Know Your Numerology

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The cold winter months bring many chances for warm festivities, depending on your cultural or religious background. But what does the Numerology of each of these holiday names say about the celebrations themselves? We look at four popular fetes to find out what their numbers have to say about tradition.

Christmas

"Christmas" is dominated by the number 2. This means that Christmas, as a concept, brings warmth and intimacy -- although not necessarily a romantic or sexual intimacy. In fact, with the 2 at its helm, the name "Christmas" promotes cooperation and a sense of goodwill among participants. Typical of the 2, this holiday brings forth compassion and care more than confrontation and conflict -- think of the general upbeat feeling that pervades on Christmas Eve. Christmas is a time when acquaintances, coworkers and family members tend to set aside any sources of friction to enjoy each other's company.

Thanks to the nurturing 2, Christmas has a subdued undertone. After all, it is a holiday not marked by intense activity, but by relaxation and pleasures like good food, good drink and good company.

Yule

This winter celebration is, in many ways, a precursor to Christmas, in that many Christmas traditions -- decorating a fir tree, the use of mistletoe and a focus on giving -- all come from this pagan holiday. Many Northern European populations still observe Yule today, and even in the U.S., observing the Winter Solstice is a popular excuse for a party!

The name "Yule" is dominated by the number is 9, a number that emits a communal feeling of joy. 9 characteristics include idealism, integrity and great humanity, and this holiday brings families and populations together to celebrate our connection to nature and the way the changing seasons directly affect our lifestyles.

And as a 9, Yule shares many of the same goals as Christmas -- to unite humankind, to pay greater attention to those less fortunate and to acknowledge community and togetherness.

Hanukkah

Although not technically a Jewish high holiday, Hanukkah, dominated by the number 3, represents some very "3" characteristics: namely, optimism and inspiration. After all, the Festival of Lights marks the miraculous endurance of a cherished commodity -- candlelight -- during a time of great duress for people of the Jewish culture.

With its 3 sending reverberations out into the universe, the name "Hanukkah" emits upbeat energy and, as a holiday, can charm celebrants with a sense of idealism and hope. And like Kwanzaa, Hanukkah harkens back to an older tradition of celebrating over the course of many days -- in this case, eight. This reflects the true 3 quality of bringing people far and wide together in the name of celebration.

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is the youngest of the holidays mentioned here, but its history is rich. This week-long celebration was created by African-American scholar Maulana Karenga with the aim of paying homage to African heritage during the most festive time of year in American culture. Kwanzaa has integrated traditions like candle lighting, feasts and gift-giving, and since its name is dominated by the number 5, Kwanzaa reflects a sense of freedom. In fact, it was a holiday organized to give more freedom -- and more options for celebration -- to African-Americans who wanted to embrace all facets of their background.

There is also a vibrant feeling associated with the 5, and as a young holiday, Kwanzaa reflects that kind of passion. Other 5 qualities that Kwanzaa embodies are youthfulness and energy; indeed, Kwanzaa attracts people who are looking to be unconventional, but also those who want their own rituals to enjoy. The only drawback to a 5 holiday is that it can sometimes lack organization, which is common with any new tradition that is being built upon year after year.

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