Here are fast facts to know about almost a dozen holidays.
The North Pole or Turkey?
Santa Claus got his name from Saint Nicholas, a bishop of the town of Myra, who was known for being especially kind to children. Today, Myra is part of the country of Turkey.
During Kwanzaa, families set out ears of corn to show how many children there are in the family. People without children set out one ear of corn to show that they are parents of their community.
12 Lucky Animals
In the Chinese lunar calendar each of the 12 years is named after an animal. According to Legend, Lord Buddha asked all the animals to come to him before he left the earth. Only 12 animals came to wish him farewell, and as a reward Buddha named a year after each one. The Year of the Rabbit is 1999, and 2000 will be the Year of the Dragon.
A Day to Diet?
The French term Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday" in English. It began at a time when Christians had to use up all the animal fat in their homes before Lent started.
All Tied Up
At Songkran, people tie strings around each other's wrists to show their respect. A person can have as many as 25 or 30 strings on one wrist, each from a different person. The strings are supposed to be left on until they fall off naturally.
No Weapons Allowed
In Ghana, during the festival of Aboakyere, hunters go out to capture an antelope. But they have to bring it back alive, and they can't use any weapons.
A Rabbit Egg?
Long ago the Easter Bunny was called the "Easter Hare." The Easter egg hunt began because children believed that rabbits laid eggs in the grass.
Is It Bread Yet?
Jewish people eat matzoh, a flat, unleavened bread made of flour and water, during the Passover holiday. They do this to remember their ancestors who, in order to escape from slavery in Egypt, left in such a hurry that there was no time for their dough to rise.
A Dancing Reunion
In the Japanese Buddhist tradition, a special dance called the Bon dance is held to guide the souls of dead family members back home.
There's a Skeleton in My Bread!
On the Day of the Dead, Mexican families have a special meal in which they serve the Bread of the Dead. It's considered good luck to be the one who bites into the plastic toy skeleton that the baker hides in each loaf of this special bread.
To celebrate the Hindu holiday of Diwali, farmers dress up their cows with decorations and treat them with respect. The farmers show their thanks to the cows for helping the farmers earn a living.