Clock, representing time

In our last post, LinkedIn for the Holidays, we noted that LinkedIn has a broad, international membership, with people who celebrate different religions and national holidays.This time of year is a great one for reaching out to others and connecting on LinkedIn and elsewhere. This calendar may also be helpful to international travellers, meeting planners, conference organizers, toastmasters, bloggers and anybody looking for an excuse for a party.To help you do that, here is a partial list of national (U.S.), international, religious, food-related and just, plain strange holidays for November and December, 2015 (and wrapping up in early January). Anybody should be able to find something to celebrate in the list!

November, 2015 Holidays (partial)
All November Aviation History Month
All November NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)
All November American Indian Heritage Month
All November Child Safety Protection Month
All November International Drum Month
All November National Model Railroad Month
All November Stamp Collecting Month
All November Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
All November Great American Smokeout Month
November 11 Remembrance Day–End of World War I in 1918 (Canada, Belgium, Cayman Islands, France, Serbia)
November 11 Veterans Day (U.S.)
November 11 Diwali / Deepavali (India)
November 16 Revolution Day (Mexico)
November 16 International Day for Tolerance
November 21 Celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Christian)
November 20 Christ the King Sunday (Christian)
November 21 World Television Day
November 22 Saint Cecilia Day–Patron Saint of Music (Christian)
November 23 Labor Thanksgiving Day–Harvest Festival (Japan)
November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
November 26 Thanksgiving Day (U.S.)
November 27 Black Friday (unofficial start to the holiday shopping season–U.S.)
November 29 First Day of Advent (first day of the Christian Church year)
November 30 International Computer Security Day
November 30 Feast of St. Andrew (my name day)
November 30 Cyber Monday


Mr. Fezziwig's Ball


December, 2015 Holidays
All December Safe Toys and Gifts Month
All December National Stress-Free Family Holiday Month (yeah, right)
All December Universal Human Rights Month
December 1 World AIDS Day
December 1 Giving Tuesday (give to a non-profit or NGO)
December 2 International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
December 5 International Volunteers Day
December 6 Memorial of St. Nicholas, bishop (Christian)
December 6 at Sundown Hanukkah begins (Jewish)
December 7 International Civil Aviation Day
December 7 Letter Writing Day
December 7 Pearl Harbor Memorial Day (U.S.)
December 8 Rohatsu (Bodhi Day) (Buddhist)
December 10 Human Rights Day
December 12 Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Mexico, Christian)
December 14 at Sundown Hanukkah ends (Jewish)
December 20 Fourth and final Sunday of Advent (Christian)
December 21 Winter Solstice (northern hemisphere)
December 22 Fast of Tevet (Jewish)
December 24 Christmas Eve (Christian)
December 24 Milad un Nabi–Birth of the Prophet (Islamic)
December 25 Christmas Day (Christian)
December 25 Full Moon
December 26 Boxing Day (Britain, Australia, Canada & others)
December 26 Beginning of Kwanzaa (lasting 7 days)
December 26 St. Stephen’s Day (various Christian)
December 31 New Year’s Eve (worldwide)


January, 2016 Holiday Season Ending
January 1 New Year’s Day
January 5 at sundown Twelfth Night (Louisiana) (see note below)
January 6 Epiphany–Day of the Three Kings (Christian), traditional 12th day of Christmas
January 7 Orthodox Christian Christmas (Dec. 25th in the Julian calendar)


Food Holidays (mainly U.S.)

Everybody loves food. In the U.S. many organizations and companies set up their (sometimes wacky) food celebrations. Others are approved by Congress and by Presidential edict. Here are some highlights from

Food Celebrations in November (highlights)
November 11 National Sundae Day
November 15 National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day
November 17 National Baklava Day
November 24 National Sardines Day
November 27 National Bavarian Cream Pie Day
November 28 National French Toast Day


Selected Food Celebrations in December
All December National Egg Nog Month
All December National Fruit Cake Month
December 4 National Cookie Day
December 5 Repeal of Prohibition Day
December 8 National Brownie Day
December 12 National Cocoa Day
December 14 National Biscuits and Gravy Day
December 15 National Lemon Cupcake Day
December 16 National Chocolate Covered Anything Day
December 17 National Maple Syrup Day
December 21 National Hamburger Day
December 22 National Date Nut Bread Day
December 23 National Pfeffernuesse Day
December 24 National Egg Nog Day
December 25 National Kiss the Cook Day
December 26 National Candy Cane Day
December 27 National Fruitcake Day
December 29 National “Get on the Scales Day”
December 30 National Bicarbonate of Soda Day
December 31 National Champagne Day

A Few Seasonal Notes for Partiers

Twelfth Night (or Epiphany) was traditionally the end of the holy season of Christmas and the beginning of the Carnival season, which lasted until Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday. (Ash Wednesday is always 40 fast days plus six non-fasting Sundays before Easter – in 2016 on Feb. 10.) In Europe, from Medieval days until as late as the the 18th and early-19th centuries, theaters and other forms of public entertainment were ordered closed during Lent. So court orchestras, theaters, operas, dance companies and partiers always tried to celebrate during Carnival (because musicians, singers, dancers and the like could not earn money during Lent, except maybe in church and more somber court events). Carnival is a tradition that still holds in Louisiana, Brazil, and many other places.

In Tudor England, however, the main party season began on All Hallows’ Eve (today Halloween) and lasted until Twelfth Night, the celebration of Epiphany. (Twelfth Night was the traditional time for wassail and mumming, and the last day of burning the Yule log.) The English holiday season traditions included a Lord of Misrule, and it was a period where masters might serve servants and men and women played the opposite’s role — a celebration that appears to date back to pre-Christian Celtic and Roman festivals.

In ancient Europe, a 24-hour day started at sunset, not midnight. In England, First Night began sunset at the end of Christmas Day and lasted through the next day. Twelfth Night, therefore, starts on January 5th in the evening and lasts through today’s Epiphany or Three King’s Day. So, instead of counting the 12 Days of Christmas, it might be more accurate to say they celebrated the 12 Days after Christmas.

There may have been some Epiphany traditions that used drums, perhaps in a procession or parade with the Three Kings. (There is still a Bulgarian tradition of using drums and bagpipes on Epiphany.) This could possibly be the inspiration of the “twelve drummers drumming” in The Twelve Days of Christmas carol, and which might even tie into the much newer “Little Drummer Boy” song (during the visit of the Magi) too.

Since the 1950s, however, Roman Catholics count Christmas Day as the first day of twelve, and Epiphany is celebrated on Sunday on or after January 6th. So there are a variety of traditions between the churches.

All in all, for traditionalists, there is a lot of reason to celebrate in the fall and early winter seasons.




Title photo of the Dover clock (in Dover, N.J.) is by the author, Andrew Brandt, Copyright ©2013.

“Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball,” is from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, illustrated by John Leech. London: Chapman & Hall, 1843. Courtesy of Project Gutenberg.

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