As the holiday season approaches, students at Texas Tech begin to prepare for all different kinds of celebrations. From Thanksgiving, to Christmas, to New Year’s, each culture has their own celebrations that differ from American traditions.
Samantha Sanchez, a second-year civil engineering student from Midland and member of the Hispanic Student Society, said the Hispanic community has its own ways of spreading the Christmas spirit.
“One of the traditions that we do is that we go door to door and we start singing songs, and basically what that represents is how Mary and Joseph tried to look for a space to have baby Jesus,” Sanchez said. “One of the other traditions that people do is that they set up a Nativity scene and they put, you know, everybody, like Mary, Joseph and the three kings, but they don't put baby Jesus on until he's, like, born on Christmas.”
Katy Posada, a second-year physiology student and member of HSS from Dallas, said some families ask family members or friends if they are willing to host them in their homes for the holidays. Members stand outside the door and sing an answer-and-response song asking for hospitality.
“They usually have tamales and hot chocolate when they welcome us,” Posada said. “And then on the last day, on the 24th, at least for my family, it's a tradition to give a little gift to all the kids.”
Sanchez said some families also celebrate the Three Wise Men in January.
“There's a cake that's involved, and inside the cake there's, like, a little Jesus, and everybody takes a turn cutting a piece off in it,” Sanchez said. “If you get a slice of the cake, with a piece of Jesus on there, then the next day you have to, like, cook, you know, a big meal for everybody.”
Colby Gray, a third-year environmental engineering student from Aledo, said Christmas among in Asia is more romantic than a family event.
“It's more like Valentine's 2.0, essentially. It's seen much more as a romantic thing than a family gathering,” Gray said. “Like, I see a lot of people trying to get dates and all this kind of stuff. And if you go on a date, you don't do much for Christmas.”
Irene Sarro, a second-year chemical engineering student from Pisa, Italy, said Italians' main celebration happens after the new year begins.
“It's the epiphany that we have on January 6, that's basically celebrating the Three Wise Men,” Sarro said. “Usually what we do is, like, kids get these huge socks with candies inside. And we just celebrate as a big family.”
Other cultures, like the Chinese, also wait to celebrate until the new year.
Kobe Young, a third-year political science student from Amarillo, said Chinese New Year is the closest thing China has to Thanksgiving.
“A lot of people value hard work and dedication to work in China, so really the only time they get to go back home is Chinese New Year,” Young said. “It is like Thanksgiving just because of the family aspect.”