiday is in the Cultural category and it is marked from December 26 – January 1.

Reason for the Holiday: To preserve certain African values, unity, and culture.

Where It’s Marked: Worldwide, particularly in the United States

Kwanzaa is a weeklong holiday held in the United States that honors African heritage in African – American culture. 

It is observed from December 26th to January 1st and is marked with gift-giving (as always) and a big feast. 

It was introduced in 1966 by Maulana Karenga to the United States as a ritual to welcome home the first harvests. Karenga created this festival for Afro-Americans as a response to the commercialism of Christmas.

It is safe to say that the Kwanzaa has similarities with Thanksgiving in the United States or the Yam Festival in Ghana and Nigeria. The word “Kwanzaa” is a Swahili (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania) word meaning “First”.

Kwanzaa is often celebrated with traditional African songs and dances, alongside reading and discussing various principles and values of the African culture. These events usually culminate in a large traditional meal at the end of each day and a mega feast called ‘Karamu’ on December 31.

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa isn’t just one of the December global holidays, it’s one with most principles.

  • Umoja (Unity) To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. 
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) 
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) 
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) 
  • Nia (Purpose) 
  • Kuumba (Creativity) 
  • Imani (Faith)

New Year’s Eve

New Year's EveIt is a global holiday in the General category, marked on December 31.

Reason for the Holiday: To mark the end of the year.

Where It is Marked: Worldwide.

The last December global holiday on this list also happens to fall on the very last day of the month and year.

New Year’s Eve is one outstanding December global holiday celebrated on the night of the last day of the year. People hang out at evening parties, to dance, eat, drink, and watch or light fireworks, while some Christians might attend a watch night service.

The celebrations generally go till midnight where shouts of joy are heard all over as the eve breaks into the dawn of the new year, January 1.

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