As the year comes to a close and we come to the longest night of the year, around the world we celebrate different holidays that bring together our family and friends. And there’s no better way to introduce a holiday to young ones than through the music that is used to celebrate it. Here are just some of the holidays that our friends and neighbors celebrate here in Silicon Valley and samples of the music that go with it.  

 

 

Chanukkah Dec. 12 – Dec. 20, 2017

Chanukah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication.” The holiday is named this, because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple. Also spelled Hanukkah (or variations of that spelling), the Hebrew word is actually pronounced with a guttural, “kh” sound, kha-nu-kah, not tcha-new-kah.

 

Chanukah Oh Chanukah! – singalong in English and Yiddish

 

Candlelight-Hanukkah by The Maccabeats

 

Christmas – Dec. 25, 2017

In North America, it’s hard to avoid Christmas music if you’re shopping. Christmas the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on December 25 in the Western Church. Here are some examples of traditional English language Christmas songs.

 

Handel’s Messiah by The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge

 

Silent Night

 

Kwanzaa – Dec. 26, 2017 – Jan. 1, 2018

The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving. Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba). It was created by Maulana Karenga and was first celebrated in 1966–67. It was created as a way to help African Americans reconnect with their African cultural and historical heritage. The name Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning first fruits of the harvest.

 

A Kwanzaa Song by Lovely Hoffman

 

Happy Kwanzaa Song By Fanoko Singers

 

El Diá de Los Reyes / Three Kings Day Jan. 6, 2018

Three Kings Day or Día de Los Reyes (also known as Epiphany) is celebrated on January 6 to honor the Three Wise Men. This holiday represents the day the Three Wise Men gave gifts to Jesus Christ. The day closes the Christmas festivities and is the day many people of Latino and Hispanic heritage exchange gifts.

 

Tres Reyes Magos by Tatiana

 

Ya Vienen los Reyes Magos

 

We wish you and your family a very happy holiday season! And may the new year be full of music and joy.

Written by Amelia Vitarelli, owner and educator of My Little Conservatory in San Jose, CA. Amelia has been enriching the lives of children in Silicon Valley for over 20 years.