Christmas Cultural Traditions

Luis Gonzalez, Feature Editor

Many families do not only see Christmas as a holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus, or a time to give gifts but as way to bond with their relatives with piles upon piles of traditional foods and activities. Among students, there are diverse ethnic backgrounds that have different ways to celebrate the holiday and have different meals on their Christmas menu.

Polish Christmas traditions

According to a recent Fielder survey, Polish descendants stay true to their traditions.

“We can’t eat meat until Christmas day so we usually eat fish,” Kamil Fit, junior, said. Another Polish tradition is to celebrate the birth of Jesus by attending a midnight mass.

“We open presents on Christmas Eve after dinner and go to the midnight mass,” Patrycja Koziara, sophomore, said. Since the consumption of meat is prohibited until Christmas, many have interesting alternative dishes.

“For Christmas my family makes dumplings, cabbage, red barszc’, fish, stuffed cabbage and porridge with compote or dried fruits,” Koziara said. All Polish students surveyed said they would continue their family’s traditions when they have a family of their own.

“My family’s traditions represent my heritage,” Pamela Binda, junior, said.

German Christmas traditions

Students with German heritage also have unique Christmas traditions.

“For our family tradition, we hide the pickle ornament around the house; the person who finds it gets an extra present, a German classic,” Adam Schreiber, sophomore, said.

“We sing Christmas carols around the tree with my extended family,” Kristen Kissel, junior, said. Traditional foods also vary.

Schreiber’s family makes a whole ham in a feast with his relatives, but Kissel’s family eats Perogis and potato soup for Christmas. Again, both agreed to continue their family’s traditions when they have a family of their own.

“I would continue my traditions; because they’ve created so many ridiculous memories that I’d want my kids to experience,” Kissel said.

Hispanic traditions

Serena Guzman, junior, said that her family tradition is watch Christmas movies and visit family. Guzman also said that her family makes tamales for their Christmas dinner.

Jarod Rodriguez, freshman, said his family comes over to have a Christmas breakfast, and for dinner they eat turkey.

“Yes I will pass down this tradition, because it’s a fun thing to do and gets the whole family together,” Rodriguez said.

Russian traditions

Like the other ethnic backgrounds, students who are Russian also have unique traditions.

“Family is organized to only have to buy a gift for one person; we only get one present from one person,” Savannah Kelly, junior, said.

“For Christmas dinner, my family and I eat meat, potatoes, squash/beats, and rice,” Kelly said.

Kelly said she would continue her tradition, because it’s how she learned; at this point, she wouldn’t know which other way to celebrate Christmas.

African American traditions

Molly Grant will also continue her family’s Christmas tradition, because she loves it!

“After opening presents, we watch movies then go to my extended family’s home for dinner,” Grant said. For Christmas, Grant’s family makes serk turkey, macaroni and cheese, and candied yams.