Students celebrate winter holidays over break


The menorah is used during Hanukkah to symbolize the seven days of creation according to the book of Genesis.

Avery Lester, Staff Writer

On the morning of December 25, many students woke up, ran down the stairs in their fuzzy pajamas and eagerly awaited the moment they could release a year’s worth of anticipation and unwrap their first gift. Even though many students celebrate Christmas, however, there are also many who celebrate other winter holidays. In fact, holidays like Hanukkah, Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day), and Boxing Day were all celebrated by students over winter break.
Hanukkah is celebrated through December 22 and 30. The eight day tradition is celebrated by more than 14 million people worldwide. One of them is senior Rachel Greenberg.
“The purpose of Hanukkah is to remember everything that Jews have faced in the past that we were able to overcome even when people did not believe in us,” Greenberg said. “Even in the present day, there are still people who bring us down and make fun of us.“
Greenberg celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas. To her, the two holidays are different not just because they are different religious practices.
“Christmas is supposed to be about loving others and the birth of Christ,” Greenberg said. “Hanukkah is more for the self than for remembering everybody.”
Another holiday celebrated by a student is Día de los Reyes Magos, which takes place on January 6. The holiday is a feast day used to commemorate the three kings that arrived at Jesus’ birth according to Christian doctrine. Junior Janet Lezama is one of the millions of people worldwide who annually partake in the festivities.
“When Jesus was born, the three kings, Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar, came to Jesus’ birth and gave him gifts,” Lezama said. “During the holiday, the kings, or your parents, leave presents under your pillow.”
Usually, the younger the child is, the more presents they get. Now, Lezama is much older and gets tiny treats under her pillow.
“When I was little it was toys, but now it’s candy,” Lezama said. “They usually slip something small so that you don’t wake up.”
The holiday includes a feast, which includes a giant crown cake.
“The cake brings everyone together,” Lezama said. “The crown cake is so big that we have all our family over to eat it.”
Another holiday celebrated by students is Boxing Day, which is held on December 26. The holiday is mainly celebrated by British and formerly British countries as a way to gather with family to remember the holiday season. Senior Drayvin Whitney is from Canada and uses the holiday to gather with her family around Christmas time.

“My family uses it as a time to regather after Christmas to come back together,” Whitney said. “We use it as a way to put everything away and remember all the experiences we’ve had over Christmas time and the entire year.”
Celebrating Boxing Day in the U.S. is rare. But Whitney believes that celebrating a holiday many do not is something very special about him.
“For most people, it’s just another day for them,” Whitney said. “For me, it’s something very unique and different from what everybody else does.”