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Events of the month

2000-DECEMBER

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December is a special month in terms of religious celebrations and observances. Many of the most important days of the world's main religions occur during this month. 

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DEC-1: This is World AIDS Day. AIDS has killed about 15 million people; over 50 million are infected -- mostly among African heterosexuals.

bulletDEC-3: This is the First Sunday in Advent, (a.k.a. Advent Sunday). Advent is a series of Christian observances on the Sundays leading up to Christmas. It starts on the Sunday that is nearest to NOV-30, St. Andrew's Day. 2 The Roman Catholic Church forbids marriages during Advent. 3
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DEC-6: In Canada, this is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. On 1989-DEC-6, a deranged gunman, entered the École Polytechique de Montréal. His application to the school had been rejected. He blamed feminists for ruining his life. He shot 27 people: 23 women and 4 men. 14 women died. All the men survived.

bulletDEC-7: Jains celebrate Maunajiyaras, a day of fasting, silence, and meditation on the five holy teachers of Jainism. 
bulletDEC-8: This is The feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated by Roman Catholics. The feast is linked to the date 1854-DEC-8, when Pope Pius IX formally defined the dogma infallibly as a required belief. Many believe that it refers to the conception of Jesus circa 6 BCE. In fact, it refers to the conception of Jesus' mother Mary circa 24 BCE. 
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DEC-8: Bodhi Day (a.k.a. Rohatsu) is when Buddhist celebrate the enlightenment of the Buddha in 596 BCE. It is sometimes celebrated on the Sunday before DEC-8. 4

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DEC-10: This is Human Rights Day, DEC-10, the 52nd anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  "The 1000 Lamp Mandala Ceremony" is celebrated around the world to promote peace in Tibet and elsewhere.

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DEC-22: The first day of an 8 day Jewish festival of Hanukkah, (a.k.a. Chanukah, Feast of Lights, Feast of Dedication.) It recalls the war fought by the Maccabees in the cause of religious freedom.

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DEC-21: The Winter Solstice happens on this day at 13:37 ET. It is celebrated by many Aboriginal and Neopagan religions around the world. It is called Yule by Wiccans, who consider it one of the four minor Sabbats. The longest night and shortest daytime occurs on this day.

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DEC-25: Celebration of Christmas, the nominal birth date of Jesus Christ, by the western churches which follow the Gregorian calendar. Most theologians believe that Jesus was born between 4 and 7 BCE, perhaps in the fall.

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DEC-26: This is the first day of a week-long celebration of Kwanza (a.k.a. Kwanzaa, Quansa) - a cultural holiday celebrating African-American heritage. "Kwanza" is a Swahili word for "the first," or "the first fruits of the harvest". 

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DEC-26: Boxing Day is celebrated in Australia, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Canada, New Zealand and the UK. It is apparently related to an old custom of giving cash or presents to poor people. However, nobody really knows for certain why the "Box" got into "Boxing Day." Theories abound. It is listed in the Canada Labour Code as a holiday.

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DEC-27: The probable date of Id al-Fitr, (a.k.a. Eid-ul-Fitr) the last day of Ramadan. This is the holiest period in the Islamic year. It recalls the lunar month in which the Qura'n was revealed to humanity. The end of Ramadan may be offset from this day, because it is dependent on the sighting of the crescent moon.

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DEC-31: New Year's Eve. This is really the last day of the millennium. Others regard 1999-DEC-31 as the last day. 

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Although care was taken in the preparation of this list, we cannot accept responsibility for any errors or their consequences.

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Reference:

  1. Helen T. Gray, "Keeping faith during the holidays," Kansas City Star, 1999-DEC-17. It is a brief article on how followers of four religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Wicca) celebrate their faith near the end of December. Online at: http://www.kcstar.com/item/pages/fyi.pat,fyi/ 

  2. "Music for the first Sunday of Advent," at: http://www.jwpepper.com/advent1.html 

  3. "First Sunday of Advent," at: http://www3.kumc.edu/diversity/ethnic_relig/advent.html 

  4. "Bodhi Day: Anniversary of Buddha's Enlightenment" at: http://209.52.189.2/article.cfm/1932/15119 

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