Wow, the holidays are upon us already! As you gather with
friends and family to honor this special time of year, it's a great time to
learn and enjoy some of the musical traditions around the many celebrations
happening across the globe.
This year Hanukkah began the evening of December 16 and
continues through the evening of December 24. Also known as The Festival of Lights, Hanukkah is an
eight-day celebration honoring the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem
at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd
As part of this celebration, it is customary to play games with a dreidel, a pointed, four-sided top that can be made to spin on
its pointed base. To accompany this game, families sing "The Dreidel Song"; check out this wonderful rendition by
the a capella group Shir Soul (http://youtu.be/DtlLHwk9_Rw):
Kwanzaa begins on December 26 and ends on January 1. This
celebration honors African-American culture, and the name Kwanzaa derives from
the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza,
meaning "first fruits of the harvest."
During this week-long celebration, families decorate their
homes with African objects of art, colorful African cloth such as kente, and fresh fruits to represent
African idealism. To get in the Kwanzaa spirit and learn more about the
holiday, enjoy this performance of "The Kwanzaa Song" from the
Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church Youth Choir (http://youtu.be/kS9d9eGAo2g):
Christmas Day is December 25. This is the annual holiday on
which Christians honor the birth of Jesus Christ. As described in the Christian
Bible, Jesus was born to the virgin Mary, who had traveled to town of Bethlehem
with her husband Joseph for a census. As there was no room at the inn, the
young mother gave birth to Jesus in a manger, above which a great star appeared
to herald the coming of the Savior.
Christmas is the source of a rich musical tradition, and one
of the most beloved carols is "Silent
Night," as performed beautifully by the a capella group Pentatonix (http://youtu.be/sme8N2pzRx8):
Your turn! What is
your favorite holiday musical tradition? Please leave a comment and let us know
what you're thankful for — we'd love to hear from you!
Music is a universal language. It transcends boundaries and reaches beyond culture to touch the depths of our souls, express our common emotions, and inspire us all. Now serving 2,500 communities in over 40 countries, Music Together® connects families and communities across the globe as they express and explore our basic human instinct for making music.
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