Holiday Traditions at their Finest 

Cape Henry is a diverse community that recognizes different cultures and traditions. Around the holiday season, people often get caught up in the Christmas spirit and forget about some of the other holidays that happen during this time of year. Yezi Liu (‘20), Yuan Jiang (‘20), Sarah Blais (’20), and Berk Alptekin (‘21) are just a small sampling of the student population who celebrate the seasons without completely focusing on Christmas.  

Yezi Liu and Yuan Jiang are both apart of the New Oasis program at Cape Henry. They are both from China and celebrate Spring Festival. This celebration lasts about 15 days and varies between January and February following the Chinese calendar. Yezi Lui explains it as “a U.S Christmas since the Spring Festival is such a big celebration.” One of her favorite traditions of the Spring Festival, when she was a kid, was that the elders gave the kids money in a red slip and they were able to spend the money on what they wanted. Now that she is older she likes to enjoy spending quality time with her family and help them prepare food for the celebration. Here at Capehenry, the Chinese Oasis students get to have a day off for the celebration but not the full fifteen days. Now that Yezi Lui is in the U.S she is not really able to celebrate like she used to but likes to enjoy watching the celebration through social media. The host family she is with celebrates Christmas so her favorite thing to do is to see all of the Christmas decorations throughout the neighborhoods. 

Yuan Jiang’s favorite tradition during the Spring Festival is to watch the Spring Festival tv show, eat and make dumplings with her family and hang out.  She and her family stay up until midnight the day before the festival. She and her family call it “Spring Festival eve. Yuan says that “during this time of year it’s important to spend time with the people you love”.  When Yaun first celebrated her first Christmas in the United States she didn’t know what to expect because she didn’t know if the movies she saw were true about Christmas in the U.S. Little did she know was that people go all out for Christmas. She was very surprised to see how “dedicated” people are about decorating. Now her favorite thing to do in the U.S around Christmas time is to help her host family decorate their house for Christmas. 

 Sarah Blais is Jewish so she and her family celebrate Hanukkah. She and her sister like to make some of the traditional food such as sufganiyot which are jelly doughnuts and potato latkes. Each night she and her family gather around the dinner table, pray, light the menorah, and exchange gifts.on the first and last night, her grandparents come over to celebrate. One of Sarah’s favorite traditions is lighting the menorah. Once the menorah is lit, she and her family go outside and look at it through the window. “She says even though it may not be a Christmas tree it is still a beautiful sight to see”. 

People celebrate many different holidays all over the world and it is important to learn about them and not just focus on one specific holiday. Cape Henry does a great job of being respectful and acknowledges all of the holidays to make sure nobody feels left out.