The time around the winter solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years, and different religions have developed different festivals around this time.
Budhists celebrate Bodhi Day - The Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that Shakyamuni experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi) on December 8.
Hanukkah - the Festival of Lights, observed in Judaism for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.
In Ancient Roman Religion was a Festival Saturnalia (basically a festival of Solstice) held in honor of deity Saturn on the 17th of December and later expanded with festivities through to the 23rd of December.
Return of Yang, a festival celebrated by Daoists on December 21.
Yalda -The turning point, Winter Solstice, was celebrated early in the history of the Germanic peoples on December 21.
In Ancient Egypt religion, God-Man Saviour Osiris death and rebirth was celebrated on Dec 21.
In Ancient Greek religion, The Festival Lenaea, the death and rebirth of harvest God Dionysos, was celebrated on Dec 21.
In Ancient Inca religion, the Festival If Inti Raymi, the festival of Sun where the God of Sun, Wiracocha was celebrated on Dec 21.
Shabe Yaldā or Shabe Chelle is an Iranian festival celebrating the victory of light and goodness over darkness and evil, it is a birth of Mithra, who symbolizes light, truth, goodness, strength, and friendship. It is celebrated on December 22.
Anglo Saxon Pagans were holding Modraniht - The Night of Mothers, on December 24.
In Vainakh mythology, there a Malkh festival dedicated to the Deela - Malkh - the birthday and the festival of the Sun on December 25.
Hindus in USA celebrate modern five-day Festival in honor of Lord Ganesha on December 21 - 25
Christians celebrate Christmas - the birth of Jesus on December 25.
Chahārshanbe Suri is a fire jumping festival, celebrated in Iran and Afghanistan. Ancient Persians Zoroastrian celebrated the last 5 days of the year in their annual obligation feast of all souls.
In Islam, they do not celebrate solstice. The Muslim faith follows lunar and not solar phases. Consequently, the time of religious festivals in Islam changes every year with reference to other calendars.
Whatever you are celebrating, I wish you from my heart, a very peaceful Holidays season, filled with God's love and light.
With love and blessings
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Peter Hudoba is a spiritual teacher in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Master Sha's Soul Healing Centre Vancouver