Students Celebrate Different December Traditions

December is here!  Students and faculty anticipate this month all semester. It is not anticipated because of the cold weather, finals, and snow occasionally, but for the holidays and better yet the end of the semester.

No more gray hairs and dark circles under the eyes from studying and staying up late to finish papers and projects. No more stressing deadlines and doing research papers; well at least for a few weeks.

While some students will go back home and spend the holidays with their families, some will spend it with a group of friends, jumping from house to house, getting a sample of the holidays in other homes. Some people will even spend it giving back more than receiving.

The holidays celebrated during this time varies from many different cultures and religions. There is Christmas. Deepavali or Diwali. Hanukkah, Kwanza and Ramadan. Then there also is the Dominican and Puerto Rican cultured way of celebrating Christmas.

And Mercy students will be participating in the various traditions in their own way.

“In my aunt’s house, we all enjoy some really good Puerto Rican food made by my relatives – and of course we have to have the Coquito to drink. It just feels as if I’m in Puerto Rico during the holidays,” said student Jeremy Lopez. “And after we are all stuffed we pull out the dominos and the competitions begin. Then of course it’s time to open the gifts and see all the giant smiles on everyone’s faces, even if they get something they didn’t want.”

Other students have more casual approaches.

“A typical Christmas in my household is nothing special quite honestly. When you live in a two-member household, there’s not much to really do other than put up the Christmas tree and make the house more vibrant than it usually is,” said student Paul Canales

But the holiday that is celebrated by the majority of people and the holiday advertised on the media the most is Christmas.

For those who celebrate Christmas, a traditional Christmas night with the family consists of eggnog by the fireplace, a family dinner constisting of various fishes or meats, singing Christmas carols, and better yet opening presents (traditional, according to the movies.)

Some families even have what they consider to be a weird tradition that they follow.

“A tradition that we have that I consider weird is every Christmas we have three prank gifts. There is a funny prank, a gross prank, and a naughty prank. So before we open the gifts everyone guesses who’s going to get which prank. This is pretty hard to do since my family is pretty big. Sometimes you get lucky and other times we all fail. But regardless it’s always funny when the pranks come out,” said Lopez.

“A weird tradition my family does is a dance off. Every year the family gets into a circle and we all just battle each other. It’s funny because a lot of my family can’t dance so its just fun to watch all their efforts,” said another student.

“As you grow up you tend to stop following the traditions of opening gifts at Midnight on Christmas, so no I don’t have any traditions. The only thing I do consistently is if I am still awake I send Christmas texts to people I care about,” said Canales.

Whether its decorating a pineapple versus a tree, or drinking a coquito versus drinking eggnog, the concept of giving, receiving and being around those you love is shared throughout most households.

“My favorite thing about the holidays is being able to see my family. I really don’t get to see them a lot, especially since I have family that are in the military and I have other family that live in different states York. Seeing them makes me so happy because I get to catch up with them and see how big my cousins are getting and being able to hug them. I guess that’s what I look forward to the most. The gifts are good the food tastes good but what really matters to me is being able to see my family all reunited and happy. We have our weird moments and jokes but being able to laugh, take pictures, record videos and have memories is all worth the weirdness,” said Lopez.

During this time of the year, it’s good to sit back and reflect on the things you are grateful for. As many are grateful that the first semester to be finally over, there’s always things to find to be grateful for, even in its smallest measurement.

“Being able to buy gifts for my nephew and niece and seeing the looks on their faces when they get what they asked for or something they didn’t expect at all. Most of my family lives outside of New York so they are along with my mother and sister are the only people that I bother to get gifts for. This year is different since I have a decent job and can afford to get gifts for a few of my good friends so I’m actually enjoying that now and I can’t wait to see their reactions to these gifts,” said Canales.

I’m sure most of the students who are dorming in Dobbs Ferry with their families in another state feel the same way. To all traveling, have a safe trip and to everyone may your New Year’s Eve resolutions come true and hope everyone has a happy holidays.

“The time off. After a always stressful semester, it’s always good to take time off and not have to worry about school work. You can spend time doing things you love and hanging out with good friends and having a good time. I look forward to doing those things this winter break,” said Canales.