Cultural Traditions

Different holiday celebrations

by Brandon Almazan (Business Manager) – 12/14/17

Cultural traditions can be unique in their own ways, but not everyone is aware of the different celebrations. In Mexico, they have El Dia de Los Reyes Magos instead of Christmas. They are referred to as the three wise men who followed the star of Bethlehem. They arrived with their gifts of gold as they visited Baby Jesus after his birth. This holiday is celebrated on January 6th; while it’s especially well known in Mexico, it can be practiced anywhere.

In reality it is very similar; someone comes during the night after leaving a letter, and you receive a present. For those students raised in Mexico, the holiday might have a more of a significance in their life than those students who grew up around Christmas. It can be seen as the same way with the foods we eat during the holidays or specific celebrations. Mexicans tend to eat pozole and tamales for Christmas, as opposed to other ethnicities who might eat a different traditional dish. Different ethnicities and religions will all celebrate it differently one way or another.

Another well-known tradition is the celebration of Kwanzaa, a week long holiday from December 26th to January 1st. The seven candles on the kinara symbolize seven principles; Umoja (Unity), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Kwanzaa was the first specifically African-American holiday created by a man named Maulana Karenga and the meaning of the word kwanzaa means “first fruits of the harvest.”

Traditions can also differ when it comes to gathering as a family. Some people will stay home, while others will go to a relative’s house. The same applies to the opening of gifts because some families stay up till midnight on the 24th while other families wait till Christmas morning when they wake up.

The value of holidays will also vary depending on culture, where the price of gifts don’t matter so much as spending quality time. Regardless the true way to spend the holidays is with family, to celebrate in our own unique ways. El Dia de los Reyes Magos and Kwanzaa are just a few of multiple traditions that will be celebrated during December.

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