Holiday plans vary for diverse enrollment
By Thunderword Staff
Due to Highline's diverse population, Christmas time brings a multitude of different holiday celebrations. In a survey, students shared their not-so-traditional holiday traditions.
Student Mi-Seon Lee said although her Christmas plans aren't far off from most others, she comes from Korea, where the traditions are much different.
"Christmas is not a traditional thing for Koreans, but I am Christian and it's a national holiday," she said.
"In Korea, unlike America, most stores, restaurants and businesses are open on Christmas day. Many people like to go out to eat on Christmas but the meals are very expensive. I set up my Christmas tree and decorations two weeks before Christmas, have my kids write Christmas cards and go to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus," Lee said.
Student Jenny Cortez celebrates with Hispanic traditions.
"I'm an El Salvadorian that also has some Mexican traditions," she said.
"Our tradition is to open Christmas presents at Midnight on Christmas Eve," Cortez said. "A lot of Hispanic cultures do that."
Another student, Lauren Gomez, also celebrates a special midnight tradition.
"My family is Brazilian and we always go to church on Christmas Eve for midnight mass."
Tristan Hernández celebrates Christmas with food and fireworks.
"It is always a big celebration at my house with traditional Colombian food, drinking and enjoying our family," he said.
"Me and My cousins usually light fireworks on Christmas and a few days after."
David a student from Ethiopia, said he celebrates Christmas on a later day.
"We celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7, because the Ethiopian Church uses the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar," he said. "Modern Ethiopian families celebrate Christmas as western culture does, with a tree, by sharing meals, giving presents and by going to church."
Iraqi student Zainab doesn't celebrate Christmas in a traditional way due to her Islamic beliefs, but still finds ways to make it a special occasion.
"My son asks me why we don't put up a Christmas tree," she said.
"We don't like to do that because it's not in our religion, but some Muslims do celebrate Christmas," she said.
"Sometimes we'll get together, and we'll give each other gifts because we want to. It's not something we feel we have to do but we want to," she said.
An international student from Japan plans to celebrate with her boyfriend instead of her family this year.
"In Japan, we don't celebrate Christmas with our family," she said. "If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you spend Christmas with them and if you don't, you just celebrate with your friends," she said.
Student Lien-Chi Huynh celebrates like many other Americans by going to church with her family, setting up a Christmas tree and playing the traditional white elephant game. Her Vietnamese family adds their own twist to the holiday.
"We all bring Vietnamese dishes like pho, eggrolls and che," Huynh said.
She and her family also spend Christmas with their ancestors. "We go our grandparents' grave and bring incense candles then we bow and start praying," she said.
Highline Student Dianell Salinas plans to have a lengthy dinner with her family this Christmas. It has been their tradition to host long Christmas parties lasting several hours past midnight for years.