The best books on The Day of The Dead, recommended by Regina Marchi

As long as they live in our memories, family members and loved ones who have died remain with us. That’s what is celebrated on the Day of the Dead, an indigenous Latin American tradition that survived both Catholic missionaries and the modernizing state to flourish in recent years, featuring in more than one Hollywood blockbuster. Regina Marchi, a professor at Rutgers University and author of Day of the Dead in the USA, talks us through the origins, evolution and contemporary celebrations of the Day of the Dead.

The Best Books for Hanukkah, recommended by Dara Horn

Hanukkah means ‘a dedication’ and the celebration of the Jewish holiday towards the end of every year commemorates the success of the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid Empire and the re-consecration of the Temple of Jerusalem in the second century BCE. Here, award-winning novelist Dara Horn recommends books that speak to the powerful themes of Hanukkah and explains why Jewish people are encouraged to light menorahs publicly around the world.

The best books on Christmas, recommended by Bruce Forbes

Did you know that Santa Claus was a 4th century bishop in what is now Turkey? That Puritans tried to outlaw Christmas? Or Tiny Tim was originally Little Fred? Religious scholar Bruce Forbes recommends books that shed light on Christmas’s pagan past and consumerist present.

The best books on The Christmas Story, recommended by Brent Landau

The story of the birth of Jesus is the part of the Gospels that is least based on history, explains religious studies scholar Brent Landau. Jesus was probably not born in Bethlehem and he may have been visited by as many as 12 wise men. He picks books to help understand the real Christmas story.