Three Holidays for Gift Giving and Family Time

CHRISTMAS

 presentsBy: Alyssa A. & Kenadi K., staff writers

What’s your favorite holiday? Ours is Christmas! Giving and getting presents, and eating sweets are really wonderful! However, do you know what Christmas is really about? Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is celebrated on December 25th.

Christmas is generally celebrated by Christians. On the night before Christmas (Christmas Eve) many Christians gather at church, like on Sunday, except this is 11 at night until midnight. The real reason we celebrate is because that was the day Jesus was born. The angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds guarding their sheep and said, “Do not be afraid. I bring good news that will cause great joy for all people.  Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Joseph and Mary had been traveling and it became time to find a place to have the baby. Everywhere they tried it was full, but finally they found an Inn that was full, but were told they could stay in the barn. So, Mary gave birth and Jesus was born in a manger. This is the real reason we celebrate Christmas. It’s not to just be greedy and have everyone buy you presents. The reason we get presents is because the three wise men came with presents to worship the baby, because they were told that he would one day be their new king.

Do you want to know why they call it Christmas? The reason is because Jesus’ title is “Christ” and “mas” comes from the word Mass, which is a large service for where the Lord’s Supper is taken. Once a year they would have one for Jesus and his birth, which was called the Christ’s Mass. When you put it all together you would get the word Christmas.

Now that you know why we celebrate, maybe this year you’ll be more grateful, even if you don’t get the present that you want.

 

   Eid – A Muslim Holiday!

  By Dustyn C., staff writer

Eid? What is it? If you have never heard of this celebration, Eid means solemn festival. Eid is a great, wondrous Muslim holiday based on the aspect on gift-giving and family time. The Eid al-Adha is the “festival of the sacrifice”, and it fell on October 15th in 2013, lasting four days.

It celebrates the occasion when Allah appeared to Ibrahim in a dream and asked him to sacrifice his son Isma’il as an act of obedience to God. The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey Allah and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to kill his son, Allah stopped him and gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead.

Today, Muslims all over the world who can afford it sacrifice a sheep as a reminder of Ibrahim’s obedience to Allah. They share the meat among family, friends and the poor.

Eid is a very interesting holiday, with tradition and celebration, it’s unique and it is a holiday everyone needs to know about.

  Traditions of Hanukkah

By: Bryan L. & Jenny C., staff writers

When there is delicious food frying in the pan, candles being lit, and dreidels being used, we know it’s time for Hanukkah! Some of us may have heard about this holiday, but not many of us go into depth about Hanukkah and know the facts like how it started and why it’s celebrated.

 History

 In Hebrew, the word “hanukkah” means “dedication.” The name reminds us that this holiday celebrates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

In 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods.

Jewish resistance began in the village of Modiin, near Jerusalem.  A Greek officer ordered Mattathias, a High Priest, to obey the commands, but a fight took place and Greek soldiers were killed.

Mattathias and his family went into hiding in the mountains, where other Jews, known as Maccabees, who wanted to fight against the Greeks, joined them. Eventually they succeeded in retaking their land from the Greeks.

Once the Maccabees had regained control they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem. By this time it had been spiritually defiled by being used for the worship of foreign gods and also by practices such as sacrificing swine. Jewish troops were determined to purify the Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days. But to their dismay, they discovered that there was only one day’s worth of oil left in the Temple. They lit the menorah anyway and to their surprise the small amount of oil lasted the full eight days.

Today, Jews celebrate the eight days of Hanukkah by give gifts and lighting a candle each night.

Food

There is great food like Sufganiyot, which is a fried donut that has powdered sugar, custard, or jelly on or in it. There is also something called latke which is a potato pancake. They even eat some cheese products as well.

Traditions

The most important tradition to keep is to light the menorah. They light the menorah from left to right. They would then play a game with a dreidel, which is a spinning top with Hebrew letters on each side. Whatever side it lands on you will or will not get something. On the last day of Hanukkah there is a big celebration.

These are the amazing things about Hanukkah. They play games, celebrate, give gifts, and eat, for 8 days. These are the traditions of Hanukkah.

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