Although Christmas is a very celebrated holiday among many people, there are lots of different holidays that occur between December and early January besides Christmas. A few of these holidays include New Years Eve and Day, Hanukkah, and Pongal.
Everyone has different traditions for New Years, and one student at Washington shared their family traditions with us. “We invite our family friends to our house, we take photos, then we chill out and watch a movie or play video games; we get champagne glasses (kids get sparkling apple cider in the glasses) and we say something we want to start [doing] in the new year and then when it’s close to midnight, we countdown and when it’s exactly midnight we all drink the champagne/apple cider and celebrate.”
Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that reaffirms the ideals of Judaism and concentrates on the redemption of the second temple of Jerusalem by the lighting of candles on each day of the festival. This holiday occurs on different days each year. According to a fellow Husky student, their family celebrates by “lighting the Menorah, eating jelly donuts, playing the dreidel, and not doing any work while the candles are lit.” The importance of Hanukkah to this student’s family is “celebrating our religion, and a free pass to eat jelly donuts”.
Lastly, Pongal is a celebration dedicated to the Hindu sun god. The significance of this celebration is to thank the sun god for agricultural abundance. Another student shared with us how their family celebrates the holiday “We wake up early and get dressed in new clothes. Then we make a savory dish called Pongal along with some sweets. It’s served with sugarcane. Kids generally get money on this day.” The prime reason they celebrate is to “show thanks to God for giving us food.”