December 2019 - Intercultural calendar

The list provides an overview of the most important holidays of the largest religious and ethnic groups in Vienna as well as traditional holidays, public holidays and international commemoration days of the United Nations and other organisations in December.

Traditional holidays

31 December: St. Sylvester
New Year's Eve is often a time for noisy and happy celebrations.

International Days of the United Nations and other organisations

3 December: International Day of Persons with Disabilities
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed by the United Nations to raise public awareness for the problems of persons with disabilities and promote their rights, dignity and well-being.
10 December: Human Rights Day

Buddhism

8 December: Bodhi Day
Mahayana Buddhist celebration of the day when Prince Siddharta Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, reached Enlightenment in the early morning of 8 December 525 BC and became a Buddha.

Christianity

1 December: First Sunday of Advent (Catholic, Protestant)
This day begins the period of preparation for Christmas. The Gospel read on this day is the same as on Palm Sunday: the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
6 December: Saint Nicholas' Day (Catholic)
This day commemorates Saint Nicholas of Myra, who lived on the south coast of what today is Turkey. Several acts of kindness and miracles are attributed to him. Customs: a disguised St. Nicholas visits the children and asks them "if they have been good". Children put boots before the door and St. Nicholas fills the boots with gifts and sweets.
8 December: Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary (Catholic, public holiday)
This feast is the celebration of the conception of Mary by Saint Anne. The Roman Catholic doctrine states that Mary was conceived free from all stain of original sin.
8 December: Second Sunday of Advent (Catholic, Protestant)
15 December: Third Sunday of Advent (Catholic, Protestant)
22 December: Fourth Sunday of Advent (Catholic, Protestant)
24 December: Christmas Eve (Catholic, Protestant)
The beginning of Christmas and the birth of Jesus are celebrated in midnight church services. Customs: presents to remember that the Christ Child was a present to the people, greeting cards, Christmas decoration in the streets and homes, Christmas trees, nativity sets or nativity plays.
25 December: Christmas Day (Catholic, Protestant, public holiday)
On the first day of Christmas the birth of Jesus is at the centre of carol singing, plays and customs at church and in the family.
26 December: Saint Stephen's Day (Catholic, Protestant, public holiday)
On the second day of Christmas Christians remember Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, who was accused of blasphemy and stoned to death. According to legend Saint Stephen was one of the first seven deacons of the Christian Church.

Judaism

22 December: Hanukkah
The eight-day "Festival of Lights" commemorates the victory of Judas Maccabeus over Antiochus IV and the rededication of the Temple at Jerusalem. When the temple was restored and cleansed, only one day's supply of oil was found for the daily lighting of the menorah. This small supply lasted eight days and today candles are lit in increasing numbers for eight nights on a seven-branched menorah to remind Jews of the miracle. There are Hanukkah parties, gifts are exchanged and people eat traditional foods.
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