Brantley Holiday Traditions
January 30, 2017
Filed under Student Life
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The time of year to decorate the Christmas tree, to light candles on the menorah, and to hide baby Jesus figurines inside decorative bread has come upon us once again. No matter what holiday is being celebrated, the traditions and festivities that accompany them are what excites many people for the holidays all year long.
Hanukkah is the eight-day celebration commemorating the time when Jews fought for their religious freedom from the Greeks. Throughout Hanukkah, children play games such as the dreidel, and listen to many traditional songs. The dreidel, typically played while listening to “I Have a Little Dreidel”, is a four-sided spinning top decorated with a Hebrew letter on each side. Depending on which letter the dreidel lands on, a child receives a particular amount of chocolate gold coins. In addition to games, participants are allowed to open one gift on each night of the eight-day celebration.
“On the first night my family usually starts by setting up the menorah and putting the first candle in,” senior Carly Zeffern said. “We usually will have dinner with another family and then we will sing the traditional blessings over the candles and a few songs too. Then we open a few presents and that’s it.”
On Christmas Day, people gather around Christmas trees to open presents in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ. Santa Claus is the legendary figure, who is said to bring gifts to the well-behaved children on Christmas Eve, so that the children will wake up to them on Christmas Day. Along with opening gifts, many families decorate their houses by placing elves upon shelves, and hanging up stockings and lights.
“To me, Christmas means spending time with friends and family and enjoying the holiday festivities,” sophomore Caroline Haas said. “I love putting up my Christmas tree, decorating the house, and seeing all the lights in my neighborhood.”
The Hispanic-Christian holiday, Three Kings Day, is a celebration in honor of the three divine men who were guided by the North Star on their twelve day journey to present baby Jesus with three symbolic gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Every year during January, families all over the world hide baby Jesus figurines inside ‘kings bread’. The person who finds baby Jesus first is given a blessing and has the responsibility of making the bread for the following year.
“My favorite holiday tradition is probably when my whole family comes together to celebrate the adoration of Jesus,” sophomore Amanda Garcia said. “I love seeing my family having fun and smiling and laughing together, we all get to have fun and bond.”
Every holiday has its own unique traditions and distinctive qualities that make them some of the most treasured times of the year. Once this year’s holiday traditions arrive, they will certainly have people longing for them again next year.