(Rock Hill, S.C.) — The month of December brings in the holiday season, including everything Christmas-related.
Christmas is the dominant holiday in terms of decorations, seasonal cards and even foods displayed in bakeries and shops, but other celebrations recognized by other religions often find themselves overshadowed by Christmas.
One example is Hanukkah, which began Dec. 2 and ends Dec. 10. and celebrates the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem over the eight-day festival.
The origins of the holiday are traced from the story of how a small supply of oil for the Temple’s menorah miraculously lasted for eight days, thus lending to the length of the celebration.
Some of those who celebrate Hanukkah, such as Mint Hill resident Josh Burnette, are not fazed by how Christmas dominates the holidays in the Western world.
“I don’t really pay much attention to Christmas,” Burnette said, “I just look at this time of year as the time when my family and I celebrate Hanukkah. In a way, it is our version of Christmas, but spread out over eight days instead of just one.”
Burnette, who is Abrahamic and follows the traditions of Judaism, said his family exchange small gifts each of the eight days of Hanukkah and read passages from the Torah, the religious book of Jewish faith.
Most of the festivities of Hanukkah take place at home, which is another reason why the holiday is often overshadowed by Christmas, according to Burnette.
“Hanukkah is more intimate and about the religious stories themselves and celebrating them, not the extravagant gifts and sales,” he said.
But has the holiday season simply been reduced to sales and the exchanging of gifts?
“Christmas is bigger than the gifts and even the decorations,” said Destiny Costello, a Christian who celebrates the holiday.
“There is a reason for the season and people can sometimes think we left our religious roots for the holiday just because the celebration of it has gotten more extravagant.”
Costello said she celebrates Christmas by putting up a tree and attending church services, but also exchanges gifts with loved ones.
“Christmas has its roots just like any other religious holiday or winter holiday,” Costello said. “Christmas and its stories are just more commonplace, which can sometimes make it look like other holidays this time of year are less important.”
However, there are others who don’t celebrate the holiday season at all, which is the case for Daquevious Stafford, who is Agnostic.
“This time of year just feels like another day to me, honestly,” Stafford said.
Stafford said he joins with friends and family and participates in other holiday traditions, but does not find himself caught up in the Christmas season.
“I think that people who don’t celebrate Christmas should just find everyday cheer in a way that doesn’t represent a holiday,” said Costello.