Holiday Traditions of the Hall Community

Luke Udell, Staff Writer

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From the beautiful displays in my favorite stores, to the rings of the Salvation Army bells, everything just seems to take a joyful and wholesome tone during the holiday season.  There are stores’ annual sales, Starbucks’ special cups, and the festive tunes filling the air.

During these most jolly of months, I am reminded of the variety of ways people in our community enjoy this special time. In interviewing Hall students and faculty, I was able to see that there are a variety of ways we commemorate the holiday season.

Riina (DD) Cayford, a junior celebrates Ōmisoka, or the Japanese New Year, which is observed on December 31. Her family spends the final hours of the year relaxing together with friends, eating toshikoshi soba, or year-crossing noodles to represent the changing of the year.  In addition to these fun traditions, those who are religious can visit a temple or shrine for Hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the new year.

My Spanish teacher, Don David, observed Three Kings Day when he lived in his home country of Spain.  This includes a two day feast and celebration which involves the whole town. On January 5, there is a town parade involving the Three Kings, and a speech is made about how it’s “the best town in all of Spain.” Children put out their shoes in or near which, on January 6, they receive a small gift.  Families also eat roscón de reyes, or ring of kings, a whipped-cream filled cake with a toy figurine inside.  Whoever finds the small figure is the king, and has to buy the cake for the next year.

For Sophie Ennis, class of 2020, Hanukkah is a “sweet holiday.”  Her family performs customs like lighting a menorah, playing dreidel to win chocolate gelt, and eating latkes.  They also attend her synagogue for fun singing. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, but the dates of it change based on the Hebrew calendar.  Many who celebrate also partake in a tradition of gift-giving each night.

Alexei Habermehl, a Hall Junior, celebrates a traditional Russian Christmas. From black tea to eating borscht, his winter break focuses on cultural cuisine, spending time with friends and family, and relaxing before he has to go back to school.

The variety of ways in which Hall celebrates this season continues to amaze me.  Even beyond this, there are so many more ways of making this season special and fun for everyone. However you spend this very special time, I wish you, your family and friends, and the Hall community as a whole, one joyous, refreshing, and relaxing holiday season!