Tis the season for celebrations! Whether you stay in and get cozy or plan a big bash with family and friends, there is a reason to get festive for many people across the globe. Last year we wrote about six winter holidays around the world and this year we’re keeping the spirit going. We took a deep dive to see which famous people celebrate those holidays. Here’s what we learned:
December 26 — January 1
Many prominent Black people around the world — from the Obama family to Oprah — celebrate Kwanzaa. Created to celebrate African and African-American culture, Kwanzaa and its seven principles have grown and spread internationally. Kwanzaa is celebrated in the United Kingdom, Jamaica, France, Canada, and Brazil in addition to the United States. In 2008, the documentary “The Black Candle” showed us how the holiday has evolved, interviewing and following African Americans through their rituals and their passion. The documentary was narrated by none other than Maya Angelou and she said it best, “it is a time when we gather in the spirit of family and community, to celebrate life, love, unity, and hope.”
December 21 — December 25
Introduced in 1985, Pancha Ganapati offers families that practice Hinduism a meaningful way to participate in the winter holiday season while still following their values. The holiday is especially helpful to those who live in places where Hinduism is not as prominent. Gifts are exchanged, which allows Hindus of all ages to connect with their non-Hindu friends and family, and each of the five days a special sadhana or spiritual discipline is focused upon so they also are fully connected with their faith. Indian sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar was known to celebrate and, while we can’t confirm, George Harrison and Julia Roberts are said to have celebrated in the past as well.
2023 dates: Thursday December 7 — December 15
Hanukkah is celebrated around the globe and many Jewish people of prominence proudly share their heritage with us each year. Most recently, the second family made news as Doug Emhoff is the first Jewish spouse of a U.S. vice president. He and Vice President Harris celebrate Hanukkah as part of their family traditions and they were also the first family to affix a mezuzah on an executive home. Other notable people who celebrate Hanukkah include Mayim Bialik, Andy Cohen, and Adam Sandler.
2023 date: December 21
As the year comes to a close, so comes the winter solstice. Solstices mark the turning of seasons and in many cultures they are celebrated, oftentimes with festivals and merrymaking. Icelandic singer Björk often celebrates the winter solstice and wishes her fans well most years. She also has a song dedicated to the day, written by her friend and collaborator Sjón.
Celebrated the day after Christmas in many countries, especially those with English influences in their past, Boxing Day is often a day for giving and for family. The royal family still includes Boxing Day as part of their Christmas celebrations, often spent at Sandringham House in Norfolk. It is reported that they often start the day with the traditional English dish kedgeree, which is made with rice, fish, and curry powder, as their breakfast. Most of their day will be spent relaxing, but several members of the family will often go hunting on the property as well.
January 1 — January 3
A traditional festival taking place in the new year, Shōgatsu has been celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar since 1873. The origins of the celebration are still held close to the many people of Japanese heritage who celebrate it, and the food, cards, and giving are still strong today. Yoko Ono has stated that she enjoys celebrating the new year in a way traditional to her heritage. “We thank each one of the family for having helped during the past year, and ask to be what they are — good friends — the coming year.”
We look forward to exciting end-of-the-year celebrations throughout our PEAK6 and an amazing 2024. Our diverse team is what makes our work and company culture so great — and we’re always on the lookout for more people with diverse perspectives to help us push the fintech industry forward. If you are interested in joining us, check out our open positions and apply!