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From the time he was a babe in arms, Zach Davis’s family went to a farm to cut a fresh tree for Christmas. As he got older, it was his job to work with his dad to get an even cut on the tree and secure it in the stand. From there, his mother and sister would do the decorating. Zach is a freshman pursuing a degree in Engineering.

 

Shuba

 

 

Aleksandra Evstiounina described traditional Russian food on New Year’s Eve. Salad Oliver, a layered mixture of potatoes, peas, carrots, beats, pickles, sour cream and mayonnaise was a staple of the dinner. Shuba, which has the literal meaning, “herring in fur coat,” is a dish of pickled beets, onions, mayonnaise and herring. “The gathering is rather formal,” said Evstiounina, adding, “not very fun for kids.” Tea and cake are also served. The purpose of the evening is for adults to mingle and ring in the New Year. Alekasandra is in her sophomore year and has an interest in psychology.

 
CHristmas tree

 

 

Chelsea Lipscomb, a junior pursuing a degree in psychology with a business option, always puts her family Christmas tree up on December 18. Why? It’s her mom’s birthday. While mom is out selecting the perfect tree on that special day, Chelsea and her sister get a birthday celebration ready at home. Each year the family selects a color scheme for the tree. Chelsea’s favorite was the blue and silver tree they had two years ago. The three celebrate mom with cake and refreshments as the sisters prepare her gift—a beautifully decorated tree.

 
parade

 

 

Amanyea Stines-Jones from Jamaica fondly recalls Jonkannu, a parade held the day before Christmas. This African tradition includes small groups of people who dress in elaborate costumes and travel the town streets, singing, dancing and playing instruments. They also tease and scare the children, but all in fun. While they roam, they collect money for charity. Amanyea Stines-Jones is a freshman pursuing a degree in Aerospace Engineering.

 
Eggnog

 

The tastes of her Trinidadian traditions delight Lysandra Hutchinson, a freshman pursuing a degree in pre-medicine, as she remembers her childhood. Black cake—a rum confection is a popular treat. Sorrel juice, from the sorrel plant, is made by boiling the plant and retaining the liquid which is sweetened with sugar and flavored with vanilla. Punch de crème, very similar to rum and eggnog, only spicier, is also a traditional drink of the season.

 

 

As students talked about their traditions, their words were punctuated with smiles. Maybe that says everything. Traditions touch us deeply and make us smile.