Consecutive Days Riding: 77 Consecutive Days Blogging: 78
Today’s Mileage: 8 Total Trip Mileage: 656
Holidays and Holy Days on December 26:
Boxing Day – a tradition, primarily within the British Commonwealth, of giving seasonal gifts to less fortunate individuals and money and gifts to charitable institutions.
Kwanzaa – a weeklong celebration held primarily in the United States honoring universal African heritage and culture. It is observed from December 26 to January 1st.
I hope this note finds family and friends up and moving around and that you have overcome any self- induced sugar comas! As I ride the bike today I’d like to wish everyone a happy Boxing Day and first day of Kwanzaa. I will speak more to the significance of Kwanzaa in the upcoming week.
I realize that many people from the United States are unfamiliar with the concept of Boxing Day. Susan informs me that it is a significant holiday in Canada, Great Britain and much of the Commonwealth. In fact later today we will be traveling to visit some of her Canadian relatives to exchange gifts and partake in yet another holiday meal!
My understanding is that the exact origins of the celebration are unknown, but appears to have begun in Europe during the middle ages. It was a time when boxes of gifts were given to the household staff, servants and craftsman who provided services to the well-to-do society members. From there it branched out to become a general day of giving to the “less fortunate” of society. When I first heard of it some years ago, I was under the misperception that it functioned as an opportunity to “re-gift” items you received but did not desire to retain!
What does this have to do with Muslims and Jews you might ask?
In yesterdays local paper was a headline from Detroit entitled: Muslims join Jews for Christmas Mitzvah. The opening paragraph stated:
“Many Jews consider Christmas Day an opportunity to serve their community while Christian neighbors celebrate their holiday. This year, what’s also known as Mitzvah Day in the southeast Michigan is getting an added boost from Muslims.”
The article goes on to talk about the combined efforts by the two religious communities to help cover community social service activities, such as feeding the hungry and delivering toys children in need. The article notes not only are Muslims and Jews available to serve on Christmas Day but that both groups share a commitment to community service.
I think I speak for people of all faiths, or no faith, when I send my sincere thank you and appreciation to these faith communities for their efforts to bridge what often seems to be an insurmountable divide.
It has long been my contention that bridges between cultures and religions are possible! The most fertile ground to plant the seeds of cooperation and acceptance are in the common human qualities of compassion and a commitment to a greater good.