Message from the President
One of the joys of the holiday season is the opportunity to say thank you and wish you the very best for the New Year.
Below is a little holiday history, provided by Spectrum News 13 in Orlando, Florida.
The holiday season is a time of peace, celebration and reflection for many. Learn more about the customs and traditions behind this magical time of year.
Christmas, coming from humble beginnings, has evolved into arguably the largest celebration in the world.
Roman Catholics and Protestants celebrate the birth of Jesus on Dec. 25.
The familiar Nativity scene seen around town every year refers to the biblical story. According to accounts in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus was born to the Virgin Mary in the city of Bethlehem, in what is now known as the West Bank.
Christians believe Jesus is the son of God, sent to Earth to wipe clean the sins of mankind, and that his birth fulfilled prophecies made hundreds of years earlier.
Over time, Christmas celebrations adopted many of the traditions still celebrated today, such as the Christmas tree, Santa Claus and giving gifts.
In Hebrew, the word "Hanukkah" means "dedication." It is also known as the Festival of Lights, and is an eight-day Jewish holiday.
It begins every year on the 25th day of the month of Kislev, which falls between late November and late December.
The holiday commemorates the rededication of the holy temple in Jerusalem after the Jews' victory over the Hellenist Syrians in 165 B.C.E.
This festival of Hanukkah is observed in Jewish homes by lighting the eight candles on the menorah each night of the holiday, one on the first night, two on the second night, etc., from the ninth, larger candle, called the "shamash" or "servant."
Kwanzaa is not a celebration where you buy gifts or decorate your home. It is a celebration of unity and family, and doing special things for one another.
Kwanzaa is a growing tradition, created in 1966. The word Kwanzaa is Swahili for "first fruits." It is a celebration of the African harvest, observed from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.
The seven-day observance encourages African-American families to re-explore and strengthen their heritage, and do special things for each other.
A candle is lit every day during the seven days of Kwanzaa. The candles represent:
Wishing you a Joyous Holiday Season,
Dawn R. Crawford