Beyond the holidays

Celebrating different cultures in December

What a festive month to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. If you’re celebrating something in December, enjoy your special day.

Pearl Harbor Day is observed annually on Dec. 7 to honor the 2,400 citizens killed on that day in 1941 during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. It is not a national holiday, but a day of remembrance.

Have you heard of Human Rights Day? It is observed every year on Dec. 10. It commemorates the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. This year, Human Rights Day calls on everyone to stand up for someone’s rights, for someone who may be at risk of discrimination or violence.

Traditions, parties, food and shopping are some of the things that also come to mind when we think of December. It is enlightening to observe all kinds of holiday customs—like Christmas caroling, Hanukkah candle lighting, the seven principles of Kwanzaa, and granting gifts to service employees on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day, which takes place Dec. 26, began in the United Kingdom about 800 years ago and is celebrated in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, many European countries and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where I lived for many years. Traditionally, it’s the day when alms boxes, in which churches keep collections for the poor, are opened so that the contents can be distributed to the needy. Today, it’s also a day for great shopping and sales, in the spirit of the day after Thanksgiving, aka Black Friday.

I challenge everyone to explore the variety of rituals taking place during this busy month. Share what you gather with your family and neighbors, and share your findings with us through social media.

We will not be singing “Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!” in South Florida as we approach winter in a few weeks, but it will be a great time to enjoy our lovely parks and greenways. The weather should be ideal for concerts and movies in the park as well. Check out the Parks & Recreation section of our website ( to learn more.

‘Tis the season for giving. Consider reaching out to some of the social service groups in our community. I am sure they would appreciate a helping hand or some donations. Check for a list of nonprofits on our website in the “Living In” section.

As we prepare our New Year’s resolutions, know that the ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to have done so, making promises to the gods some 4,000 years ago to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. So perhaps not much has changed.

If ever you have any questions or suggestions, please call me at 954.803.7696 or email me at [email protected].

I wish you a great holiday season with your family and friends. Keep smiling.

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