|This year has been filled with several monumental events, both good and bad. On January 20th, 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States, the first African American to assume this role. In addition to that, the United States also faced a harsh recession this year. |
As the holiday season is upon us, there is much to celebrate. First and foremost, the economy is slowly beginning to recover. Last year represented one of the lowest grossing Christmas seasons ever. This year looks much more promising. Christmas is definitely a time to be optimistic and to celebrate the things that mean most to us: good health, family, and friends.
Every year, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. This year, Christmas falls on a Friday. In biblical tradition, word spread that a messiah would be born in Bethlehem to Joseph and the Virgin Mary. On the night of Jesus’ birth, he was visited by Magi, astrologers bearing gifts for the infant child.
In the United States, Christmas is a federal holiday. During Christmas time, people celebrate with their friends and family. Even though it is traditionally a Christian holiday, it is now very secular, in which many non-Christians partake as well. In the 2000 Ganulin v. the United States case, the Supreme Court deemed that it was acceptable for Christmas to be a national holiday because it had a secular purpose.
Many major figures and images are associated with Christmas, including Santa Claus, reindeers, elves, and Christmas trees. For years, parents have told their children that Santa Claus rides on his reindeer driven sleigh and delivers presents to all children that have been good. The image of Santa Claus we know today was created by Thomas Nast in the late 1800’s. Today, Santa Claus is depicted as a portly old man with a white beard wearing a red coat.
Gift exchange is one of the most characteristic aspects of Christmas. Weeks before Christmas, malls across America are filled with throngs of shoppers hoping to find their loved ones the perfect presents. Gifts are typically exchanged on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, depending on family tradition.
Another important symbol of Christmas is the Christmas tree. From around Thanksgiving to a little after New Years, many people will put up trees in their home and decorate them with colorful ornaments and lights. In conjunction with a Christmas tree, many people will also decorate the inside and outside of their homes with popular symbols of Christmas.
Over the years, Christmas has been incorporated into several movies. One very popular movie that receives a lot of air time over the holidays is A Christmas Story, a hilarious comedy about a boy who wants a BB gun for Christmas. This year, there are several movies that will be released around Christmas time, among them, It’s Complicated and Everybody’s Fine.
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by famed political activist and professor, Ron Karenga. Karenga thought that such a holiday was necessary to celebrate the lineage and history of African Americans. Kwanzaa lasts for seven days, from December 26 to January 1. Each day is dedicated to a different principle: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Those who observe Kwanzaa typically dress in traditional garb and decorate their homes with colorful African art and cloth. The seven day celebration culminates in a large feast and gift exchange.
Also known as the Festival of Lights, this is an eight day Jewish celebration that typically falls around the same time as Christmas. This tradition can be traced back to the 2nd century BCE when the King of Syria desecrated the Holy Temple. Hanukkah commemorates the temple’s rededication. The dates of Hanukkah follow the Hebrew calendar. This year, the evening of December 11th marked the beginning of Hanukkah. Each day, it is tradition to receive one gift and to light one candle on a Menorah, which is a nine-branch candelabrum, a traditional symbol of Judaism.
Eid is a three day Islamic holiday that means “festivity”. It marks the end of the Islamic fasting month called Ramadan. Both Eid and Ramadan follow the lunar calendar, which means they are celebrated on different dates each year. During the morning of Eid, Muslims typically attend sermon at a mosque. Afterwards, they will congregate with family and friends to celebrate the end of the fasting period.
Have a wonderful holiday season
Our staff at Zhang and Associates, P.C. would like to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season. We thank you for supporting us this past year and look forward to helping you meet your immigration goals. With your support, our firm received 430 NIW, 210 EB-1 and 300 H-1B approvals in 2009.
In addition, Zhang and Associates, P.C. would also like to extend a warm greeting to USCIS officers, who have worked tirelessly this year to evaluate our cases and improve their administrative procedures.
We hope your holiday season is filled with joy and laughter, and we send you our best wishes for the New Year.