Valentina Buendía / Staff reporter
The holiday season is coming up, and in Canada, we have the fortune of having a great diversity of cultures and traditions from all over the world. Typically, holidays can represent a time of unity and coming together and celebrating with your friends and family.
At this time of year, there are many holidays celebrated in different cultures, some are celebrated by religious communities, and some are not, however, many even secular communities still celebrate and consider them as an occasion of spending time with the people you love, forgiving and being grateful.
“I’m not religious but [Christmas] is a tradition that I’ve always celebrated with my family,”, said Karina Tsoy, grade 10. “To me, Christmas means family and celebrating with the people that you care about, spending time with loved ones, and having a good time.”
“On December 21st I celebrate “Dongzhi” (also called as Winter solstice). “Dongzhi Festival” was a really important holiday for ancient China. Although it’s not as formal as it used to be, we still celebrate it”, said grade 12 student, Rhya Wang. “It is one of the most important solar term in Chinese 24 solar terms and the only solar term that most people are actually celebrating. It is a traditional Chinese folk festival for ancestor worship. Moreover, “dong” means winter, “zhi” means arrive and acme, so “Dongzhi” is the real arrive of winter and the day that has the shortest daytime in a year, after “Dongzhi”, the days will get longer instead of shorter.”
There are families out there who celebrate different holidays every year. Nonetheless, not everyone has the money to buy gifts, a place to call home, or a family. Therefore, it is essential to give back in some way to our community and be empathetic to others.
Kendall McCormick’s article “33 Easy Ways to Give Back” suggests people can run a race for a good cause, spend time in nursing homes with those who don’t have families, donate to a children’s hospital or donate things you no longer use to another place, take lunches to people who work on the holidays, give presents to children whose parents aren’t present, donate to a charity and toy drives.
“I love giving gifts more than receiving and I usually give back to loved ones”, said Tsoy, when asked how she gives back on Christmas.
With different holidays come different traditions, and these can vary between countries, families, and even states or provinces.
“The winter Solstice marked the rebirth of the sun and the sun’s round-trip movement into a new cycle, so ancient Chinese people regarded it as a “huge lucky day”. In southern China, there is the custom of offering sacrifices to ancestors and feasting on the winter solstice. In northern China, it is customary to eat dumplings on the winter solstice every year. But nowadays most people, including me, just eat dumplings, only old people or some specific families will set the ceremony of ancestor worship as it is too complicated. Moreover, family members also get together on that day”, said Wang.
“On the day of Christmas, our family celebrate by exchanging gifts, do some baking, and decorate trees to feel the Christmas spirit”, said Jinwon Soul, grade 12.