Multicultural winter holidays

Holidays other than Christmas are celebrated during the holiday season. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated instead of Christmas.

Wendy Cardwell

Different cultures celebrate an assortment of winter holidays. Some of these holidays include Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, falls on different dates between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20 every year. The next New Year Day falls on Feb. 19, 2015. The New Year’s Eve dinner is a feast of fish, noodles and dumplings.


Jewish individuals celebrate Hanukkah, a holiday honoring the Maccabees’ victory over King Antiochus, who forbade Jews to practice their religion. For eight nights, Hanukkah is celebrated with prayer, the lighting of the menorah and food.


Kwanzaa lasts one week during which participants gather with family and friends to exchange gifts and to light a series of black, red and green candles. The candles symbolize the seven basic values of African-American family life: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, and creativity and faith.


Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. In the United States, among other countries, Christmas brings together many customs from other countries and cultures.

Around the world, family members help to decorate the tree and home with bright lights, wreaths, candles, mistletoe and ornaments. On Christmas Eve, many people go to church. Children also await the arrival of Santa Claus, a figure believed to deliver gifts on a sleigh on Christmas Eve.

To read about how ISU students celebrate multicultural holidays, click here.