Holiday traditions create lasting memories

 By John Savoie
Pulse Staff Reporter

photo illustrated of  the virgin de guadalupe
Virgen de Guadalupe

The holidays are just around the corner, and with the holidays comes a variety of traditions

If you are Catholic and you are of Hispanic descent, you may want to celebrate the Virgen de Guadalupe’s feast day. She is the patron saint of Mexico, and, according to legend, she appeared before a man named Juan Diego in 1531. When she appeared, she asked him to build a church in her honor.

December 12 is the day of the Virgen de Guadalupe, a national holiday in Mexico. Many people make a pilgrimage to Mexico City to celebrate Mass and sing the popular song “Las Mañanitas”. It is a big day in the Hispanic culture, where you can also watch the Mass at midnight on Univision or Telemundo.

Hanukkah is another holiday tradition that is celebrated by the Jewish community for eight days and nights. This year it falls on December 16 and ends on the evening of December 24. What you may or may not know is that it usually follows closely to Christmas in that participants receive gifts for eight days and nights. Traditional customs that are observed during Hanukkah are lighting of the candles called the menorah and eating latkes, pancakes that are made from potatoes and onions, which are fried in oil and served with applesauce.

Students at Palo Alto have their own holiday traditions. One tradition is the opening of presents on Christmas Day.

“Right at midnight, we gather right around the tree, and we pass out presents to all of our family,” said Catherine Williams, a freshman English major at Palo Alto. “My family does this tradition every year since I was little, and we continue to do it,” she said. “Then after that, we watch Christmas movies like “Home Alone” and “A Christmas Story” after we have opened our presents.”

Marion Maldonado, a sophomore Education major at Palo Alto, has a different tradition.

“My family goes out and buys the biggest Christmas tree we can find,” she said. “What is so funny is watching my dad struggle to get the tree in the house and watch all the tinsel get on the floor because it is so big,” she said. “After the struggle is over, we cut the top of the tree, and we save it. I also like looking at the Christmas lights on the River Walk and watching the choirs sing.”

Amanda Reyes, a sophomore Public Health major, said, “I like going to Austin or Houston and looking at the Christmas lights there. Incarnate Word has a cool scene where the choir sings. They light a Christmas tree, and you can drink hot cocoa or apple cider.”

Another fun tradition is going on a ski trip. Since we rarely have a White Christmas here in Texas, some families decide to go someplace with snow, like New Mexico, Colorado, Utah or even Nevada.

Consider taking in a parade of lights, especially in the houses of Windcrest, which are known for their holiday lights over the past 50 years.

Whether you like looking at lights, decorating a tree or experiencing a little culture, the holidays are a time for family, friends and celebrating.