People around the world love Christmas and New Year’s like no other celebrations. No matter the nationality or race, everyone is waiting for miracles to happen during this magical time of the year. South Ural State University is a culturally diverse place where students from different countries have their ways of celebrating the holiday season. Read about Christmas and New Year traditions in India, Italy, Colombia, and Iraq shared by international SUSU students.
Vaibhav Kashyap, India
SUSU Foundation Year
In India, we celebrate New Year’s twice. The first time is on January 1 like everyone else. The second is tied to Hindu calendar and takes place around mid-March. Both days are cheerful and full of joy. Lots of fun things happen in big Indian cities during those periods of the year, including celebrity performances and pop shows. Usually, the Indian president wishes a happy new year to the nation from New Delhi. No matter the city, every Indian is involved in making sweet things and going to temples to pray to God and wish for happiness. We also like wearing new clothes during the holiday season. On New Year’s Eve, people like going out and meeting with their friends and family in fancy restaurants or hotels. Others prefer staying at home and having a party to sing, dance, play music and have fun till dawn. When the New Year’s night falls, we have fireworks everywhere, and children of all ages enjoy them very much. On New Year’s people make promises to quit bad habits, become more responsive, work hard for their dreams and career, and start a happier life, while children make their wishes to God and ask Him for whatever they want. By the way, we too, have a long winter vacation.
Francesco Zan, Italy
SUSU Foundation Year
Usually, we celebrate Christmas with family, while New Year’s is all about having a blast with friends. We have a number of options where we can celebrate, including home, restaurants, or clubs. For those who like it home, it’s usually a small party or making dinner and waiting for midnight. On New Year’s, restaurants offer amazing dishes, so it’s nice to have a festive meal there and then, after New Year’s fireworks, have fun at a club or a private party. When the clock strikes midnight, we make a wish and believe it will come true next year. We have a tradition of throwing old and useless things out of the window (even furniture, especially in the south). We also kiss under “vischio’, the mistletoe.
Anyela Rojas Celis, Colombia
Master’s in Architecture, SUSU
Christmas and New Year’s are important dates to Colombians. It’s the time when we feel closer to our family, and everything is about light and colour. December 16-24 is the time when we pray, sing carols and wait for the birth of Jesus Christ. We put presents under the Christmas tree, and we make a family dinner. On New Year’s we get together again to have fun and thank each other for the presents. I usually spend New Year’s at my grandparents’ in the company of my cousins, uncles, brothers, and nephews. Winter holiday season is the only period in a year when we all get together. That’s why it’s so important. Five minutes to midnight on New Year’s Eve, we sing and toast to the coming year. It’s our national tradition to eat 12 grapes and make 12 wishes, each for every month. Then we hug each other and wish a happy new year. Then we eat and dance till the morning.
Ahmed Waad, Iraq
Master’s in Sport, Tourism, and Service, SUSU
What our New Year’s and Russian New Year’s have in common is that we too, tidy up our houses and try to pay off our debts. No festive table in our country does without corn or barley flatbreads. We also make millet, beans, corn, peas, rice, lentils, and sesame seeds. Traditionally, our New Year table must include at least seven vegan dishes, and their names must start with ‘s”. Samanu made from germinated wheat is the most popular among those. We also make stuffed fish and various sweets. When we eat famous baklava, we wish each other a sweet year, prosperity, and happiness. It is also crucial that there’s a mirror, eggs, and candles on the table. Candles symbolise the light that protects the house from evil spirits, while eggs and a mirror are needed to say goodbye to the passing year.