This holiday season, in which people around the world are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the beginning of a New Year, will be filled with mixed emotions.
On the one hand, there is the great joy that these very special occasions always bring to us, even in challenging times. On the other, we remain in the grip of a pandemic that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives, endangers millions more, devastated national economies, and now will keep countless families and friends apart just when being together is so important.
But this is a season of hope and faith as well as joy. We know that vaccines are going into global distribution. If this brings the ordeal to an end, the time is not so far away when we will be able to return to more normal lives, and that Americans will once again, as we have so often done in the past, restore our economy to full health and renewed growth.
And so while our celebrations of this holiday season may be limited, let them not be muted. Let us take cheer in the knowledge that better days are ahead.
There are many different ways that people mark these special days. Here are some little-known facts about them that may interest you:
- The three traditional colors used for most Christmas decorations have religious significance: Red for the blood of Jesus Christ, green for his resurrection and gold for his status as King of Kings.
- “The Messiah,” an oratorio by George Frederick Handel that is now a Christmas tradition, was first performed in Dublin in 1742.
- Hanukkah commemorates the triumph of a band of Jewish rebels known as the Maccabees in reclaiming their temple from the Greek-Syrians.
- Hanukkah dishes are fried in oil for a reason: It commemorates the miracle oil that burned for eight straight nights.
- The word “Kwanzaa” is derived from Swahili and translates as “first fruits of the harvest.”
- The seven days of the Kwanzaa celebration correspond with seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
Best wishes for a joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year. And please stay healthy and safe.
Robert L. Dilenschneider is founder and chairman of The Dilenschneider Group, a global public relations and communications consulting firm headquartered in New York City. The former CEO of Hill and Knowlton, Inc., he is also author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling “Power and Influence.”