McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Culture, Christmas, and core memories

Students at MCHS all have unique traditions around the holidays depending on their culture, religion and enthinicity
Philippe Yuan / Unsplash
Christmas lights hang across Sogo, a Japanese department store. Christmas may be a Christian holiday, but it’s celebrated by religious and non-religious people all over the world.

It is the night of Christmas Eve; snow falls lightly to the ground as a family is gathered in their warm home putting together their sweets and gifts for the days to come. The children try to sneak kolaczkis and pierogies, parents swat their hands away. Laughter fills the house as memories and traditions are made. 

There are tons of Christmas traditions from all different cultures and families. They are passed down from generation to generation, and they can have an impact on how families operate. 

Family and cultural traditions can be most prevalent around the holidays. Although the U.K. and U.S. are closely related in certain ways, traditions can vary.

“My mom is British, along with my grandma, the traditions that carried over was my grandma’s Christmas pudding, it is like fruitcake,” stated senior, Leylah Moreno. “We also do this British tradition called Christmas crackers. It is this paper tube that you crack open, and it is filled with paper crowns, a joke, toys, and sometimes candy.” 

Some traditions other British traditions include eating things like mince pies, which consists of mincemeat, being a mixture of fruit, spices and suet. Some Brits also see pantomimes, which is an extravagant musical comedy centered for families. 

“For Christmas we usually play a game called loteria which is kind of like Mexican bingo,” stated senior, Alex Casandea. “My mom also makes Mexican hot chocolate and another drink named Ponche, which is kind of like juice.” 

More Mexican Christmas traditions include the nativity scenes that are delicately put together. Although tamales are popular year round, they are especially eaten around Christmas. 

“A bunch of little shops you can go to, it is German,” described senior, Caroline Krapf, who attended the Kristalmarkt in Chicago. “You go there and there is chocolate from Switzerland, wooden carvings, and a bunch of different food.” 

Other German traditions are making stollen bread, which is a buttery bread with candied fruits and nuts, similar to fruitcake. A lot of Germans and German-Americans also roast goose for the holidays instead of cooking the traditional ham or turkey. 

Christmas can mean a lot to families, introducing new and old traditions allowing for bonds and core memories that will not be forgotten. 

Most parents think children will not remember, or that they do not really have an opinion on the traditions they do, but clearly it is moments like these that they refer back to fondly to connect with their culture. 

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