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  • Alana Stephenson

This Month in History - December and it’s special days

The final month of the year is here, and is likely to conclude on New Year's Eve with a bang (literally)! While many will have heard of Christmas on the 25th as well as Hanukkah which often take place in December, it hosts a multitude of celebrations and commemorative days which are less widely known, but hold great importance. Throughout the month, people across the world will be coming together to celebrate, raise awareness and honour others. Listed below are special days in December, dedicated to these commemorations and celebrations, nationally and internationally.

  • 1st December - World AIDS Day. Beginning in 1988, this international day was created to raise awareness to the AIDS pandemic and mourn those who were lost to the HIV infection. 2022’s theme is ‘Rock the Ribbon’, as the Red Ribbon is a universal symbol of awareness which may be worn.

  • 2nd December - International Day for the Abolition of Slavery. The focus of this day is on eradicating modern forms of slavery, which include the trafficking of humans, child labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriages. The International Labour Organisation estimates that around 50 million people are in modern slavery, with women and children at a disproportionate risk. The date was chosen as it marks the day in 1949 when the members of the United Nations adopted the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others.

  • 3rd December - International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Proclaimed by the United Nations in 1992, observance of this day aims to promote the understanding of disability issues and generate support for the rights, dignity and well being of those with disabilities. The theme for 2022 is ‘Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world’.

  • 5th December - International Volunteer Day. This day is held to recognise the efforts of volunteers working in all sectors, and to promote their efforts and the valuable time spent helping. The theme in 2022 is ‘solidarity through volunteering’, aiming to bring people together for the positive future of our planet.

  • 9th December - International Anti-Corruption Day. The definition of corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Corruption undermines the rule of law, worsens poverty, facilitates the illicit use of resources, and provides financing for armed conflict. Anti-Corruption Day emphasises the link between anti corruption and peace, and to encourage people to take responsibility to tackle corruption.

  • 10th December - Human Rights Day. The universal declaration of Human Rights was made in 1948 by the United Nations. The 10th December celebrates this being created with the purpose of the rights of every individual everywhere, without distinction based on nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, religion, language, or any other status.

  • 12th December - International Health Coverage Day. This campaign began in 2017 with a hashtag #HealthForAll. This day promotes the accessibility of healthcare without creating financial hardship.

  • 18th December - International Migrants Day. This day is held to raise awareness about migrants and refugees in order to protect them, as well as to honour the migrants and refugees who lost their lives trying to reach safety.

  • 18th December 2022 - Beginning of Hanukkah. This year, the Jewish festival Hanukkah, or Chanukah, began on the 18th December. It is held to commemorate when over 2000 years ago, the Syrian king, Antiochus, ordered the Jews to abandon the Torah and worship the Greek gods. The Maccabees, a group of Jewish warriors, fought and were victorious over the larger Syrian army. It also celebrates the miracle of a day’s supply of oil allowing the menorah or Hanukiah to stay lit for eight days in the Temple in Jerusalem.

  • 20th December - International Human Solidarity Day. Taking place on the 20th December, the purpose of this day is to celebrate the strength of the unity of human diversity, to remind governments to respect agreements made with each other and to encourage poverty eradication.

  • 25th December - Christmas Day. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is a religious and cultural holiday today, with gift giving, church services and family gatherings taking place.

  • 31st December - New Year’s Eve (Gregorian calendar) Countries who follow the Gregorian calendar may celebrate New Year’s Eve on the last day of December. This is often accompanied by fireworks, parties and different cultural traditions such as eating the ‘Twelve Grapes of Luck’ in Spain, filling the beaches in Brazil, eating toshikoshi soba in Japan.

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