Holiday celebrations begin around the world; Oakwood students share traditions

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Illustration by Sara Hagan

Holiday traditions are different for every family, which vary depending on religion and location. All around the world, families and friends will gather to partake in diverse celebrations this season.

Around the world, the month of December is considered a month of celebration for the holiday season. Here in Oakwood, many students celebrate holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah surrounded by family and friends.

“I celebrate Christmas with my dad earlier in December and then with my mom around Christmas,” Grace Worley (10) said. “My family gets together and we get each other gag gifts.”

Celebration in other countries, however, can be very different than here in America. Many holiday celebrations begin before December, such as Diwali, or the festival of lights, which began in November. Some of the world’s oldest cultures and religions celebrate Diwali, such as Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists.

“When Michelle and I visited India, we were able to join in Diwali festivities with some wonderful children in Mumbai,” President Barack Obama said in a White House statement. “It was a reminder of the traditions we share, across continents and cultures.”

Another common celebration is Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. The celebration includes lighting a menorah for eight nights, and eating foods on the final night such as latkes and doughnuts.

“My dad was raised in a Jewish family, so I celebrated Hanukkah when I was younger,” Emma Matusoff (10) said. “I think I’m probably more open minded than I would have been if I hadn’t been raised with both religions.”

According to the Washington Times, 9 out of 10 Americans celebrate Christmas. However, 81% of non-christians celebrate Christmas, as well. The most common celebration is opening Christmas presents from popular holiday figure Santa Claus, who is loosely based off of St. Nicholas, the bishop of Myra. Oakwood students celebrate Christmas in a variety of ways, such as traveling out of state or staying in Oakwood.

“We invite my aunt and uncle over and we eat Indian food whilst watching White Christmas,” Elena Marcum (10) said. ”Having memories like that makes Christmas more memorable and the memories last forever.”

By Sara Hagan

hagan.sara@oakwoodschools.org

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