December Holidays: 16 Spectacular Holidays Celebrated In December Around the World

Merry December Holidays Celebrated Around the World

In December, joy, warmth and festivities fill the air. As winter settles in and the year is rounded off, people from different backgrounds gather to celebrate a wide range of festivals. Let’s explore some of the most celebrated and fascinating December holidays from around the world.

16 Merry December Holidays

Want to know about the most heart-warming winter holidays around the world? 

Holidays celebrated in December offer a window into the different customs and practices that make our world colorful. Here are some of the most absorbing and enchanting December holidays celebrated across different parts of the world.

Let’s dive in to explore the best December global festivities and holidays in December 2023.

1. Christmas: A Time for Love and Giving

Christmas is one of the most popularly recognized events that takes place in December. It’s a Christian holiday commemorating Jesus Christ’s birth which is observed by millions of Christians worldwide. 

Christmas is a time for people to bring their families together, receive or give gifts, decorate trees and share love among each other. 

The sight of houses adorned with twinkling lights and the sound of melodious carols during Christmas provides an atmosphere of festivity that cannot be explained in words. Christmas is one of the most popular December holidays.

But apart from this, there are many other holidays around Christmas celebrated worldwide. Let’s take a look at some of the best holidays in December 2023.

Related: 13 Wackiest And Fun Christmas Traditions Around The World

2. Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights

When talking about holidays celebrated in December, we simply can’t miss Hanukkah. It is also known as the festival of lights which holds great significance among Jewish people during December. 

This holiday lasts for eight days since it marks when oil in a Jewish temple lasted for only seven days but ended up lasting for eight days without being finished. 

Each night families add another candle to their menorahs, which are special candelabras used during this period. Furthermore, delicious foods such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts) are savored during this festive season. 

Hanukkah, one of the most celebrated winter holidays around the world, represents an opportunity for families to come together through games while spreading light of hope.

3. Kwanzaa: A Celebration of African Heritage

Kwanzaa is one of the cultural December global festivities celebrated within African American communities from December 26th to January 1st. It was created in 1966 and it pays tribute to African heritage, unity and the Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles).

Families use the kinara, which is a candle holder with seven candles representing these principles, and light them up daily. It is a time for reflection, storytelling, music and artistic expressions that celebrate African culture and unity.

4. Saint Nicholas Day: A Time for Gifts and Kindness

Saint Nicholas day is held on December 6th in many European countries; it is an occasion that brings joy and generosity. It commemorates Saint Nicholas, known as the protector of children and sailors. 

On this day, children wake up to find their shoes filled with small gifts, candies, and treats left by Santa Claus himself. It encourages acts of kindness that remind us about happiness when we give to others.

5. Bodhi Day: Enlightenment through Meditation

Bodhi Day is one of the holidays celebrated in December  8th as a Buddhist holiday remembering the day Siddhartha Gautama, the person who became Buddha, attained enlightenment. In commemoration of this event, Buddhists around the world meditate, read scriptures or do acts of charity towards those who are suffering. 

They use this period to reflect upon themselves through peaceful meditation in search for spiritual awakening.

Looking for more interesting winter holidays around the world? Read on for more holidays around Christmas.

Related: 19 Best Netflix Christmas Movies To Watch With Family And Friends

6. Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe: An Iconic Mexican Celebration

On December 12, there is a big celebration in Mexico and among Mexican Americans. It is the fiesta day of Our Lady of Guadalupe which is one of the oldest religious and cultural holidays in the country. 

On this day, people remember how the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, an indigenous man, in 1531. There are parades, music, traditional dances and other forms of devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe. 

The festival cements relationships between different societies that share such faith and traditions, thus strengthening their faith.

7. Pancha Ganapati: A Hindu Celebration for Lord Ganesha

From December 21 to 25 every year, there has been a Hindu holiday called Pancha Ganapati. This religious event commemorates Lord Ganesha who is known as an elephant-headed God connected with wisdom and new beginnings. This is one of the most spiritual December holidays.

Families make a special place at home for Pancha Ganapati’s idol where they pray, sing devotional songs and hold feasts together. Each following day carries a specific theme namely love; forgiveness; unity; positive attitude towards life etc.

Lingering questions may be asked if anything could possibly be better than just love; forgiveness; unity or any other pertinent aspect of life revealed through this sermon. Pancha Ganapati usually brings family members closer leading them to greater unity through acts of love.

Looking for more holidays celebrated in December ? Let’s take a look at some more joyful holidays in December 2023.

8. Boxing Day: The Day of Giving Back

This is one of the December global festivities that is celebrated in many countries such as Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Boxing Day is widely celebrated on December 26th, although it is not strictly a December holiday. 

It was originally about helping needy persons out. They used to box food, clothes and other useful items to give away as donations. This has evolved to shopping sales and sports events associated with Boxing Day. 

However, many people still volunteer, donate to charities or see their family members. This is one of the most unique holidays around Christmas.

