Festivals in the Winter
(13 December 2017 - first day)
The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah takes place on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which is usually around December. It is the Jewish festival of lights and lasts for eight days, each day is represented by one of the eight arms of an elaborate candle stick called a Hanukkiya a ninth candle, the shamash is situated in the middle of the candle stick, this candle is used to light the other candles. Each night a new candle is lit until all eight of the candles are alight together.
Lighting the Hanukkiya reminds Jewish people of the time when the Temple of Jerusalem was re-captured and cleansed.
St Lucia's Day
(13 December, every year)
St Lucia is the patron saint of light, and in Sweden on the 13th December the festival of St Lucia is celebrated. In some towns or schools a girl is chosen to represent St Lucia in a procession. She is dressed in a long white dress with a large red sash and on her head she wears a crown of candles. In schools the carol called St Lucia is sung. It is traditional on this day to eat saffron flavoured buns called lussekatts, which have raisins in them.
Christingle is a Christian celebration that remembers God's gifts to the world. It is usually used as a time to think of children who are less fortunate than ourselves and to pray for them and give gifts of money to contribute to their well being. Christingle can take place any time of the year, but it is popular during the darker months of the year when a special atmosphere is created with the lighting of the candles.
What a Christingle symbolises:
The orange is the world; the candle, reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world; the red ribbon is the blood of christ; The four cocktail sticks are the seasons and and the fruit and sweets represent the food that we are given.
(25 December, every year)
Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ, held on the 25th December. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in a stable where Mary, Jesus' mother and Joseph his father had taken shelter. Nearby shepherds were visited by an angel who told them of Jesus' birth. Three wise men from the East also came looking for the baby following a bright star, they brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Many Christians meet for worship, at midnight mass on Christmas Eve, some churches also have crib services for children when the story of Jesus' birth is told. On Christmas day gifts are exchanged and families meet together to eat traditional fare of roast turkey followed by a rich fruit Christmas pudding. Christmas day and the following day known as Boxing day, are both public holidays in Christian countries. During the weeks leading up to Christmas people decorate their homes in many ways, most people have a fir tree decorated with lights, baubles, tinsel and chocolates.
It is a custom for children to hang up a stocking or sometimes a pillowcase on Christmas Eve in the hope that Father Christmas will visit them while they are asleep and leave presents.
(6 January, every year)
Epiphany is the Christian celebration of the revelation to the Gentiles of Jesus Christ as the Saviour, and is portrayed by the arrival of the Three Wise Men. The eve of Epiphany is known as "Twelfth Night".
Please note that we make no guarantees concerning the list of dates provided. We recommend you verify them for yourself before relying on them - and please let us know if you spot any inaccuracies.