Info about Kwanzaa event

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we now enter the finish line with the month of December. In the month of December, you see it all. Deck The Halls With Boughs of Holly. Jingle Bells. The barrage of Christmas-themed ads on television. The shopping malls stock full of customers shopping for loved ones, friends, and themselves.

However, not everyone is in the Christmas spirit. Not necessarily because they are the offspring of Ebenezer Scrooge. Perhaps the reason is because there are people out there do not celebrate Christmas, but another alternative holiday.

There are plenty of alternative holidays around, for those who aren’t into sneaking a kiss with their lover under the mistletoe, or the annual television airings of It’s A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story.

There are a few alternative holiday celebrations in the Columbus area for those that celebrate Chanukah or Kwanzaa, which are the two biggest alternative holidays during the holiday season.

Chanukah, or Hanukkah, is the Jewish Festival of Lights. The origin of Chanukah dates back to when the candles were supposed to be lit for one night. However, one night ended up being eight, and that was the story of how Chanukah was born. A candle is lit for each night of Chanukah on a Menorah.

Sure, there are Chanukah songs out there, nearly not enough Chanukah songs to play around the clock on radio stations, or alternative holidays. In 2018, WCRS-FM Radio program The DJBC Happy Hour aired a Chanukah-themed show, playing songs about Chanukah or songs with deep Jewish themes.

December 22 marks the first night of Chanukah in 2019. Chanukah does not get bigger in Central Ohio than in the City of Bexley, which has the largest Jewish population in Central Ohio.

Last year, Bexley broke from tradition of having the Menorah Lighting at Drexel Circle, at the corner of Broad Street and Drexel Avenue, and moved the Menorah Lighting to nearby Jeffrey Park, where a helicopter dropped down dreidels and Gelt candy below. This year, the date for the Bexley Lighting Ceremony event has yet to be announced.

The Easton Town Center also celebrates Chanukah. The Easton Menorah is lit usually on the Saturday evening during the eight days of Chanukah. This year, the Easton Town Center Menorah Lighting, in partnership with the Easton Town Center and Chabad of Columbus, will be held on December 28 at 7:30 at the Easton Town Square, just to the south of the mall, right next to the Christmas tree.

Kwanzaa is celebrated every year from December 26 to January 1. According to the Official Website for Kwanzaa, the cultural holiday was originated by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. Karenga was an Africana Studies professor at California State University Long Beach, who advocated for the preservation and revitalization of African-American culture, as the Black Freedom Movement was taking place in the United States in that era. Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase of “Matunda ya Kwanzaa,” which translates into “First Fruits.”

Kwanzaa celebrates Seven Principles (or the Nguzo Saba) – Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Similar to Chanukah, a candle is lit on each night of Kwanzaa on a Kinara, which has three red candles, three green candles, and one black candle.

The City of Columbus celebrates Kwanzaa at the King Arts Complex, nightly from December 26 to December 30, beginning with a Drum Call Procession at 6 P.M. on December 26. According to the Columbus Kwanzaa Website, the Celebration of Kwanzaa celebrates Black Love, Black Family, and Black-Owned Businesses.

The Classic episode of Seinfeld, “The Strike,” introduced us to the holiday of Festivus. The holiday, celebrated on December 23, is about airing grievances. In Franklinton, Festivus is not the airing of grievances, rather than a weekend-long holiday arts and crafts show at 400 West Rich and neighboring Chromedge Studios in the Franklinton Arts District, that kicks off on the second full weekend of December. This year’s Festivus is December 13 through December 15.

There are other winter holidays, such as the Winter Solstice and Yule, which don’t get recognized.  Boxing Day, celebrated the day after Christmas, is often attached as a government holiday in several countries under the British Commonwealth, such as Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

According to the History Channel, the origin of Boxing Day refers to the “Christmas Boxes” of “small gifts, money, and leftovers from Christmas Dinner” given by aristocrats to their household servants and employees, as a way to pay it forward to the servants who had to work on December 25.”

No matter if we celebrate with a Norman Rockwell-esque Christmas tree, a Menorah, a Kinara, or airing our grievances while celebrating the Winter Solstice, there are never a shortage of holidays in December.