Students celebrate holidays around the world

Published by adviser, Author: Stephanie Cheek - Assistant Campus Life Editor, Date: December 4, 2013
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Most SRU students are most familiar with the holiday of Christmas, but at the end of the year there are a lot more holidays that people of all different religions and nationalities celebrate every year.

Each booth at SRU’s Holidays Around the World event featured an organization that demonstrates a diverse holiday, and showed students some of the traditions featured. For example, some of the holidays include Hanukkah, Los Posados, and Diwali.

The NAACP chapter on campus is having a booth devoted to the holiday, Diwali.

“Diwali is an Hindu holiday celebrated in India,” Raekelsha Moss, 20, a junior social work major said. “It is also called the Festival of Lights.”

Moss who is also the President of the SRU chapter of NAACP further explained that Diwali is a five-day celebration that usually occurs between mid Oct. and mid Nov. This celebration is filled with plenty of food, fireworks, and candles.

Usually the festival takes place on the first day of the new moon marked on the Hindu calendar.

“This festival symbolizes light over dark, triumph over hardships, and good over evil,” Moss said.

According to Moss, each of the five days has something to do with the Hindu culture. For example, during the first day of the festival people make rangolis. Rangolis are pictures made out of colorful sand and rice and are usually in the shape of lotus flowers. This is another symbol that represents good over evil.

The NAACP organization is going to try and bring some of the traditions to their booth.

“A couple members will be making rangolis at the event only with a little twist,” Moss explained.

For the event, they are going to make more intricate ones compared to the traditional lotus flowers, Moss further explained.

Another holiday that is being featured at the Holidays around the World is the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, at the Green and White Society’s booth.

“For the past few years, we have always done Hanukkah as our holiday,” Katie Hill, 20, an early childhood education and special education major, said.

Hill is also the president of the Green and White Society and further explained that the reason they chose Hanukkah was because a few of the members are Jewish.

According to Hill, she is glad that they chose to represent a more diverse holiday to show the diversity of the Slippery Rock campus, and that there are more holidays in the world than just Christmas.

Some of the traditions that are celebrated during the holiday is playing dreidel, lighting a candle in the menorah for eight nights and receive a gift each night, and gold coins, usually plastic or chocolate.

“You spin the dreidel, and depending on the one of four symbols the dreidel lands on, you give up your coins or get more,” Hill explained. “It resembles poker a little.”

This year Hanukkah goes from Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Thursday, Dec. 5.

At the Green and White Society booth, they are going to having students playing the dreidel game and hand out plastic gold coins. Along with the game, students can also decorate sugar cookies, explained Hill.

The Holidays Around the World is an annual event that highlights the many nationalities that are seen at Slippery Rock.

“It really is important for SRU to represent other cultures, especially with holidays that are different from the usual Christmas,” Hill said.

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