Holiday Traditions at UWP

Now that November is here, there isn’t much time left until the holidays. Between shopping for gifts and studying for finals before winter break, the months of November and December can be especially busy ones. Here at Parkside, mostly everyone has their own traditions for the holidays, students and faculty alike.

Some people have a more traditional Christmas or winter holiday, like Lisa Gagliardo, a sophomore. On Christmas Eve she spends the day with her mom’s family, and then on Christmas day she spends her time with her dad’s family. Or like Kim Gragen, who is another sophomore. She attends mass on Christmas Eve, and opens one gift that night, leaving the rest for Christmas morning. She also has stockings for the animals of the house. Some people, however, have more modern, newer traditions. Amber Weiher, sophomore, has a tradition in her family they call the “pickle tradition.” Her grandma hides a pickle ornament in her Christmas tree and Amber’s sister and herself try to find it. Whoever finds it first gets to open a gift before the other.

At Parkside, a major holiday event that is displayed is Diwali, which is one of the biggest Hindu holidays. Diwali stands as a symbol of the victory between good over evil, truth over falsity, and brightness over the dark. The festival is celebrated for five continuous days, with the third day being celebrated as the main Diwali festival, or the Festival of Lights. Colorful varieties of fireworks are always associated with this festival. On this day, people light up diyas and candles all around their house. A diya is basically a small earthen lamp that is specially lit for Diwali, for pujun and decorative purposes. A cotton wick is used, and oil or ghee serves as the burning fuel. There are many varieties of diyas, big and small, simple and fancy, colorful and plain, etc. Children can also make their own diyas out of clay or dough. Another part of the Diwali festivals is that they perform Laxmi Puja in the evening, seeking divine blessings of Goddess of Wealth. People also give gifts to the people that matter most. The PIC, or Parkside International Club, is what hosts the Diwali events at Parkside.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, or the many other traditions around the world, make sure to have a great holiday and check out all the fun events that are sure to go on at Parkside, including the Diwali festival!

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