Cheers to the most wonderful time of the year

By Monica Sudfield | Published by Jan. 29, 2018

Decorating homes and buildings is a way to spread holiday cheer. Photo by Monica Sud eld

Decorating homes and buildings is a way to spread holiday cheer. Photo by Monica Sud eld

The day after Thanksgiving marks the start of what many refer to as “the holiday season.” Living in one of the most diverse parts of the country means a variety of holiday rituals and celebrations. No matter what the celebration, they all have the similar intention of honoring a sacred day and gathering together with loved ones.

Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are just three holidays commonly associated with December. In addition, there are religious days for Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans and Zoroastrians, according to the Huffington Post. These holidays include: Ashura, St. Nicholas Day, Bodhi Day, Our Lady of Guadalupe Day, Yalda, Yule, and Zoroaster.

“Spending [the holidays] with my extended family is one of my favorite things about the holidays,” said Kristen Calderoni, senior majoring in English. “We don’t see each other as much as we used to because some of my family has to work on the holidays so when we do get together it’s a lot of fun to see everyone.”

It is common that people do not get to spend every holiday with every relative, especially when they have a big family.

Jack Tomy, senior majoring in business-management, said his family celebrates certain holidays with his mom’s side of the family and others with his dad’s.

“My mom hosts Christmas Eve dinner for her side of the family at our house, and my uncle (her brother) hosts Christmas dinner at his house,” said Tomy. “My dad’s side also hosts their own Christmas Eve/Day dinners, but we typically spend Thanksgiving with that side of the family, so we don’t really see them around Christmas.”

Like Tomy, senior Courtney Glynn splits time between her mother and father’s side. Instead of celebrating one holiday with each, she spends Christmas Eve with her father’s family and Christmas with her mother’s.

“My mima makes an Italian 6 course dinner at midnight, so I technically celebrate three Christmases,” she said.

Glynn also celebrates Hanukkah, which starts this year on Dec. 12, where she enjoys a meal served with matzo ball soup, beef brisket, noodle kugel, and potato latkes.

Margie Rosado, junior majoring in communication media and film, also enjoys a variety of different foods at her holiday dinner.

Holiday Trees are a big part of the season. Photo by Kaitlin Murphy.

Holiday Trees are a big part of the season. Photo by Kaitlin Murphy.

“We do our traditional spanish cooking, which include arroz con gandules, pernil, roasted chicken, pasteles, salads and of course desserts,” said Rosado.

Tomy’s mother’s side of the family is very Polish, so they incorporate potato- stuffed pierogi every year.

In addition to reuniting with relatives and enjoying big meals, the holidays are a great time for decorations and exchanging presents.

Choosing gifts for family is one of Rosado’s favorite things about the season.

“I love going out very early in the morning to the mall since there are no classes and that’s when it’s easiest to get everything done,” she said. “You find the best deals especially closer to the 25th.”

The holiday season typically ends when the new year rolls around, where many celebrate once again with friends and family. Although many associate the new year with Jan. 1, different cultures also have their own dates associated with the holiday.

According to, there are 11 different dates associated with the new year. Americans and a variety of others celebrate on Jan. 1. Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures celebrate in February. Sikh and Iranian celebrate in March. Indian, Thai, Burmese and Sri Lankan Indian in April. Jewish, Islamic and Indian celebrate in October.

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