What Is Your Favorite Holiday?

For Chinese NewYears Xiowen is opening her lucky red envelope called "Hong Bao"

     There are many countries all over the world. There are many different cultures, religions, histories and languages in different countries. Therefore, people would celebrate their own holidays. However, not all the countries have the same holidays. Of the many different holidays around the world, which of them is your favorite holiday from your country and culture?
     Sofia, who is from Ethiopia, believes that Ethiopian New Year is the biggest holiday. “We wear traditional clothes and get invited to the family house to eat cultural food,” she said.
     On Ethiopian New Year’s Eve, Sofia and her family usually cook traditional food. “My family prepares Kitfo [ground beef], ambasha [bread], doro wat and allecha [chicken stew]…” Sofia said.
     In order to celebrate Ethiopian New Year, Sofia gets together with family or friends at a party. “We recommend people come to our house or we get invited to other family friends’ houses. All of us dress up with traditional clothes,” she said. Children also get presents from their parents.
      Ethiopian people always serve coffee as traditional drink when people visit their houses. “Coffee stands for togetherness and respect,” Sofia said.
Ethiopians have a vacation when their New Year takes place. “I love this holiday because I would spend more time with family and friends.” Sofia said.
     Assalam alaikum is a common greeting for Muslims. It means “may peace be with you.” Indra Hidayat is from Indonesia and also a Muslim. His favorite holiday is Idul Fitri or also named Eid Mubarak in the United States.
     This holiday falls on the Shawwal 1st on the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar usually differs 10 days from the normal calendar. For example, last year 1st of Shawwal fell on November 4th. Next year the 1st of Shawwal will fall on October 24th.
     In Indonesia New Year means vacation time. “I love it because school closes for at least two weeks on this holiday,” Indra said. “We have the fireworks at the Eve of Eid Mubarak,” he added.
     Children get candy on Halloween, but Indra gets something else on Eid Mubarak. “I love the gifts they give when I walk around the neighborhood, especially when it’s money,” he said. Instead of saying “Trick or treat!” as children say on Halloween, he needs to say, “Selamat Idul Fitri, Mohon maaf lahir dan batin.” It means “Happy Idul Fitri!” All Muslims commemorate Eid Mubarak because they are allowed to again eat in daylight, to celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
     As a Muslim, Indra needs to pray on Eid Mubarak. “Usually we pray in the morning, and then we visit our relatives’ houses and eat. That’s the fun part for that day,” he said.
     Lunar New Year is one of the major holidays for Chinese and Vietnamese people. It comes at the turn of the Chinese Lunar Year and is celebrated all over China and Vietnam. The celebration, also called the Spring Festival, usually lasts two weeks.
For Kangxi Han who is a sophomore from China, his favorite holiday is Lunar New Year. People prepare special food on New Year’s Eve, “I used make some jiaozi (dumplings) for my family, Kangxi said.
     Firecrackers are set off everywhere when the clock strikes midnight and welcome the New Year. For these people who stay home, they can watch special Spring Festival programs, sing and dance to a player or in many other ways, usually until the wee hours of the morning
     On the first day of the Lunar New Year, it’s a special day. “We get up early and wear all kinds of new clothes,” Kangxi said.
During the Festival season, many families also do a great many other things, “We usually put onan auspicious substantial Chinese family reunion fest,” Kangxi added. As partying, all the people and their relatives come together, “All my cousins and I are greeting each other for prosperity and happiness,” Kangxi said.
     “Hong Bao,” a red envelope, is a common traditional gift that married people give out to young people. “My cousins and I get red envelopes as Lunar New Year gifts,” Kangxi added.
     Spring Festival has been a traditional Chinese festival for thousands of years. In the recent years, people have been celebrating it in an increasingly happy atmosphere and in an ever-grander style. Everyone is smiling. It is indeed the most delightful time of the year for the Chinese.

© Copyright Silver International Newspaper, Montgomery Blair H.S. 2006 (This page was created by Marcia Martinez )