No? We will tell you in this blog! We asked our students from all over the world how they celebrate the holidays in their country.
Yuko, one of our Japanese students, tells us that people from Japan very often spend Christmas Day with friends, go out to a nice restaurant where they of course celebrate this special time with Champagne and a cake. After that delicious meal they exchange Christmas gifts and play some amusing games together just to enjoy the company and this special event.
Ali, a student from Saudi Arabia, tells us that Christmas is a new experience for him and the other Saudi students at EC Toronto because neither Christmas nor Hanukah is celebrated in their country. They are curious to see how the Canadians celebrate their Holiday season, and enjoy being able to celebrate with them!
Hye-Rim, one of our student counsellors, enjoys her Christmas time with her family and/or her close friends and she prepares Christmas gifts for the children of friends and family. For her it is necessary to go to Church on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Morning to sing carols, to pray and to have a quiet time of reflection.
Sara, another student counsellor at EC Toronto, doesn’t practice her religion. When Sara can spend Christmas time with her family, half of the family goes to church, while the non-religious ones stay at her grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve. After mass they enjoy a delicious dinner all together with lamb or suckling pig. When Sara isn’t in Italy like this year, she calls her family on Skype. Sara’s family shows her all the yummy food they are eating and make her regret that she decided not to go back home.
Elizabeth, our Operations Manager, spends Christmas with her close family. Unlike most families in Canada, Elizabeth’s family eats Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. She explained this is so everyone gets to relax together on Christmas Day. On Christmas they usually have brunch (a mix of breakfast and lunch!) and then order Chinese takeout in the late evening. Not very typical!
Susan, another student counsellor, says her family celebrates Hanukah which is on a different date each year because it follows a different calendar. Hanukah actually lasts 8 nights, and each night we add 1 candle to the menorah; this is traditional candelabra with 8 spots, plus 1 for the shamos. The shamos is the main candle that is used to light the others. Lighting the menorah is a way to commemorate what happened when Judah Maccabee was defending the temple in Jerusalem and he only had enough oil in his lamp to last 1 night but it miraculously lasted 8 nights and he won the battle! Children are often given small gifts each night of Hanukah, but in Susan’s family they give gifts only 1 day when the family gets together to eat latkes (potato pancakes) and light the candles together.
Your EC Toronto Team