For many of us, the iconography and traditions of the winter holiday season are typical: Christmas trees and presents, Santa Claus and snowflakes, baby Jesus and the Nativity.
But for others, both here in the Inland Northwest and around the world, these symbols and traditions can also be as varied as a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken for Christmas dinner, as well as observances that don't have anything to do with Christian secularity at all.
For this year's Holiday Guide, we set out to highlight how people from five diverse cultures around the world, and now living in the Inland Northwest, celebrate the holidays, from New Year's Eve in Japan to the Islamic Eid in Afghanistan. Even though their traditions vary from what's familiar to those of us who celebrate Western culture's idea of Christmas, they're not so different from the reason why we gather and reflect near the end of each year: community, family, friendship, peace, gratitude.
In addition to these stories shared by individuals from Japan, Kenya, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Latin America, you'll also find our usual preview of dozens of regional events that happen between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. From beloved holiday classics like A Christmas Carol and White Christmas to ice skating and special gourmet dinners, these events and more can inspire new traditions and offer a moment to reflect on the reason for the season for you and yours. Cheers!
— CHEY SCOTT, Arts and Culture Editor