Valley students celebrate winter holidays

Abby Benson, Staff Writer

As the holiday season rolls in, we should think about various cultures that celebrate this time of year. VMSS students and staff celebrate several different holidays, and here are some of them.

The first one on the list is Christmas. This is a Christian holiday celebrated on December 25 commemorating the birth of baby Jesus, which is often depicted as Mary (mother) and Joseph along with the baby Jesus, in a stable. A thing you will notice in a Christmas- celebrating home is the very famous Christmas tree. This is really just an evergreen decorated with ornaments, pictures and lights, which many families have fun decorating. Also, if you ever get the chance, try some “Christmas cookies” which are sometimes spritz, sugar cookies, or any other type cut in the shape of a snowman and containing an unbelievable amount of sugar.

The second on this list is Hanukkah or Chanukah, which is a Jewish holiday celebrated on December 12-20 that celebrates the rededication of the holy temple and the olive oil that lasted a group of Jews in a cave for 8 days instead of 1 day, the usual amount of days for the ration. The most important thing you will notice is the centerpiece of this holiday, the menorah. The menorah is an 8-candle holder candlestick. Each night, the family celebrating will light one candle representing one night the Israelites had their oil until all of the candles are lit. Another thing you will see at work is children and adults alike playing with a spinner called a dreidel. They try to win the coins or chocolate payed out and give up or win everything or until everyone calls it quits.

The next holiday on the list is Kwanzaa, a celebration in the African-American community that honors African heritage. Celebrated December 26- January 1st (this year), it was created to show us the importance of African American culture and the dispersion of their ancestors. At the middle of it all is a 7-candlestick holder, the kinara. This symbolizes the 7 principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba.  Usually, the families will celebrate whatever tradition their family historically celebrated, which can sometimes be music or craft making. They may also set out fresh fruit which reminds them of Africa.

Lastly, we have the internationally-celebrated New Year’s, which takes place on, you guessed it, the first day of the new year (January 1). This is a non-religious holiday celebrating a new year and new beginnings. Many families have made it their tradition to watch the NY New Year’s Eve ball drop on New Year’s Eve, but they may just stay up all night with snacks and watch movies. A common thing for families to do is make New Year resolutions which is a promise or goal we set for ourselves for the new year whether it be running 5 miles every morning or trying harder in school.

I hope that there were some holidays you enjoyed learning about on this list and that you learned a little something about new cultures.


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