Here at WVSC, we pride ourselves on being an inclusive and multi-cultural office.
So, whilst many staff members will be celebrating Christmas with their family and friends, other members of the team will be sharing different holidays with loved ones.
We asked them to share some of their festivities with us so you can read about the many different ways that people across Wolverhampton will be celebrating in the month of December!
Winter Solstice 2016 – 21st December, the shortest day of the year.
“As the pre-Christmas festivities reach their peak and crowds rush the shops to buy last minute presents and stock up on food and drink, the earth in the northern hemisphere is at its most still. Trees present bare limbs against a frozen sky and gardens lie silent. Is it surprising then – that we clamber to follow the instincts of our ancestors by bringing in ‘the green’? Our brightly lit Christmas trees tap into our inbuilt reflex to try and hold on to aspects of nature we hold so dear in the summer months – bright greens provided by fir and spruce and Christmas lights to remind us of the longer sun filled days to come again in the spring and summer.
As we rush about with shopping bags (or eagerly await our online shopping deliveries) are we tapping in to an ancestral urge to hoard at this, nature’s quietest time of year? Although in years gone by it might have been grains and crops we strove to stock up on.
So as we enter into the festive rituals on the 21st, we pause to think of those communities from long ago – our instinct to come together and celebrate may be led by a long held memory of gathering to celebrate the sun’s return – as the days slowly start to lengthen following the solstice.
We pause also to think of the earth still under foot – as we scurry to shop, wrap, bake and prepare; under grown nature’s bounty is also preparing – roots lengthening, seeds germinating, crops sprouting ready to greet the returning sun in spring.”
Chanukah – 24th December to 1st January
“The Jewish ‘Festival of Lights’ is an eight day festival that celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple. It’s a time for family gatherings and exchanging gifts, and each evening as a prayer is said, one candle is lit on the menorah (a special candelabra) until eventually, all eight candles are lit on the final night. The menorah sits on a window sill or doorway, providing a light in the wintry darkness.
Traditionally, foods fried in oil are eaten, so donuts and potato latkes are an annual treat. Families sit down to a big meal together in much the same way that many of you will be having Christmas dinner, and increasingly, houses are decorated with festive ornaments and lights in the traditional blues, silver, and gold.
Children play games and receive gifts, singing songs that have been passed down for generations.
Unlike other holidays across the ‘chagim’ (Jewish festivals), the focus of Chanukah is not particularly religious, and instead, the focus is on family, a celebration of miracles, and how like the candles, you as an individual can be a light unto the world.”
Wishing you all the very happiest of holidays, and a successful, healthy, and prosperous New Year!