By: Hayley Fick
While Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are not the only holidays celebrated throughout the world, they are the top three that most students learn about in school every winter. Luckily, Austin is such a diverse place that you don’t have to learn about the holidays from afar. You can go out and experience them yourself.
Last year Austin celebrated Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community and culture that is rooted in African traditions according to the official Kwanzaa website, in many festive ways. Florists prepared Kwanzaa arrangements that complimented the candles lit in Kwanzaa. The Austin Public Library held an event with storytelling, music, and art that brought Kwanzaa to life, and The Austin American Statesman even published a story that answered 10 Kwanzaa questions.
Hanukkah, which means dedication in Hebrew, is an 8-day-long Jewish holiday observed through lighting a candle each day on the menorah. It commemorates a miracle that occurred at around 164 B.C. at the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The people there witnessed what was only enough oil to keep the menorah lit for one day stay lit for 8 nights, according to history.com. Shalom Austin, the Jewish Community Association of Austin, has a calendar of events you can use to find Hanukkah celebrations in Austin.
Austin’s most famous Christmas celebration, Trail of Lights, started in 1965. After a few years without a sponsor, Trail of Lights will take place again and be sponsored by HEB this year at Zilker Park on December 16-23. Walk through intricate light displays, drink hot chocolate, and experience the Austin community.
With the holidays just around the corner, stay on the lookout for fun and most of the time free events to celebrate another culture. You may find that there are more similarities than differences.