14 Winter Holidays That Aren’t Christmas

Source: AsiaVision / E+ via Getty Images

Christmas is by far the most famous holiday of the winter season, followed closely by New Year’s Eve and Day. Retailers count down the shopping days to Christmas (though they are sometimes loath to refer to it by name to avoid alienating non-Christians) once Thanksgiving is over. 

Christmas is by no means the only winter holiday, however. As a matter of fact, it is not even the season’s only holiday with Christian origins.

To compile a list of winter festivals and other celebrations that aren’t Christmas, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the holiday calendars of more than a dozen countries.

Among the 14 feasts, holy days, and holidays on our list, there are seven celebrations besides Christmas that are observed by Christians. Three are observed mostly in Mexico – the Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe; Las Posadas; and Día de Candelaria. Other Christian feasts are Yule, Saint Nicholas Day, Saint Lucia Day, and Mardi Gras. Many of these feasts are rooted in pagan rituals that became subsumed by Christianity. (Christianity, including Catholicism, is the world’s largest religion.)

“Ōmisoka” is the Japanese word for New Year’s Eve and is celebrated as the beginning of a new year with new possibilities. The Chinese New Year, based on the lunar calendar, usually begins in the middle of January. (Here are 22 Chinese New Year Don’ts – unless you want a year of bad luck.)

Bodhi Day celebrates the day that Siddhartha Gautama, Sakyamuni Buddha, achieved enlightenment. Lohri, named after a Hindu goddess, is a Punjabi festival celebrated at the end of the winter season in northern India.

Hanukkah, commemorating a successful Jewish revolt from antiquity, is observed over eight nights and has become a significant holiday on the Jewish calendar in recent decades. 

Kwanzaa, the most recently created holiday on this list, reaffirms African family and social values, and is observed in America and the Caribbean. Boxing Day, first established in Victorian times, is celebrated in England the day after Christmas. 

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.