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Happy HoliJays

Photo+by+Jenna+Axsom
Photo by Jenna Axsom

Photo by Jenna Axsom

Photo by Jenna Axsom

Joey O'Kelly

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It’s the holiday season – and that’s multiple holidays. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is chock-full of holidays. In fact, one religious holiday gets a lot of attention at LHS, while others do not. Students celebrate a wide variety of them.

Christmas

Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25.

“I am Catholic and my mom is Baptist,” senior Chloe Kuchta said. “I follow Christ, so Christmas is just what I celebrate.”

Christmas comes with a massive amount of pop culture through such means as music, socks, sweaters, decorations and more. It makes the season a festive one and, for some, just adds to the joy.

“I really enjoy the music,” junior Kaylee Parker said. “I enjoy the spirit of it and how everything seems to be more festive around Christmastime.”

The Bell staff polled LHS students to discover what holidays they celebrate. Of the 119 who responded, 118 said that they celebrate Christmas.

Commonly, the day after Thanksgiving is when some start to celebrate Christmas but this is not the case for Parker.

“I’ve been preparing for Christmas for a while now,” Parker said. “My walk-up songs for the softball team were Christmas songs.”

Math teacher Eniola Ajayi, who grew up in Nigeria, claims one difference between American Christmas and Nigerian Christmas is the inclusion of Boxing Day.

“In Nigeria, Boxing Day is huge,” Ajayi said. “The 25 was for family and thinking about the reason for the season and on the 26 we would open presents.”

 

Hanukkah

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah is celebrated December 12-20. It celebrates the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and is celebrated for eight days.

“I celebrate with my family,” sophomore Alyssa Lopez said. “This year it’s during finals week but usually I come home and we have our Menorah set up. We light it every night together. We sing a few songs, say a few prayers and usually, depending on the year, we hand out presents every day or just the last day of Hanukkah. The youngest gets their present first and then it goes until the oldest gets their present.”

Hanukkah has a few similarities with Christmas. There are some of the same baselines like religion and gift-giving but the length of the holiday is different as well as the reasons and history.

“It’s not really considered a major holiday because Christmas is kind of universal,” Lopez said. “I don’t see it being very different. It incorporates the idea that family should be together. I guess in some aspects it would be different just because of the meaning for it. It’s not for someone that was born on that day, it’s for our temples and saying ‘we had lighting and God brought us a miracle.’”

With the Christmas trees in the front entrance of the school, some are left wondering about the representation of other holidays.

“Maybe put a little Menorah somewhere or recognize Hanukkah with cookies or something small just to show that everybody gets to be included,” Lopez said. “I may also celebrate Christmas some years but some people don’t at all. They just do Hanukkah and they go to our school. They just get to see Christmas trees everywhere and not be included.”

 

Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a celebration of life from December 26 to January 1. This holiday is celebrated by traditional Africans and African-Americans. The holiday celebrates African heritage, unity and culture.

“The first time I celebrated it was two years ago,” freshman Trenton O’Bannon said. “My dad saw that it was a black holiday and being African-American, he wanted to make sure we celebrated it. The first year he made me read an article about it. It was pretty interesting. The second year, which was last year, we acknowledged it.”

Unlike Christmas and Hanukkah, Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday rather than a religious one. This way people of any faith may celebrate Kwanzaa, possibly in addition to another holiday.

“It’s important to me because it’s my heritage and I respect my heritage,” O’Bannon said. “I want to stay close to my roots.”

There are some misconceptions about the holiday.

“Acknowledge that it’s a holiday,” O’Bannon said. “When people are saying it’s the holiday season, don’t just be thinking of Christmas or focusing on one holiday, acknowledge other holidays.”

Keep An Open Mind

Along with these three holidays, there are also religions that don’t celebrate anything in December. Whatever holiday one celebrates, it’s important to acknowledge others and keep an open mind.

“I love the idea that even those who don’t celebrate the religious idea change to think about being nice to one another and the emphasis on giving,” history teacher Doug Winkler said

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Happy HoliJays