The World Health Organization promotes this day to emphasize greater awareness and education about AIDS.
This date marks the beginning of Advent when the Western Christian ecclesiastical year begins. The celebration starts on the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Andrew on November 30 and continues throughout December on each Sunday to Christmas Eve on the 25th. The notable symbol for this celebration is the Advent wreath, a tradition that harkens back to the folk practices of the pre-Christian Germanic people. The Eastern Orthodox Christian churches do not recognize Advent, but do celebrate a Winter Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer and reflection that comes to an end on Christmas Eve.
The United Nations established this national observance to promote understanding of disability issues and to encourage support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. The observance also seeks to create greater awareness about integrating people with disabilities into all aspects of life.
This day marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration in the Netherlands. Saint Nicholas, "Sinterklaas," makes his appearance in a variety of ways: riding on a white horse in local parades, or on a barge, or even a motorcycle decked out in a bishop's hat and a red cape. In the evening, families have house parties and gifts are exchanged and children put out their shoes filled with carrots and hay for Sinterklass' horse. In the morning, children find their shoes filled with gifts.
On this fateful day, Christopher Columbus landed on the shores of what is now called Haiti in 1492.
On this day, Peru's quest for independence from Spain was realized. Antonio José de Sucre succeeded in finally defeating the Spanish forces in 1824.
In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first such statement of the principles for human life by an international organization. The Declaration, intended as a "common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations," sets forth the basic civil, economic, political and social rights that should be guaranteed to every person.
Considered the foremost novelist of the Arab world, he is the only Arab writer to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature (1988). Mahfouz told the stories of more than 50 years of Egypt's modern development with 33 novels, 13 short-story anthologies and dozens of screenplays and several plays. His work was recognized by the Swedish Academy of Letters as "an Arabian narrative art that applies to all mankind." One of his most well-known works is, The Cairo Trilogy (Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street), published in the 1950s that portrays three generations of an Egyptian family between 1917 and right before the end of World War II. Their daily life centers around the clash between tradition and modernity amidst the struggle for Egypt's independence from Britian.
This day celebrates the patron saint of Mexico, the Virgin of Guadalupe, whose basilica in northern Mexico City witnesses a parade of thousands of pilgrims each year. The basilica, a sacred religious site, was built on the spot where a peasant, Juan Diego, reported to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary, who ordered him to go tell the Bishop of Mexico to build a church on this site. The tapestry of the image of the Virgin and Juan Diego hangs in the basilica, its origin unclear.
Sitting Bull, considered a spiritual and military leader, fought and negotiated throughout his life to maintain his people's way of life and their right to their lands in the Black Hills in the United States. He led the army of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors who decimated the U.S. Army contingent under the command of General George Custer at Little Bighorn in 1876. He continued to lead the resistance against the displacement of his people and the demand for assimilation even after most of his followers had given up. He was killed on this date, while under arrest, when a confrontation erupted between his followers and the federal police officers.
Although this day originally celebrated other days of conflict among groups in South Africa, with the arrival of democracy, it has become a day to focus on overcoming conflicts of the past and building a new nation.
Known as the Sabbat, it is observed as the winter solstice. It is also the date of the Winter Solstice celebrated in general.
Joseph Smith was the founder and first president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church). He published the Book of Mormon in 1830. He is considered by Church members to be divine revelation.
Most Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on this date, including Eastern Orthodox Christians who follow the Orthodox New Calendar. However, other Eastern Orthodox Christians and Coptic Orthodox Christians follow the Orthodox Old Calendar, or Julian calendar, and celebrate Christmas on January 7. The Armenian Apostolic Church observes Christmas on January 6. Jehovah's Witnesses are among those who do not celebrate this holiday.
The festival of Kwanzaa was created in the United States in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a scholar and cultural activist. Building on the harvest festivals in Africa, the name Kwanzaa comes from a Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning "first fruits." A seven-branched candelabrum called a kinara, reflects the Nguzo Saba, or the seven principles of Kwanzaa; one of the seven candles is lighted every day of the celebration. A pan-African holiday, it is also celebrated in African countries, the Caribbean, South American countries, and in African communities in the United Kingdom and other European countries.
On this day, celebrated in the United Kingcom as well as other countries of the Commonwealth of Nations, people give gifts or money to tradespeople or those who provide service in appreciation for their work over the past year. Although the origin of the term "Boxing" is not certain, some say this was the day churches opened their alms boxes to give to the poor. Others say it was a day employers gave their servants gift boxes and year-end bonuses, since they had to work on Christmas Day; the day after Christmas was the start of their leave.
The day after Christmas is set aside to further the spirit of Christmas toward all the people of the country.
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