International students experience holiday spirit

International students experience holiday spirit

The Lunar New Year parade takes place during the Lunar New Year. Wu celebrates the Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival each year to stay close to his roots.

Chioma Iheoma, Opinion Editor

Lit paper lanterns fill junior Harry Wu’s view as he looks up into the sky. The Spring Festival in China has come to a close with the Lantern Festival.

“Christianity is not widely spread in China,” Wu said. Because of this, some Chinese students don’t celebrate Christmas in China.

“It’s a tradition that people celebrate Spring Festival in China,” Wu said. In the United States, the Spring Festival is called the Chinese New Year. “We celebrate the coming of spring and our family comes together,” Wu said.

This Spring Festival will take place on Feb. 10, 2013. Fifteen days later, the Spring Festival ends with the Lantern Festival.

“Chinese people began celebrating Spring Festival several centuries ago and we do the same thing since then,” Wu said.

Wu will be celebrating Christmas with his host family this year.

According to sophomore Mateus Maccieri, Christmas festivities in Italy are similar to the ones celebrated in the U.S. “We have Santa Claus, but there’s no snow,” Maccieri said.

Another similarity to American traditions is the family-oriented aspect. “I usually go to my grandmother’s for dinner,” Maccieri said.

Dinner usually starts around 12 p.m. and lasts about 12 hours on Christmas Eve, according to Maccieri.

“A lot of people have an important dinner,” Maccieri said. “They stay together until midnight and then they go to Mass.”

While Maccieri stays up late to celebrate Mass, sophomore Steven Dierksmeier from Germany wakes up early. “We usually go to church before we open presents,” Dierksmeier said.

I think [Christmas festivities are] pretty similar because Germany isn’t too different. We have all the similar traditions,” Dierksmeier said.

In South Korea, however, Christmas isn’t as big of a deal as it is in the U.S., according to senior Iris Kim. “Christmas in Korea is not considered as big as it is here. We have only one day off,” Kim said.

Christmas activities in South Korea are still similar to the activities done here. “We decorate the trees and exchange gifts with family and friends. Some people who are Christians go to church, too,” Kim said.

Kim also points out the differences between Christmas and New Year’s in U.S. and South Korea. “People celebrate New Year’s Day more than Christmas [in South Korea],” Kim said.

Kim will not be returning to South Korea this year for Christmas. “I’m going to visit my sister in Las Vegas,” Kim said. However, Kim’s holiday plans extend farther than Las Vegas.

“We’re going to watch a lot of shows,” Kim said. “We’re going to California, to San Francisco.”

Chioma Iheoma is an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and