Get to the bottom of winter holiday traditions with this quiz.
Inside you’ll find out what’s up with Christmas trees, why Hanukkah lasts for eight nights, what Kwanzaa means, what the Japanese eat on Omisoka, and who celebrates Eid ul-Adha.
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Quiz: Holiday Confidential
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Italians give each other presents on December 25.
Traditionally, Italians do not receive gifts on Christmas– they get their presents on the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. And rather than waiting up for Santa Claus, Italians expect La Befana, an old woman who rides around on a broom delivering presents.
What does Kwanzaa mean?
This eight-day celebration of African heritage and unity traces its roots to harvest celebrations, and takes its name from the Swahili phrase "matunda ya Kwanzaa," which means "first fruits."
Which country celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12?
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated in Mexico– she is considered to be the countrys patron saint.
China celebrates New Years on January 1.
Since it is based on the lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year can be celebrated any time between late January and mid-February. 2008 marks the year of the Rat.
Hanukkah remembers the triumph of which Jewish figure?
Judah Maccabee led a small band of soldiers against the Syrian army in 165 B.C. They recaptured and rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem.
What does the Japanese holiday Omisoka celebrate?
Omisoka, or New Years Eve, is celebrated in Japan on December 31. It is customary to clean the entire house on this day and put up traditional decorations. Right before midnight temple bells are struck 108 times.
When was Kwanzaa first celebrated?
Dr. Maulana Karenga– professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach– developed the celebration of unity in the wake of the 1965 Watts riot. It is celebrated each year from December 26 through January 1.
Why is Christmas celebrated on December 25?
Various celebrations of the sun, including the Roman Saturnalia, were celebrated in late December, around the time of the winter solstice. In the 4th Century, Pope Julius declared December 25 to be Christmas, thus turning ancient festivals of the sun into a Christian festival of the Son.
Which religion celebrates Eid-ul-Adha?
Eid-ul-Adha is a Muslim celebration (this year it falls on December 20-23) recognizing Ibrahims (or Abrahams) faith. To celebrate the occasion, Muslims head to the Mosque to pray and to give thanks for all they have received. During this time it is customary to visit family and friends and to give gifts. Those who can give money to charity during Eid-ul-Adha so the poor can also celebrate the holiday.
What do young Swedish girls wear to commemorate St. Lucias Day?
While it is celebrated in several European countries, St. Lucia Day is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in Sweden. Traditionally, the oldest girl in the family dresses as St. Lucia, donning a white dress with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head. It is also customary to eat saffron buns for the occasion.
What do the Japanese traditionally eat to celebrate Omisoka?
It is customary to eat long noodles to ensure longevity and good luck in the coming year.
What will you find on a Kwanzaa table?
Corn symbolizes children; seven candles represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa; presents show the love parents have for their kids. Youll also find crops (which stand for labor), a mat (tradition), a special candle holder (African roots), and the Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup).
Why does Hanukkah span eight nights?
The Syrians had turned the Temple into a shrine to Zeus. When Judah rededicated the Temple, he found only enough oil to burn for one night. Tradition holds that it burned for eight.
Why are Christmas trees traditionally evergreens like pine, fir or spruce?
Evergreen boughs have been used since ancient times as a symbol of life. Unlike other trees, evergreens dont lose their leaves and look dead in winter. By the 17th Century, Northern Europeans were bringing full-sized evergreen trees into their homes as symbols of Gods eternal life.