Kean getting ready for the holidays

By: Vera Boateng 

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With the changing colors of the leaves, the cold temperatures and daylight saving time, it is apparent that fall is upon us. Although the start of the fall was Sept. 23, and winter starts on Dec. 21, the holiday spirit is felt far earlier by some of Kean’s faculty, students and staff. With familial holidays approaching, the traditions they look forward to are indulging in special food recipes and doing fun activities together.

Families of different cultures and backgrounds use current popular food trends, like making creative spreads and sauces, as entertainment. Sharing unique holiday food ideas from different cultures and integrating them with traditional recipes creates fresh, original recipes that can be passed on through generations.

“For Thanksgiving, we have a dish called mole Poblano. This is basically like a chicken with black and red sauce that can sometimes have chocolate on top to help make a salty and sweet flavor. At Christmastime, my parents make a Mexican dish called Ponche, which is like a fruity drink that has apples, sugar cane and mixed fruits. You always know my parents are starting it up because it smells so sugary throughout the kitchen.” —Angelica Amigon, a senior at Kean University.

“My wife is Italian American, so one special thing that we do is 7 fishes. What this means is there are 7 types of seafood served. The origin is from the Catholic tradition of not eating meat on the eve of a holiday.” —Professor Joseph Bakes, a Kean faculty member.

Food during the holidays can also serve as entertainment for children. Common foods items such as pasta and oatmeal, with a little imagination can be more than that. A Kean University staff member explained that on Christmas Eve, her son and grandson gather all the young children in the family to go outside to put out food for Santa’s reindeer. This “reindeer food” consists of dried oatmeal flakes and glitter. The children believed that the reindeer food was magical because of the glitter added. These traditions vary from country to country.

In Argentina, it is common for children to help in decorating the nativity scene before Christmas. In some parts of Africa on Christmas the children choirs sing in front of the church priests and do a traditional dance rendition for them.

Other common Christmas traditions for children in the United States include putting out cookies for Santa and reading Christmas stories.

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