Students celebrate array of winter holidays


Photo courtesy of Reni Zolt

Some students celebrate winter holidays and traditions other than Christmas. Shown, Hanukkah cookies.

Zack Buster, Editor-in-Chief

Some AACC students will celebrate holidays and traditions other than Christmas this winter for cultural and religious reasons.

First-year transfer studies student Reni Zolt, who celebrates Hanukkah, said it gets annoying when people compare it to Christmas, adding that others should be more open minded to those who celebrate different holidays.

“Hanukkah and Christmas are not rivals,” Zolt said.” They are not supposed to be polar opposites. … I think that people should be allowed to be whatever religion they are and not be afraid.”

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish holiday that commemorates the rebuilding and rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. From Dec. 18-26 this year, observers will exchange gifts, light ceremonial candles on holders called menorahs, and some will recite prayers and sing traditional songs.

Zolt, who attended a religious school, said the other kids at school made fun of a Hanukkah game in which players spin a four-sided dreidel and bet on which side it will land.

“They made a parody of Meghan Trainor’s ‘All About That Bass,’ but instead [of the original lyrics] it was, ‘I’m all about that dreidel, about that dreidel, no Christmas,’” Zolt said.

However, Zolt recalled some fond memories of past gifts, saying a favorite was a screaming goat toy that caused a stir in the classroom.

“So I was having fun with it,” Zolt said. “It was my little fidget and I took it to high school. … We were doing a test. … I put my bag down on the part where the screaming goat was and it pressed the buttons and so people just randomly heard that.”

Other students celebrate Christmas along with cultural traditions. 

Second-year nursing student Vanessa Cardozo will celebrate Las Posadas from Dec. 16-24.

Las Posadas is a religious celebration symbolizing the journey of the Biblical characters Joseph and Mary to the town of Bethlehem. 

Cardozo, whose family is from Mexico, said one of their traditions is to bake a small figurine into a cake and whoever gets the slice with the toy in it will host the celebration next year.

Cardozo said “by far” her favorite memory from the holidays is traveling to Mexico to celebrate with her extended family, saying she felt “very grateful” seeing all of the people having a good time and exchanging gifts.

One Christian student said her family has a birthday party for Jesus instead of a Christmas celebration.

“We call it a Jesus celebration,” first-year nursing student Gabby Palmer said. “It’s a celebration for Jesus’s birthday. You give all your thanks to him.”

Palmer, whose family goes to a apostolic Pentecostal church, said her family celebrates the winter holidays by writing birthday cards to Jesus, praying and singing songs together.

“We, we don’t give gifts, we make cards for Jesus,” Palmer said. “Sometimes we get balloons, and we put the cards on the balloons and send them up to the sky—so essentially, sending them off to heaven.”

This article was edited to correct the pronouns of a student.