Holiday Fest of 2022 finishes the semester strong


Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Krista Smith.

Booths at the Holiday Fest in the Beckerman Recreation Center, West Haven, Dec. 7, 2022.

With students cramming for finals and packing to go home for winter break, students might want to take a break and enjoy some upcoming campus events.

Last Wednesday, members of Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) came to the Holiday Fest to educate attendees on various holidays, while giving students the opportunity to have fun. The event started with a speech from Kelvin Vasquez, an undergraduate intern for the Center for Student Engagement, Leadership and Orientation.
“I know you have all worked hard this semester, and we hope this event allows you to relax, enjoy some good food and learn more about the many holidays that members of our campus community celebrate,” Vasquez said.

Graduate Student Council (GSC) President Prateek Mansingh and Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) Vice President of Finance Ella Galvan spoke about holidays.

“My dad used to say this one thing when it came to holidays,” said Mansingh. “There are three stages in a man’s life: first, when he believes in Santa; second, when he doesn’t; and third when he is Santa.”

Yashpreet Malhotra, the executive assistant and secretary of the Indian Student Council (ISC), gave a presentation on Diwali, which ISC hosted an event for in October. Diwali is a celebration with good food, dancing and “diyas,” which are lamps that Malhotra said “[give] blessings to everyone.”

Hillel’s presidents Noa Zide and Shoshanna Dansinger gave a presentation on Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday which translates to “dedication” in Hebrew. The holiday “spans eight nights to commemorate the re-dedication to the Second Temple in Jerusalem,” said Dansinger. During the re-dedication, there was said to be only enough oil to light the menorah for one day but lasted for eight. This year, Hanukkah lasts from Dec. 18–26.

Campus Crusaders for Christ President Christiana Sainvil and Vice President Kiana White gave a presentation on Christmas. The holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ “who came to die for our sins,” said Sainvil. Sainvil also said people celebrate it on Dec. 25 by putting on Christmas skits, exchanging gifts and giving back through charity. White then read a poem, “The True Meaning of Christmas: Heeding the Father’s Call.”

The Black Student Union’s (BSU) sergeant at arms Janel Slade and treasurer Ashley Blaine gave a presentation on Kwanzaa, created in 1966 and celebrated by Africans, Black Americans and Canadians, along with people from the Caribbean. Slade said, “[Kwanzaa] is a secular holiday that focuses on Black self-sufficiency and rejection of white imperialist narratives.” The holiday lasts from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2 and on each day, a candle is lit to represent the seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Galvan spoke about New Year’s Day. She said, “[New Years is] the start of the new year and people create new goals for themselves that most of the time we kind of give up on.”

The Latin American Student Association’s (LASA) treasurer, Gabriella Gonzalez, gave a presentation on Three Kings Day, which is celebrated on the 12th day of Christmas, on Jan. 6. Gonzalez says the holiday is about when “the three kings, or three wise men, met baby Jesus for the first time and brought him gifts.” The gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense were meant as “a distinct part of the baby’s destiny,” said Gonzalez. She discussed traditions, one of which includes people of Mexico making a sweet bread in the shape of a crown called rosca de reyes.

The Muslim Student Association’s (MSA) vice president, Youssef Ossama spoke about Eid-Al-Adha, which lands on June 29. Ossama said Eid-Al-Adha is held “in remembrance of the prophet Ibrahim’s devotion and faith.” MSA’s vice president also said the meaning behind the holiday is “giving,” along with “giving [to] people who need it.” Eid-Al-Adha is celebrated through prayer and having everyone dress up in their finest clothing.

Vasquez also discussed Lunar New Year, which is celebrated in China and other Asian countries on the first new moon of the year and ends on the first full moon.

“The festival marks the new beginning of spring and the arrival of the new year,” Vasquez said. The holiday is celebrated by giving out New Year couplets, which are red strips with black or gold calligraphy on them.

After the presentations, students could go to the RSO tables to learn more about each holiday, and to pick up items. USGA’s table had pens and cards for people to write down their New Year’s resolutions, while Hillel brought jelly donuts fried in oil to represent the oil that let the menorah stay lit for eight nights. A table for the diversity and wellness peer educators from the Myatt Center had a station for decorating cupcakes.

For more information, check out their Charger Connection pages, and be sure to have a restful winter break.