With the holidays coming in, families have been putting up decorations to show off their holiday spirit. For this article, staff reporters of the Chronicle interviewed teachers and students throughout HR who celebrate different holidays. They were asked about the meaning of their holiday, how they celebrate, and how it will be different this year.
Andye Wolff, TOD ASL – Hanukkah
Wolff celebrates Hanukkah during the holiday season. She said, “I’m not a huge Hanukkah person. We will make our latkes, and we’ll light our candles every night and say the prayer.” Wolff celebrates the holiday with her two daughters, but she usually celebrates one night with family members.
“One night normally, in a non-pandemic world, we would get together with our cousins and go and have latkes and exchange gifts and just be together for one night, but we won’t do that this year.” Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights. It originated because the temple got destroyed and they found a jar of oil which lasted eight nights instead of one. Wolff said, “The latkes are fried in oil. Everything is fried in oil.” Wolff’s favorite dish is latkes and the food is fried in oil because the holiday is centered around the oil.
Brian Domokos, English teacher – Christmas
Domokos said, “As a Christian, the holiday for me is about a God who loves me enough to come into the world and experience the pain that we have caused.” Domokos loves Christmas lights and decorating his house with them. He said, ”I love reading by the Christmas tree lights; it makes me so happy.”
Domokos said that his family is still in the process of creating traditions since his daughter is fifteen months old. “I’m trying to start some new ones where we get a new cookie cutter every year and make cookies, but a fifteen month old is very bad at making cookies,” said Domokos. Some other traditions that Domokos and his family are trying include reading the Bible every night, making a new glass ornament with sliced up momentos (such as his daughter’s birth announcement), and annually proposing to his wife using origami cranes. Domokos’ family has a very specific Christmas menu, but he said, “My mom makes the best Christmas cookies. My mom makes these spritz Christmas cookies and she makes fudge. My mouth is watering just thinking of it.”
Chloe Kelly, senior – Christmas
Kelly said, “Christmas has that distinctive smell. It is also a time for the family to get together and be happy.” Her favorite Christmas traditions are playing lots of Christmas songs and putting up the Christmas tree with her brother.
She celebrates the holidays by eating lunch and dinner with her family. “My grandmother makes a whole bunch of treats and food that would smell up the place,” said Kelly. Her favorite holiday dish is the sweet potato pie that her mom makes. After eating, they would stay up until midnight to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Suhani Singh, freshman – Christmas
Singh said, “In India, it depends on the families if they want to celebrate Christmas. Yes, you celebrate if you’re Christian. You can celebrate even if you’re Hindu; it’s optional.” Singh’s family is Hindu and they celebrate Christmas.
She said, “I Love Christmas. It reminds me of Diwali. I like it when the whole family is with me and we’re celebrating and praying to the Gods.” Her holiday traditions are hanging up Christmas lights and giving gifts to each other. For her favorite holiday dishes, Singh loves any kind of Indian food and sweets while her favorite American dish is apple pie.
Rexton Bourdelais, junior – Hanukkah
Bourdelais said, “Hanukkah is the most festive holiday. It’s when I enjoy the most while still being Jewish.” His favorite holiday dishes are latkes and a casserole called noodle kugel.
A holiday tradition his family has been doing is celebrating the first night of Hanukkah, “The first night every single year, my family with some guests make this big Hanukkah feast with all of our favorite Jewish food. We also play a children’s game where we open presents. Even the Jewish kids I talk to don’t do what we do, it is our own family’s thing.” Other than a party, Bourdelais’ family look at lights. He said, ”I love the lights, so my family and I go around it at night every December, we go look at all of the lights in Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, and wherever else.”
Carlynn Claypool, Community Chair & Francine Palmos, Staff Reporter