As we close out 2023, the last two months of the year, November and December, have many religious, spiritual, and cultural holidays.
Learn more about the holidays that happened in September and October and check out some of the holidays being celebrated in the coming weeks.
Some holidays happening in November and December are:
Samhain: A Pagan and Wiccan festival marking the end of the harvest season, considered the Wiccan new year.
All Saints Day: Also known as All Hallows Day, is a day to honor all saints from Christian history, understanding that there is a spiritual connection between heaven and earth.
Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead): Traditionally celebrated on November 1 and 2 in contemporary Mexico and among those of Mexican heritage in the U.S. On this day, souls of the dead return to visit their living family members, with many people celebrating by visiting the graves of deceased loved ones and setting up ofrendas (altars) with their favorite foods, drink, and photos. A few prominent symbols related to the Day of the Dead include calacas (skeletons) and calaveras (skulls). You can wish someone a happy Day of the Dead by saying, “Feliz día de los Muertos.”
Diwali: A 5-day festival of lights celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains. Diwali focuses on celebrating various gods and goddesses. The day before Diwali, homes are cleaned and decorated with flowers, and white is painted on the front door to bring good luck. The Festival of Lights features lamps lit everywhere for the entire five days to ensure that Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess that brings good fortune, finds her way home.
Read: Queering Deepavali By Raja G. Bhattar
Read: Lighting Lamps at the People’s House By Tahil Sharma
Read: From Hindus for Human Rights, Reflections on a Multi-Faith Deepavali By Harita Iswara
Jain New Year: A day celebrated on the first day after the month of Kartika and the ritual of Snatra Puja, where supreme beings are praised, is performed at the temple.
Guru Nanak Ji’s Birthday: A day commemorating the birth of Guru Nanak Ji who founded Sikhism
November is Native American Heritage Month which celebrates the contributions — including cultures, traditions, and histories — of Indigenous people to the United States.
Advent: (originates from the Latin word, adventus, meaning “coming”) A season observed by the Christian calendar as a time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus (celebrated at Christmas on December 25).
December 7 – 15
Hanukkah (Chanukah): An 8-day celebration in the Jewish faith that is the “festival of lights,” during which gifts are given, and each day a candle of the Menorah is ritualistically lit. Other observances include dreidel games and serving of the traditional latke pancake.
Read: The Maccabees and Me: How I Learned to Love Hanukkah By Rachel Tingley
Feast of the Immaculate Conception: The day that Roman Catholics celebrate Mary’s conception without original sin.
Bodhi Day: The Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that Gautama Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, also known as “bodhi” in Sanskrit and Pali. Bodhi Day generally is observed quietly, and may include meditation or chanting practices, bodhi tree decorations or simple tea and cookies.
Our Lady of Guadalupe (Feast Day): Commemorating the appearance of the Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego, an Indigenous man, in Mexico in 1531. The feast day is an important holiday in Mexico as well for Mexican Americans to celebrate their religious and cultural identity.
Las Posadas: (“The Inns” in Spanish) A religious festival celebrated in Mexico and parts of the U.S. during the Christmas season, commemorating the journey that Joseph and Mary made to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. Each evening during the festival, a child is dressed as an angel and leads a procession through the streets of the town.
December 21 to January 1
Yule: A Pagan and Wiccan holiday that celebrates the winter solstice, where themes of light, fire, and feasting are common threads.
Guru Gobind Singh’s Birthday: Commemorates the birth of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru and spiritual leader.
Christmas: An important Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus.
St. Stephen’s Feast Day: The day commemorating St. Stephen’s life and service to the poor as he became the first Christian martyr.
December 26 – January 1
Kwanzaa: Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African American culture, with a communal feast called Karamu, usually on the sixth day. Traditions often include combined aspects of several different harvest celebrations as well as songs, dances, storytelling, and a shared meal.
A Potluck Nation awaits. But we cannot do it alone.
Join us at the table, as we build interfaith America the nation.