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Festivities Around the World: Holiday Celebration Recaps

By Hannah Waldera

The holiday season in December is one of the most celebrated times of year around the world. For some, as soon as it hits November, the Christmas music starts playing, while others believe Christmas music should stay in December. Mariah Carey can be heard all around the world as the end of the year approaches and joining the rest of the world, Graceland is hopping on the Mariah Carey train.

Since students are not on campus during the holidays, Graceland celebrates early. On November 28th, Graceland faculty held their annual Winter Holiday Celebration. At the celebration, there are a variety of games, food, and giveaways where students can win Graceland-related items. The Winter Holiday Celebration is a great opportunity for students to participate in a holiday-themed event and celebrate with their friends before winter break.

Another event that Graceland partakes in is the International Holiday party which highlights the holiday season from the eyes of international students. Representatives from specific countries had tables with food and descriptions of the holiday season where they are from. This event shows appreciation towards internationals as well as provides insight to others about the different celebrations occurring around the world. Graceland does a good job of finding the balance between the different celebrations during the holiday season while still educating students as well as offering a fun activity before finals and winter break.

Our international population is a unique aspect of Graceland that makes it so special. As someone who has lived in Iowa her entire life, talking to people from different countries and cultures about their holiday season experiences has been eye-opening and has helped me learn more about my peers. I got the opportunity to interview the following people who provided insight into what the holiday season looks like around the world.

Yasmin Yusman is a senior from Singapore who does not celebrate anything specific during this time of year. Something she does celebrate is Eid al-Fitr which is celebrated after a month of fasting. During this celebration, she gets together with her family and they wear traditional garments. Then, money is given to the younger kids and the older people who no longer work. During this time, similar to Thanksgiving, a lot of food is made, such as traditional cakes to mark the end of fasting for a month. This celebration is important to allow Yusman to get together with family and celebrate together.

K’Von Dixon is a junior from the United States who celebrates Christmas. His Christmas consists of celebrating at his grandma’s house on his dad’s side of the family with a lot of food. On the day after Christmas, his mom’s side of the family gets together and partakes in a white elephant gift exchange and sings carols with a potluck-style meal. A popular dish that Dixon’s mom brings is macaroni and cheese. This is one of his favorite dishes and even says, “if she doesn’t bring macaroni and cheese, I’m not eating anything else.” He claims that the holiday is a great time for his family to get together and they are super close during this time of year.

Max Dutton is a freshman from England who also celebrates Christmas. His family celebrates with a Christmas dinner and presents. A signature holiday tradition is mixing oats and glitter, mixed up in a plastic bag that is then sprinkled outside as reindeer food for Santa’s reindeer. Some holiday-specific food that he has during this time is Christmas crackers, mince pie, and Christmas pudding. Dutton sees the holiday as a great opportunity to spend time with family and enjoy the festivities that Christmas brings.

The holiday season provides a variety of excitement and experiences for people around the world. Holidays are an important part of people’s lives that allow family and friends to spend time together as well as bring holiday cheer. So whether that be listening to Mariah Carey on full blast or hanging out with your friends at the Graceland Winter Holiday Celebration, take advantage of the joy and experiences that the holiday season brings.

Photography by Amitai Afenjar

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