BHS students and staff reflect on holiday traditions

Christmas memories: Christina Burroughs decorates her tree with stockings with the names of current family members and of those who have pasted away.

By Hialeah Bever

The holiday season has come and gone, and as many families prepared cookies and sang carols, others practiced their unique traditions that made the holidays even more special. Students and staff explain how their family’s religion and culture added distinctive twists to the season, and how their variation of the holidays continued this year.

A large part of holiday plans was tied to religion, as both Christmas and Hanukkah are centered around their respective beliefs. Many used the time to reflect on their faith, often reading up on the lessons their religion preaches.

“We go to late service, and at the end, you hold this candle and sing ‘Silent Night’ which I personally enjoy because it’s a song I love,” said Rylee Knutsen. “I was raised as a Lutheran, which is a form of Christianity and I went to a Lutheran school for 8 years. So it’s grown on me that Christmas is just one of those days that you go [to church].”

But for many families, the holiday season isn’t connected to religion at all; rather, it’s turned into a time to visit with family and friends. This was especially true in foreign countries where religion isn’t a cornerstone of many communities.

“I’m not Catholic or anything like that. I imagine that it would be more significant for you if you are. So for me, it is mostly about presents and time with family.” said Swiss exchange student, Quentin Legrix.

“In Switzerland, we have St. Nicholas Day on the 6th of December and that’s if you’re younger and you want to visit Santa,” said Elin Blatter, a foreign exchange student. “He visits us in school and often brings little treats like nuts, oranges, and chocolates.”

“In Bulgaria, the holiday season is very similar to yours because we watch a lot of American movies. We put out cookies and milk for Santa next to our Christmas tree and we have presents and things like that. And we have a sweet bread that has granulated sugar on top, with raisins in it.” said Ventisislav Ivanov. “We don’t have the socks though. We just put our gifts under the tree.”

Meanwhile, in America, there are plenty of families whose roots go back to a foreign country. Some still honor the traditions that were brought over, continuing the legacy of those before them.

“My great-grandma was German, her parents came from Germany and she was the first generation. Her family has some traditions and one of them is making a cookie called peppernut. It’s not good though, so don’t get excited. It was a cookie they ate during the Great Depression, it’s made with flour, water, black pepper, and some other strong flavors.” said Christina Burroughs. “So that is a tradition we do leading up to Christmas, we make peppernut cookies.

No matter what tradition or religion was practiced during this season, it’s obvious that the holidays did have one common factor at its core.

“The holidays are a time dedicated to being with family, at least, that’s why we celebrate it.” said Burroughs. “Even family members who are no longer with us, we keep them alive through little stocking ornaments we hand on our Christmas tree. It’s just a great way to remember them and to appreciate the people around us.”


Hialeah Bever is a junior. This is her second year

as a staff writer for The Growl and her first as editor.


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