FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS EVENT CELEBRATES MULTIPLE CULTURAL TRADITIONS
Students gather to learn about various holiday festivals. (Photo: Annique Mclune)
WEB’s Festival of Lights event celebrated several cultures in a single colorful and informative occasion.
On Wednesday, Dec. 6, WEB hosted its event which was geared towards highlighting diversity and awareness of different cultural holidays. There were seven different stations dedicated to major holidays celebrated in seven cultures in the U.S and around the world.
“My co-chair Jessica and I wanted to highlight all the holidays that show the diversity on campus,” said Christine Fills-Aime, Multicultural Co-hair Web. This diversity was featured heavily throughout the event where students were able to integrate learning and fun.
The event was informative with regards to how and when these different holidays are celebrated, which is ideal as the holiday season commences. Festivals are deemed important because they are representative of a way to celebrate heritage, traditions, and culture. They are mediums for sharing these factors with the next generation and with loved ones.
The first station was dedicated to Kwanzaa, an African American and PAN-African holiday celebrated by many individuals in the African community worldwide. This holiday encompasses a cultural message that brings forth the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense, according to the officialkwanzaawebsite.org. Students were able to decorate their own Kikombe Cha Umoja, the Unity Cup which is a special cup used during Kwanzaa celebration to perform libations.
Second was a station on Hanukkah, a Jewish eight-day wintertime “ festival of lights”, celebrated with a nightly Menorah Lighting, special prayers, and fried food. Hanukkah is a time for the Jewish community to remember their victory in a battle against the Greeks over 2,000 years ago, and to practice their religion without restrictions, according to chabad.org. Students were able to make and decorate their own dreidel.
At the next table information was presented on Obon, an annual Japanese Buddhist event for commemorating one’s ancestors. This event has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and students decorated picture frames using Japanese cherry blossom.
There were three other tables celebrating the Chinese New year, Diwali, and Eid-al-Fitr. The Chinese New year also called Spring festival is an important Chinese festival celebrated on the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month of the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th day of the first lunar month in the following year in the Chinese calendar, according to The Telegraph. The festival is a time for family reunions, socialization, entertainment and planning for the new year. Students who stopped at that table made decorative fans.
Diwali, the festival of lights is the most celebrated festival of India, according to Independent. It lasts for five days with a different ritual each day. One of the key rituals of the festival is the Lighting of Diyas and candles around the house, this is worshiping the Laxmi Ganesha to summon health and wealth. The table had a station dedicated to making decorative gold plates.
The last station focused on Eid-al-Fitr, a festival of breaking fast. It is a three day celebration after fasting the month of Ramadan and is a teaching of the Prophet Muhammad to eat on the floor and to eat with company, according to islamicity.org.
“The event is celebrating every holiday of the holiday season, so no one is left out,” said student Briana Cali.
In addition to these diverse celebrations, the spirit of Christmas was celebrated with students being able to create snow globes that embody the season tidings.
The event was successfully able to capture the essence of what holidays mean and explore the diversity of traditions and cultures that the campus offers.