Holiday Traditions Around the World

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With fall and winter come some of our favorite holidays. Around the world, there are so many different and beautiful traditions. As the Thanksgiving season ends (in the U.S.), we anticipate the next holiday. As the cold weather approaches, we honor December’s beginning. It’s now time to celebrate the holidays and enjoy the traditions of this season, known mostly for giving and cheer. 

To celebrate this special time, the Turner Syndrome Foundation (TSF) would like to highlight a few holiday traditions around the world and how they are celebrated. Each celebration means something unique to people of different ethnicities, races, or religions.

“The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing each other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of the holidays.”

William Carey Jones (US Congressman from 1897-1899)

Holiday Traditions

There are many holidays celebrated during this time; here are a few examples:

  • Hanukkah (or Chanukah), which began this year on November 28th and ended December 6th, is known as the Jewish festival of lights. Hanukkah lasts for eight days, with a candle being lit each night. The menorah, which holds the candles, is lit every night during this celebration.
  • Kwanzaa, which starts on December 26th and ends on January 1st, celebrates African culture and identity. Kwanzaa was derived as an alternative to Christmas by Maulana Karenga during the 1960s. Celebrants wear kunte cloths and decorate their households with African art. Families and friends exchange gifts, but they are often more focused on intellectual matters. 
  • The Feast of Santa Lucia (St. Lucy), a Christian holiday celebrated on December 13th by the people of Italy and Scandinavia, is a tribute to Lucia of Syracuse. The feast day, which originally coincided with the shortest day of the year, is widely celebrated as a festival of light and is viewed as a precursor to Christmas.
  • We all know about New Year’s Eve and its importance for marking the end of the year and the beginning of a new one. Celebrated on December 31st, New Year’s Eve is a unique holiday around the world. A giant ball drop in Times Square in New York signifies the arrival of the new year. Meanwhile, in other countries, there are majestic parades and floats. 
Kwanzaa celebration
Menorah

One thing remains the same—traditions bring us together with their fun, culture, music, and food.

The Spirit of Giving

At this time of year, we will enjoy lights, gift exchanges, singing, baking, cooking, and spending time with friends and family.

However, during our busy time of planning and celebrating, we may forget about others and the real meaning of the holidays. It is the spirit of giving that makes the holidays what they truly are. 

The spirit of giving focuses on what we can do for others during this time–most importantly, how we spread the spirit to others and the community. Uniting, supporting, and learning are the goals of celebrating the season of giving.

Why Give to the Turner Syndrome Community

The spirit of giving can greatly benefit people with Turner Syndrome (TS) right now. TSF supports research initiatives and develops educational programs to increase awareness. TS is a genetic disorder that impacts the chromosomes of those born female. It affects over 2 million individuals. TS was discovered in 1938 by Dr. Henry Turner to describe patients who do not have the typical pair of two X sex chromosomes. 

The effects of TS vary. Some people with TS experience difficulties with memory, learning, and attention. Ovarian health challenges, type 2 diabetes, heart health challenges, and hypothyroidism are also prevalent among those with TS. Early diagnosis is critical to preventing long-term negative outcomes. 

 

How To Give to the TS Community This Holiday Season

You can support people with TS and their families in numerous ways during the holiday season. Here are some ways you can help:

  • Buy gifts at the TSF shop. All of the money from your purchase goes  towards helping families affected by TS. 
  • Donate to TSF.
  • Spread awareness by posting on social media sites or sharing your new discoveries with friends and family who may not know about TS.
  • Fundraise and lead your own events. This is an effective way to raise money and spread awareness at the same time.
  • Advocate by being a voice for others.
  • Learn about TS. You can do an amazing thing by arming yourself with knowledge. The more you know, the more you can help and contribute to TSF and the TS community.

The most important thing about the holiday season is how good it feels to pay it forward. There are many ways to do this. Make it fun. It can be more than just something to cross off a feel-good to-do list.

Teach your children about giving, involve them in your campaigning, or show them how to write a donation letter. Any small act of giving can change things for those affected by TS.  

The TS community–consisting of doctors, educators, families, people with TS, and advocates– is waiting for your help and support. 

Takeaways & Action Steps

  • The holiday season is here, and everyone’s excited to celebrate their traditions!
  • Some traditions include lighting the menorah during Hanukkah, giving intellectual gifts during Kwanzaa, or watching the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. 
  • With all of these exciting traditions happening, it is important to remember to give back to your community and help others. 
  • We encourage you to support the TS community, which includes the one in every 2,000 females with the condition and their families and caregivers.
  • TS affects those with the condition both physically and mentally in various ways. Those with TS can face heart, kidney, thyroid, hearing, vision, fertility, and cognitive challenges. 
  • It is important to support the TS community. Doing so will help them overcome their challenges–especially patients with early diagnoses. 
  • There are many ways to support the TS community, including buying your holiday gifts at TSF’s shop, running fundraisers for TSF during the holiday season, and learning more about TS all year long. 

Written by Janae Bunn, TSF volunteer blog writer. Edited by Liz Donner, TSF volunteer blog editor, and Susan Herman, TSF volunteer lead blog editor.

Sources

Non-Clinical

TSF Resources

 © Turner Syndrome Foundation, 2021

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