Because many people know me as the “weight loss guy,” they think I’m monitoring what they eat or how they act.
As I have stated on numerous occasions, should we bump into each other at a restaurant or grocery store, I’m not watching what you eat or put in your grocery cart – and I would appreciate you returning the favor. (After all, it’s just plain weird to monitor someone else’s food anyway.)
This time of year also brings out from people “true confessions.” I bump into someone who used to go to one of my meetings or that I coached and they feel the immediate need to justify their absence. The conversation will go something like this:
“Oh, hi Scott. Nice to see you, how have you been?”
“Doing great – but I’ll get better.” (A line I “stole” from a radio talk show host I like.) “How are you?”
“Well, I’ve been having some trouble with my diet. I’m definitely coming back to the meetings, but I just wanted to wait until the holidays are over.”
Firstly, there’s no need to justify to me whether or not you’re on a diet or going to meetings. We each lead our own lives. We each have our own priorities. I won’t try to run your life if you won’t run mine.
Having said that, I’ve always found it curious when one says he or she will “wait until the holidays are over” as they’ve been going on for a couple thousand years.
I don’t think they’re ending anytime soon. The reality of that raised my curiosity level and prompted me to take a look at the holidays this time of year. There are more holidays in December than chocolate Santas at the office holiday party.
Of course, we all know about New Year’s, Christmas, and Hanukkah. However, we might not know that the reason Hanukkah or Chanukah, or Hannuka has so many spellings is because of the guttural sound of the first letter when spoken in Hebrew, its natural language of course. Apparently, that sound cannot be rendered properly in English.
December also brings with it Kwanzaa. Most of us have heard of the festival but I’m not sure we all understand its significance. It’s a seven-day holiday, created in 1965 by Dr. Maulana Karena with the intention of providing African Americans with a link to their heritage. Each of the seven days celebrates one of the Seven Principles, known as “Nguzo Saba.” These principles include unity, self-determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
Another holiday in this final month of the year is Mawlid Un Nabi, celebrated in many countries as the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. Even within Islam, there is a split about whether to celebrate this holiday as Sunni Muslims discourage celebrating birthdays while Sufis do honor it.
December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, primarily celebrated by Roman Catholics in the solemn belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Also celebrated by Roman Catholics, as well as some Protestant denominations is the Feast Day for St. John the Apostle on December 27, the third day of Christmas. (The Orthodox Church refers to it as the Feast of the Holly and Glorious Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian and they celebrate it in September.)
December 21 marks the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. Many pagan rituals have long celebrated that day (which is sometimes on December 22). The shortness of the day and the length of the night prompted rituals that were intended to bring back the sun. Another interesting factoid about that day is that the Mayan Calendar’s last day was winter solstice in 2012, prompting many to expect the world to end at that time. (Um, they were wrong in case you didn’t know.)
Although there are many others, I’ll conclude this list with Super Saturday, a “holiday” that marks the end of shopping season. It is the last Saturday prior to Christmas, and with the exception of Black Friday, has been the top sales day for the last several years. In 2014, it actually out-grossed Black Friday.
Whatever and however you celebrate – and for that matter whether you do so at all – may the coming year be filled with awe and wonder and peace for us all.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is called the THINspirational speaker and author after having lost 70 pounds 22 years ago. He can be reached for coaching, speaking, or workshops at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com or 707.442.6243
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