December is a time of celebration, and many people enjoy observing various traditions connected with their faith. The United States is home to a diverse mixture of people from all over the world who practice a variety of religious and cultural traditions. At A.G. Rhodes, we respect our residents’ personal beliefs and strive to create a comfortable, home-like atmosphere for them to celebrate their faith. If you will be visiting a loved one at a residential home this holiday season, or if you are a caregiver looking for ways to help residents celebrate their faith, the following guide offers tips on how to include people of various religions and backgrounds in the holiday celebrations.
Religious Festivals Held in December
December is an important month for many religions. Christmas is one of the biggest holidays in the Christian calendar that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate the birth of Christ and instead choose to commemorate his death. Hanukah is a Jewish celebration that occurs between late November and late December, and is observed for eight consecutive nights. The holiday is held to celebrate the Jewish victory over the Maccabees in 165 B.C. A Hindu celebration known as Pancha Ganapati is held from December 21st until the 25th in honor of Ganesha. The 8th of December is known as Bodhi Day to Buddhists and is held to celebrate the day that Buddha experienced enlightenment. A number of other secular holidays also take place in December that all include various traditions and customs.
Respecting Other Cultures
Possibly the most important message that many religions teach is tolerance, and there are a few simple tips to keep in mind when recognizing various religious holidays.
Politely inviting other residents to be a part of your celebrations by praying or eating with you and your loved one is an ideal way to include others in the festivities. It is important to be aware that certain religions have restrictions on eating meats such as beef and pork, so always inform residents if you are serving dishes that contain meat.
Many people enjoy holiday decorations such as a Christmas tree or Hanukah candles, and learning more about what holidays residents celebrate can help you accommodate their preferred decorations.
How to Hold a Multi-Faith Celebration
Many residential homes offer music therapy classes to seniors to help improve memory and cognitive skills as well as improve overall well-being. Music is a wonderful way to bring people together, and creating a mixed playlist of residents’ favorite songs will allow everyone to enjoy the celebrations. A multi-faith celebration is also a wonderful way for people to learn about other cultures and religions, so encourage residents to talk about their faith and what it means to them.
Although people from various religious backgrounds hold different beliefs and values, it does not mean that they cannot celebrate their faith together. Celebrating the holidays together is a great way to practice the tenants of many religions that teach compassion and acceptance.