This is an incomplete list of festivals and holidays that take place during the winter or late autumn in the northern hemisphere. Many festivals of light take place in this period since the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere is the Winter Solstice.
Holidays are listed in chronological order under each heading.
Inti Raymi: Festival of the Sun in Quechua, winter solstice festival in areas of the former Inca empire, still celebrated every June in Cuzco.
Bodhi Day: 8 December - Day of Enlightenment, celebrating the day that the historical Buddha (Shakyamuni or Siddhartha Guatama) experienced enlightenment (also known as Bodhi).
Samhain: 31 October-1 November - first day of winter in the Celtic calendar (and Celtic New Year's Day)
Winter Solstice: 21 December-22 December - midwinter
Imbolc: 1 February - first day of spring in the Celtic calendar
Signature of the Constitution of the Republic of China (Taiwan): 25 December - a secular national holiday, which due to its date is celebrated in some respects like Christmas
Chinese New Year: (late January - early February) - considered the end of winter in the traditional Chinese calendar
All Saints Day: 1 November (in Western Christian churches)
Advent: four weeks prior to Christmas.
Saint Nicholas' Day: 6 December
Christmas Eve: 24 December
Christmas: 25 December
12 Days of Christmas: 25 December through 6 January
Saint Stephen's Day: 26 December
Saint John the Evangelist's Day: 27 December
Holy Innocents' Day: 28 December
Saint Sylvester's Day: 31 December
Watch Night: 31 December
Feast of the Circumcision: 1 January
Feast of Fools: 1 January
Saint Basil's Day: 1 January (Christian Orthodox) In Greece, traditionally he is the Father Christmas figure.
Twelfth Night: Epiphany Eve: 5 January
Epiphany: 6 January: the arrival of the Three Magi.
Armenian Apostolic Christmas: 6 January
Eastern Orthodox Christmas: according to the Julian Calendar, 7 January
Candlemas: 2 February
St. Valentine's Day: 14 February
Modranect: or Mothers' Night, the Saxon winter solstice festival.
Yule: the Germanic winter solstice festival
Diwali:Known as the Festival of Lights, this Hindu holiday celebrates the victory of good over evil. The five-day festival is marked by ceremonies, fireworks and sweets. Women dress up and decorate their hands with henna tattoos for the melas, or fairs. Many different myths are associated with Diwali, one of which celebrates the return of Lord Rama after a 14-year exile and his defeat of the demon Ravana.
Pancha Ganapati:Five-day festival in honor of Lord Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture. December 21–25.
Hanukkah: Starting on 25 Kislev (Hebrew) or various dates in November or December (Gregorian) - eight day festival commemorating the miracle of the oil after the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his defeat in 165 BCE.
Tu Bishvat: New Year of the Trees occurring on the 15th of Shevat, January or February.
Purim: Occurring on 14th or 15th day of Adar, late February to March, commemorating the miraculous deliverance and victory of the Jews of the Persian Empire in the events recorded in the Book of Esther
Eid ul-Adha: Starting on the 10th of Dhul Hijja, a four day holiday commemorating the Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son, Ismael.
NOTE: The Islamic calendar is based on the moon and this festival moves with respect to the solar year. It is, however, falling in the winter in the first decade of the present [21st] Century of the common era.
Pagan and Neo-Pagan
Samhain: 31 October - first day of winter in the Celtic calendar (and Celtic New Year's Day)
Yule: (Winter Solstice) - Germanic and Egyptian Pagan festival of the rebirth of the Sun
Imbolc: (Oimelc) (1 February or 2), but traditionally the evening of (31 January)
Sadeh: A mid-winter feast to honor fire and to "defeat the forces of darkness, frost and cold". Sadé or Sada (Persian: سده) Jashn-e Sada/Sadé (in Persian: جشن سده), also transliterated as Sadeh, is an ancient Iranian tradition celebrated 50 days before nowrouz. Sadeh in Persian means "hundred" and refers to one hundred days and nights left to the beginning of the new year celebrated at the first day of spring on March 21 each year. Sadeh is a mid winter festival that was celebrated with grandeur and magnificence in ancient Iran. It was a festivity to honor fire and to defeat the forces of darkness, frost, and cold.
Yalda: The turning point, Winter Solstice (December 21). End of the longest night of the year (Darkness), and beginning of growing of the days (Lights). A celebration of Good over Evil. Shabe Yaldā (Persian: یلدا) or Shabe Chelle (Persian: شب چله) is an Iranian festival originally celebrated on the Northern Hemisphere's longest night of the year, that is, on the eve of the Winter Solstice.
Chahar Shanbeh Suri: Festival of Fire, Last Wednesday of the Iranian Calendar year. It marks the importance of the light over the darkness, and arrival of spring and revival of nature. Chahārshanbe-Sūri (Persian: چهارشنبهسوری), pronounced Chārshanbe-Sūri (Persian: چارشنبهسوری) is the ancient Iranian festival dating at least back to 1700 BCE of the early Zoroastrian era. The festival of fire is a prelude to the ancient Norouz festival, which marks the arrival of spring and revival of nature. Chahrshanbeh Soori, is celebrated the last Tuesday night of the year.