9. Dongzhi Festival: Embracing the Winter Solstice

In East Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, and Singapore, the Dongzhi Festival is celebrated on the winter solstice, which usually falls on December 21st or 22nd. The festival emphasizes the importance of harmony, balance, and preservation of one’s well-being during the cold winter months. 

Families gather to enjoy hearty meals – particularly bowls of tangyuan; sweet rice and dumplings, which represent unity. Dongzhi means “arrival of winter”; it’s a way to mark the longest night and welcome longer daylight. 

10. Feast of the Immaculate Conception: A Catholic Celebration

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a significant Catholic holiday observed on December 8th. The holiday encourages reflection, piety, and devotion to Mary. 

Catholics attend special church services, pray and honor Virgin Mary who played an important part in Jesus Christ’s birth. In some countries like Spain and Italy there are processions held to honor Immaculate Conception. This is one of the holiest winter holidays around the world.

Related: 15 Holiday Movies To Blend Perfectly With Your Festive Mood

11. Yule: Celebrating the Winter Solstice

Yule is a pagan festival celebrated by modern Wiccans and other neopagans around the world. It coincides with the winter solstice and typically takes place from December 21st to January 1st. 

Festivities often include lighting Yule logs, decorating evergreen trees, exchanging gifts, and feasting with loved ones. Yule embraces the cycles of nature; light in darkness; renewal of life.

12. Sinterklaas: Dutch Tradition Comes to Life

Sinterklaas, which is celebrated every 5th December in the Netherlands and among Dutch communities worldwide, is a festival rich in folklore and tradition. It entails Sinterklaas who comes from Spain on a steamboat with his helpers because it’s part of their tradition

In the night, children leave their boots out to be filled by Santa Claus known as Sinterklaas with presents and sweets. The season is marked by parades, processions, and other festive gatherings. Captivating young and old alike, it brings magic and enthusiasm into many households.

13. Mawlid al-Nabi: Honoring the Prophet Muhammad

This is another holy holidays around Christmas. Mawlid al-Nabi is one of the important Islamic holidays held in December which also means the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims celebrate this date depending on how the Islamic calendar falls. 

This is one of the December holidays where Muslims remember and honor the life of Prophet Muhammad through various ways they conduct themselves. This includes decorating Mosques for prayer services where believers assemble for sermons and recitals of Quran chapters. 

It is a time when people think about their lives, give thanks for what they have, and work to create a more peaceful world.

But wait, we are not done yet with our list of holidays in December 2023. Here are some more December global festivities that you should know about.

14. Las Posadas: Reenacting the Nativity Scene

Las Posadas take place from December 16th through to December 24th; it is a beloved Mexican custom. The holiday reenacts Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem. 

A procession goes from house to house singing traditional songs asking for lodging along the way. On the final night, there is a nativity scene that begins with families getting together for feasts that commemorate Jesus’s birth. 

Las Posadas’ significance lies in its sense of hospitality as well as compassion coupled with community support.

Related: Alone On Christmas? 51 Surprisingly Interesting Things To Do On Christmas Alone

15. St. Lucia’s Day: Festival of Light in Scandinavia

St. Lucia’s Day, which falls on December 13th is a feast of light observed in Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Norway. It is held to honor St. Lucy, a martyr of the Christendom who is a symbol of light and hope.

Traditionally, a girl is chosen to portray St. Lucy dressed in white gown with candles on her head as a crown. She leads the procession illuminating people’s homes and bringing warmth to them.

The day after St. Lucia marks beginning of the Christmas season and a reminder to bring light into dark places.

16. Omisoka: Japanese New Year’s Eve

This is one of the most interesting holidays celebrated in December . Omisoka meaning “the last day of the year” is an important Japanese holiday celebrated on December 31st. It is time for reflection, purification and preparation for the New Year ahead. 

Families gather around to clean their homes, have a meal called toshikoshi soba (buckwheat noodles), and visit temples or shrines for prayers and blessings.

Towards midnight they ring temple bells 108 times denoting elimination of human desires within them. Omisoka denotes revival in life and hope for success during the coming year.


December is a month of many types of celebrations which are important to people in different parts of the world. Among these is Christmas, a happy time when everyone is celebrating, and Hanukah, which involves kindling lights on menorahs as symbols. 

Such events make us understand the significance of love, togetherness, giving and spirituality. For instance through gifts sharing, lighting candles or observing cultural practices during December holidays; they touch our hearts and we will always remember them. 

Therefore, kindly welcome the warmth of December with open arms because it’s a season that brings joy and happiness into your lives.

Related: Hate Christmas: 8 Things I Hate About Christmas and Reason Why

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is the special holiday in December?

December, in various countries of the world, is a time when Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve are celebrated for people to have fun and adhere to their customs.

Which is the national day on December 28?

December 28th has been designated as National Chocolate Candy Day, also known as an occasion to revel in different kinds of chocolate sweets.

Which national day falls on December 14?

December 14 is National Bouillabaisse Day, a day to enjoy and savor the traditional French fisherman’s stew known as bouillabaisse.

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