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Celebrating the Month of December

The month of December is a month of celebration for many. Tomaro’s C.H.A.N.G.E.’s team would like to wish everyone a wonderful, peaceful, and joyous holiday, whichever holiday you may celebrate.

In honoring our community this year, we’d like to share a brief description of each holiday celebrated this month. Diversity and inclusion are something that we all should strive to embrace. With the new year approaching, let’s start here…

Kwanzaa – comes from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza,” which means to first fruits and is based on traditional African harvest festivals. Created in 1966 by a college professor, Maulana Karenga, the holiday celebrates African heritage and identity. Families celebrate from December 26th through January 1st by lighting seven candles and placing them around the home. The candles represent the Seven Principles or Nguzo Saba – the candles (symbols) are umoja meaning unity, kujichagulia meaning self-determination, ujima meaning collective work and responsibility, ujamaa meaning cooperative economics, nia meaning purpose, kuumba meaning productivity, and imani meaning faith.

Christmas – celebrated on December 25th, many people in the US celebrate the day of Jesus Christ’s birth. Because of the many cultures in the US, families celebrate Christmas differently. Some may go to church, most decorate their homes with trees and lights and celebrate the day with gifts and feasts.

Hanukkah – meaning dedication, celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple. The Jewish eight-day festival of lights is celebrated with menorah lighting each night. The Menorah holds nine flames, one of which is the shamash or attendant, used to kindle the other eight lights. A flame is lit on the first night of Hanukkah, with a new flame being lit each night thereafter until all eight flames are lit. Particular foods are eaten during this time as well, such as fried foods, potato latke (pancake) with applesauce or sour cream, and jelly-filled sufganiyah (doughnut).

Now that we have become a bit familiar with other traditions, join Tomaro’s C.H.A.N.G.E. in wishing peace, love, and light throughout the earth!

Tomaro Monique

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