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Teacher’s Voice

Thinking about the Month of December

By MINA WONG - December 15 2023
Thinking about the Month of December

I’ve always looked forward to December when cooler days call for hot chocolate and apple cider, and when everything school-wise reaches a crescendo before mellowing to welcome a well-deserved Christmas break.

Marking the X’mas season, December also has some of my favourite people’s birthdays, including family, relatives, and friends. I’m enchanted by how their tiny lives began on a wintry day when their parents held them up to a window to meet the outside world for the very first time. These Christmas babies will always be special because every year, they also get to celebrate the winter solstice, holidays, and many other meaningful dates within their birth month. 

For world citizens like Canadians, December is a perfect time to appreciate history, universal education, and social justice. Beginning with Rosa Parks Day and World AIDS Day on December 1, we stand against prejudice and discrimination across race, gender, and health. The following day, December 2 is Special Education Day and International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, both of which uphold human rights to freely live as individuals, and to equitably access education despite special challenges.

While Christians light candles on December 3 for the first day of Advent, many others will bookmark it as International Day for People with Disabilities which mandates accessibility, inclusion, and equality for differently abled and marginalized people, to complement Special Education Day on December 2.

I also notice how Wildlife Conservation Day and International Volunteer Day — natural kindred spirits with enormous voluntary efforts worldwide to protect our ecosystems – are remembered on December 4 and December 5.

For eight days beginning December 7, Hanukkah symbolizes Jewish people’s historical quest for religious freedom. During the same week, December 9 and 10 remind the world of civic responsibilities to protect birthrights, self-worth, integrity, and security for all people: they’re International Anti-corruption Day, International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide, and Human Rights Day.

Concurrently on December 10, International Animal Rights Day respects animals as sentient beings against human cruelty, abuse, and exploitation. Using sentience laws in participating countries, animal rights protection is now a global movement to protect animal health and endangered species.

Some may not know that December 17 is significant to civil society, including schools, educational institutions, workplaces, and wherever people interact with one another: it’s Anti-bullying Day that addresses abuse and violence in our relationships with others, including cyberbullying. On the same themes, a reflective moment ought to fall on December 18, International Migrants Day which highlights the urgency of not only displaced people seeking safe havens worldwide, but also new Canadians’ survival and quality of life across security, integration, and success.

Canada and regions in the northern hemisphere observe December 21 as midwinter or winter solstice, and the shortest day of the year. Then only three days later, Christmas Eve descends with everything calm and bright, followed by Christmas, a national holiday but more importantly, celebratory sentiments for Christians around the world.

Significant but unfamiliar to many would be the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness on December 27. After three years of COVID-19, I hoped all regions around the world have paid more attention to this day so that we can all be more equipped to safeguard public health with the next pandemic. After Christmas festivities, December 27 can be a more sober time to learn about solutions for world health.

Finally, while Canada’s multicultural customs and traditions for New Year’s Eve may vary, December 31 is a time of hope and blessings – for health, peace, and prosperity the world over. It’s the last day of December and the very last day of 2023 as we know it. But New Year’s Eve is a new opportunity for everyone to reflect on the old that takes us to a new dawn.

Happy holidays, everyone! May you be blessed with love, joy, peace, and good health.

by Mina Wong

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