Holidays Here, There, and Everywhere


What is it about holidays that seem to put people in a good mood? For me, it’s the traditions. One of the major holidays that my family celebrates, Christmas, is made special for me by the lights, the music, the time spent with family, and all the little things we do each year. Growing up, I adored baking cookies, setting up decorations, lighting candles, going shopping, wrapping presents, opening stockings, and doing it all with my family. The commitment to traditions is part of what has made celebrating holidays so important to me.

Every December with my family is spent baking, decorating, watching movies, and listening to Christmas music non-stop. Then come Christmas Eve; we all eat a big dinner and go to a candlelight service at the church. We wake up in the morning and gather together to eat my dad’s famous cinnamon rolls and open gifts as a whole family. I can’t imagine the holidays without those things, but I always love hearing about how other households, other families, and other cultures celebrate the holidays they to. Whether it’s hearing about how St. Nicholas’s day is the Dutch Christmas or the kinds meals families eat during Hanukkah, I like to talk about holiday traditions. These next few months bring us lots of different holidays; Valentine’s day in February, St Patrick’s day celebrated on March 17th by Irish and Catholic communities everywhere, Easter comes around in mid-April, and so does ANZAC day. The most upcoming holiday that is on most of our minds at this point in the semester is Carnaval, the week of festivities leading up to Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Lent is recognized by a variety of Christian denominations and is the 40 days leading up to Easter. During this time people typically fast; some stop eating sweets, some people remove meat from their diet, and I had a friend who took this time to cut out social media. In anticipation of this fasting period, Carnaval is a celebration week with parties, food and drinks, dancing, and music for everyone. It’s a holiday that I had never considered before, but it’s since become one that I look forward to each year.

Later in April, ANZAC day is recognized in Australia and New Zealand. This is a day of remembrance for the ANZAC(Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) soldiers that fought in World War I, and particularly those that died in one of the first battles fought by them. Families bake ANZAC cookies—cookies that are made without eggs—and there are commemorative services in the morning and marches throughout the day. With Chinese New Year in February, Cinco de Mayo celebrated in Mexico, Mother’s and Father’s days around the world, Good Friday, and countless independence days, there are so many holidays observed around the world; just look around the Graded community.

As much as my traditions mean to me, I think it’s important that we understand and know about the ways in which the people around us celebrate what matters to them. These upcoming months are filled with holidays worldwide and it’s a great time to learn what they are all about.


Sources: WhyChristmas