Students keep international Christmas traditions alive


(Photo via Flickr, Creative Commons License)

No matter one's background, food is at the heart of most family Christmas traditions.

Cassidy Korduba, Contributing Writer

Not all Christmases are the same. Many WJ families continue their distinct ethnic traditions as they decorate and celebrate.

Sophomore Ariel Lee stated, “My mom grew up in Spain, and every year she tells us about how in Spain they would leave their shoes out for St. Nick on Christmas, and he would leave oranges and chocolates in them. They also had multiple feasts on Christmas Day instead of one. We carry on these traditions during Christmas.” In Spain the season starts Christmas Eve and ends with the Feast of the Three Kings.

Of Egyptian descent, Gabe Guirguis, a junior, explained, “We celebrate two Christmases; we have a normal American-style Christmas, and we also celebrate our Coptic Orthodox Christmas on January 7.” They eat liver, egg soup, grape leaves, and rice. They still have a Christmas tree up to celebrate.

Sophomore Leah Sherman described her Italian traditions. “On Christmas Eve we have all different types of seafood: clams, scallops, and shrimp are common,” Leah said. The family then attends midnight mass. They do not eat meat on Christmas Day either. In Italy, the nativity scene holds a prominent place in the home during the Christmas season. Leah’s family sets up a big nativity scene that was passed on to her family by her grandparents, who were from Italy.

Matthew Kwok who grew up in the US, described his family’s Asian-American Christmas tradition. “I meet with family and eat traditional Asian cuisine like bulgogi, kimchw, galbitan, and toekbugi. We also drink an Asian drink called podeecha, which is water with rice.” The household decorations are all-American with a Christmas tree, stockings, and snowmen.

While your family’s Christmas greeting may be “Feliz Navidad,” “Eid Milad,” “Buon Natale,” “Shen Dan Lao Ren,” or “Merry Christmas,” the moderators, staff, and contributing writers of The Pioneer wish you a blessed holiday season and want to add, “God bless us, everyone!” (Ebeneezer Scrooge, “A Christmas Carol”).