For many of us, the winter holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. From family gatherings to gift-giving to religious observances, there are many ways to find meaning and create memories.
Whether you observe Chanukah, Christmas or Kwanzaa, you have a wealth of customs and traditions to carry you through the season. Before things get too hectic, take a few moments to test your knowledge about the holidays with this winter holiday quiz:
1. Chanukah is the Jewish Festival of Lights, which this year began at sundown on Nov. 27. For how many days is it celebrated? a) 3, b) 5, c) 7, or d) 8
2. During Chanukah, children sometimes play a game with a spinning top. Is this top called a) shofar, b) dreidel, c) mezuzah, or d) kippah?
3. Evergreen trees have long been a symbol of Christmas, celebrated each year on Dec. 25. Which country is credited with starting the custom of bringing trees indoors to decorate? a) Scotland, b) Germany, c) Sweden, or d) Wales
4. Burning the Yule log is a charming Christmas custom. Where did this holiday tradition originate? a) Scandinavia, b) Russia, c) Great Britain, or d) the Netherlands
5. Kwanzaa is celebrated by African-Americans from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Kwanzaa means “first fruits of the harvest” in what language? a) Creole, b) Arabic, c) Swahili, or d) Berber
6. The celebration of Kwanzaa includes a bountiful feast. Is it called the: a) ujima, b) kinara, c) muhindi or d) karamu?
1. d. Chanukah is celebrated for eight days.
2. b. The dreidel is the four-sided spinning top that children play with during Chanukah.
3. b. Sixteenth-century Germans are said to have been the first to keep decorated trees in their homes at Christmas.
4. a. Scandinavia. It is believed the practice originated with a Norse winter solstice festival during which a wheel was burned. “Yule” derives from the Norse word for wheel.
5. c. Kwanzaa is a Swahili word.
6. d. The celebratory meal that is eaten during Kwanzaa is called the karamu. It is served on the sixth day of Kwanzaa, Dec. 31.