When most students hear about the holidays or the month of December, they tend to think of the popular Christmas celebration on Dec. 25. However, the diversity of holiday celebration among the students is quite compelling.
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that is observed differently than Chirstmas.
“Hanukkah is called the Festival of Lights. It celebrates the miracle of when the Maccabees rebelled against the Syrian attack on their temple and an oil lamp that was supposed to last for one night, but lasted for eight nights instead, which is why it’s celebrated with eight candles. [In my family] we have a tradition of cooking a special dinner on the first night. We also play dreidel, a gambling game with a spinning top. We also get together with families to exchange gifts,” Rachel Gross (12) said.
Some students celebrate Christmas, but on a different day and in a different way.
“I celebrate [Christmas] on Jan. 7. We fast for 40 days before, and we don’t eat any meat, dairy or dairy products, but we can eat fish. On Christmas Eve, we go to church and have a mass from 7 p.m. [to] 12 a.m. After the mass, we can eat meat, so we have a big dinner,” Eva Elmalh (12) said.
Others participate in Christmas traditions such as giving and receiving presents and spending time with their families, but just not for the religious aspect of it.
“I’m not Christian or Catholic, but I celebrate Christmas by getting and giving gifts that day, so it’s mostly just for fun,” Jay Chopra (12) said.