Darkness and Light: December Highlights Diverse Holiday Traditions

December 13, 2017 BY Renee Limon

The stark contrast between dark and light define these waning days of late autumn as we approach the shortest day of the year, Winter Solstice, on December 21. In our chats at the front desk, families frequently mention how dark the mornings are when getting their kids ready for school, and how short the days seem this time of year. My teenage children are a little more dramatic: “It’s soooo dark and cold!”

It’s no wonder that so many of the fall and winter holidays feature darkness and light:

  • The menorah candles of Hanukkah, also called The Festival of Light
  • The diwa (oil lamps or candle-holders) of Diwali, a five-day festival of lights
  • The lighting of candles in the Kwanzaa kinara.
  • Fasting during daylight hours in the month of Ramadan
  • The burning of a yule log in celebration of Winter Solstice, or the return of the sun.
  • Candles, lit-up Christmas trees, and houses festooned with Christmas and secular holiday light displays.

For our craft project this month, we are creating art in celebration of the diverse holidays our families celebrate: the diya of Diwali, the Menorah of Hanukkah, and some snowflakes (just for fun).

In our waiting room, we’ve decorated our deciduous fall tree (which has finally lost all of its leaves) with snowflakes made by our clinic friends. You’ll also find short descriptions of Diwali, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Christmas, Hanukkah and Winter Solstice. The holiday posters are great conversation starters:

  • How many of the holiday observances feature lights or candles?
  • How many of the holidays have special colors?
  • Which of the holidays involve special, traditional foods or feasts?
  • Do you have friends who celebrate holidays that are different from those that your family observes?

As a reminder, our clinic will be closed for winter break during the last week of December so that our Hello family can spend time celebrating with loved ones. Please note that The Hello Clinic will be closed from Monday, December 25 through Monday, January 1, and will resume our regular schedule on Tuesday, January 2. All appointments during the winter break will be canceled. If you’d like to reschedule any missed sessions in the week before the break, or in the new year, please give us a call or stop by the front desk.

Wishing you all lightness in the dark and a joyful holiday season!