Students celebrate winter holidays

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Students celebrate winter holidays

Photo credit: Bobbie Green

Photo credit: Bobbie Green

Photo credit: Bobbie Green

Photo credit: Bobbie Green

Chasity Pugh

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With the holiday season in full swing, Loyola students are gearing up to complete finals and celebrate the season with family and friends.

However, with the diverse student body that Loyola holds, students celebrate the season differently.

Rachel Dufour, chemistry and psychology senior, celebrates Hanukkah with her family when she goes home for the holidays. This year, the holiday will be celebrated from Dec. 24 to Jan. 1.

Dufour said that each night you light your menorah, adding a candle each night, to celebrate the Hanukkah miracle.

The eight-day festival of light, Hanukkah, begins on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev. The holiday celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality.

“I tend to play a great deal of dreidel around this time, especially with the Pre-K students I teach at Touro Synagogue. I also try to do an extra good deed each day,” Dufour said.

One Hanukkah custom includes eating foods fried in oil. Dufour said her family eats a few extra fried foods such as latkes, potato pancakes and applesauce during this time.

While students like Dufour celebrate Hanukkah for the holidays, others celebrate Christmas with a twist of their own culture.

Khadija Moses, mathematics senior, is an international student and native of Trinidad. Like most, she celebrates Christmas by gathering with her family.

“Basically, the entire family gets together, usually at my grandparents’ house and everyone brings a dish,” Moses said.

In addition to holiday favorites such as ham, turkey and macaroni, Moses’ family cooks traditional Trinidadian dishes for Christmas. These include ponche de creme, which is a milk-based alcohol drink made with rum, similar to eggnog, and callaloo, which is a soup made from a leafy vegetable.

“At home, we make callaloo with a taro, desheen or callaloo bush. However, outside of the Caribbean, people tend to use spinach – since the other leaves aren’t readily available or known,” Moses said.

Moses said that the Christmas dinner is a real feast and in addition, she gets to spend time with her family.

“We come together to just talk and lime (hang out), maybe watch some TV and play games. Last year, we played Heads Up and Bean Boozled,” Moses said.

Moses said that music is also often played during her family’s Christmas celebrations. Parang and Soca Parang are types of popular folk music originating from Trinidad that reflect the Amerindian, Spanish and African heritage.

As most international students go home for the holidays, the International Student Association does a gathering for students before they leave.

Ana Rique Rivas, director of activities for the International Student Association, said this year they will hold a cookie decorating extravaganza.

“This event is also significant because the exchange students get to say goodbye. For this Christmas we are actually planning the activity for next week,” Rivas said.