=Yuletide The Persians celebrated Yuletide or 'Shab Yalda'(meaning the eve of Yalda or birh in aramic language) for more than 3000 years. This is the longest night of the year and it celebrates the birth of the Sun or Mithra. According to Persian myths, Mithra (the God of Contracts and friendship who also monitored the good and evil)was born form a fable mother on the 21st of December. And according to Herodotus 'the most important day for Persians is the Birth date'. Mithraism was a belief in Persia - The Romans did adopt Mithraism and it was practised in Rome until 320 BC, when Emperor Constantine became Christian on his death bed, permitting christianity to be practised openly) The Birth date of Jesus was set/decided in 600 BC! The Church appointed a priest called Little Denis to find out the birth date of Jesus. Little Denis was a Sarkisian from Anatolia and hence familiar to Persian belief and ritual. He decided the Birth date of Jesus is the birth of the Sun.
To this day the Persians celebrate the Yuletide night by stay up to keep the fires burning and to tell tales to pass the night while eating melons, watermelons, pomegranites (green and red are the colors of Mithra), dried fruit, sweetmeats and nuts. The Persian ceremony of seeing the night through is called 'Shab Chera' meaning 'night gazing'.
Saturnalia: the Roman winter solstice festival
Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Day of the birth of the Unconquered Sun): late Roman Empire - 25 December
Lupercalia, the Roman end-of-winter festival - 15 February
Halloween: (31 October)
Thanksgiving (United States): The celebration of the early colonization of the United States and the comradery of the settlers and the Native Americans. Occurs on the fourth Thursday in November.
Winterval: Name for winter festivities coined by Birmingham City Council to encompass all holidays being recognized from October to January
Zamenhof Day: (15 December) - Birthday of Ludwig Zamenhof, inventor of Esperanto; holiday reunion for Esperantists
Winter Solstice, Yule: (21 December or 22 December) (Late June weekend in Australia) - Celebration of the Winter Solstice.
Festivus: (23 December) - Holiday celebrating the season without the pressures or commercialism of the other holidays. At first a family holiday, later publicized on the Seinfeld television show, now celebrated independently.
HumanLight: (23 December) - Humanist holiday originated by the New Jersey Humanist Network
Chrismukkah: Slang term for the amalgam of Christmas and Hanukkah celebrated by religiously mixed families and couples
Boxing Day: (26 December) - Gift-giving day after Christmas.
Kwanzaa: (26 December - 1 January) - Pan-African festival
Yulefest, Midwinter Christmas (around late June or July) - Australian New Zealand winter 'Christmas/Yuletide'
New Year's Eve: (31 December) - Last day of the Gregorian year
Hogmanay: (Night of 31 December - Before dawn of 1 January) - Scottish New Year's Eve Celebration
New Year's Day: (1 January) - First day of the Gregorian year
Martin Luther King Day (15 January) - Birthday of American civil rights movement leader, a federal holiday on or near the date.
Hedgehog Day: 2 February - supposed archaic European version of Groundhog Day, dating back to Roman times.
Chrismahanukwanzadan: the modern-day merging of the holidays of Christianity's Christmas, Judaism's Hanukkah, African-American holiday of Kwanzaa, and Islamic Ramadan.
Holiday: Around the time of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, Pastafarians celebrate a vaguely-defined holiday named "Holiday", which doesn't take place on "a specific date so much as it is the Holiday season, itself". Because Pastafarians "reject dogma and formalism", there are no specific requirements for the holiday.
Wintersday: The annual winter holiday in the MMORPG Guild Wars. This holiday is based on Christmas and Yule and one can obtain festival related drops from monsters and collect gifts in select cities. Special quests are available and at the end players may get Wintersday related headgear.
Winterval non-religious alternative name for Christmas and Hanukkah, invented by Birmingahm City Council, England, to avoid offence, but quickly abandoned by them
Starlight Celebration: The annual winter holiday based on Christmas/Yule/winter solstice in the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI (aka FFXI). Players can collect various holiday equipment, Mog house furnishings, fireworks, and food.
Shoe Giving: - quirky holiday famously invented on the show Hyperdrive (TV series)
Freezingman: - 11 January - A Burning Man inspired event held in Colorado as a Winter Arts and Music Festival.
Feast of Winter Veil: December 15 to January 2 - holiday in the MMORPG World of Warcraft. This holiday is based on Christmas. Cities are decorated with Christmas lights and a tree with presents. Also special quests, items and snowballs are available. It features 'Greatfather Winter' which is modeled after [Santa Claus].
Kwansolhaneidmas: December 19 - an interdenominational holiday celebrated by people on Facebook.
Winter-een-mas: January 25 - January 31 - from Ctrl+Alt+Del
Feast of Frith, in the TV series Watership Down.
Holiday Number 11, in the TV series Quark.
Xmas, a twisted version of Christmas featuring a murderous robotic Father Christmas in the TV series Futurama.
Refrigerator Day, in the TV series Dinosaurs.
Life Day, featured in The Star Wars Holiday Special.
Agnostica: Agnostic winter festival created by Daren "Gav" Bleuel in the webcomic Nukees and celebrated by many of its fans.
Alvistide: in the TV series Sealab 2021.
Frostval: Adventure Quest, Dragonfable, AQworlds etc.
Festivus: a holiday invented by George's father in the TV series Seinfeld.
Hogswatch: a holiday celebrated on the fictional world of Discworld. It is very similar to the Christian celebration of Christmas.
St. Yorick's Day: Holiday celebration/even celebrated by the members of Zantarni.