International Schmidthorst College of Business Students’ Holiday Traditions

Written by Madison Bannister, Schmidthorst College Communications Intern

The holiday season is upon us, and we wanted to highlight some of the wonderful holiday traditions celebrated by Schmidthorst College of Business international students.

Marharita-Sophia Tavpash is pursing a Master of Financial Economics degree. Marharita-Sophia is from Ukraine and celebrates inttrad1Christmas Eve on January 6 and Christmas Day on January 7, following the Eastern Orthodox tradition of observing the Julian calendar. On Christmas Eve, 12 different dishes are served to represent the 12 apostles. These dishes are largely meatless—though fish is acceptable—and include Borsch (red vegetable soup), Varenyky (mashed potatoes covered in dough, similar to dumplings), Uzvar (juice made of dry fruits), and traditional donuts with jam.

Marharita-Sophia says people also go house to house singing carols. A group called Vertep dresses as the Holy Mary, the three wise men, and the devil to reenact the scene from the birth of Christ. People also wear traditional Ukranian clothing. According to Marharita-Sophia, presents are not given on Christmas in Ukraine. Instead, gifts are exchanged on Saint Nicholas Day. Children write letters to Saint Nicholas on the night of December 18 and receive presents the following day.

Ioanna Tsadari from Greece, celebrates Christmas which is Χριστούγεννα in Greek. People decorate their houses with the classic Christmas tree and ornaments. According to Tsadari, Greek culture places considerable importance on family, so lunch and dinner takes place with the entire family on December 25. inttrad2Traditional Greek drinks like tsipuro or ouzo are served and Christmas songs are played on a loop. Santa Claus comes on New Year’s Day and gifts can be found under the tree each year.

Tsadari says there’s also the traditional “Santa-Claus Pie” where a pie gets cut on New Year’s Day and whoever gets the piece with a lucky charm—usually a coin—will be lucky for the whole next year.

Other popular desserts include a sugar-based Kourabies or a honey-based Melomakarono. Both of these dishes are eaten from the first week of December until January.

Laura Maia Silveira is a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Business. She’s from Ponta inttrad3Grossa, Brazil. Christmas is celebrated during the summer and Christmas Eve is celebrated on December 24. On Christmas Eve, there’s often dinner with family that features Chester (poultry roast), vegetables, rice, potato salad, and pasta. Panettone is also served, which is a sweet bread prepared during the month of December.

Silveira's family also sets up a Presepio, a Nativity scene that contains the bed of straw that, according to the Bible, represents the one baby Jesus slept on in Bethlehem.

Additionally, after dinner on December 24, Silveira always does a Secret Santa event with her family. The next day they often eat the leftovers from the celebrations on Christmas Eve.

inttrad4Annika Vetter is a freshman specializing in Finance and Sales and Services Marketing. Vetter hails from Muenster, Germany and celebrates Christmas from December 24 to 26. However, Annika says the special day is on Christmas Eve, December 24.

Vetter and her family visit Christmas markets, attend church on Christmas Eve, watch a nativity play in church, bake cookies, sing carols, and decorate a Christmas tree.

She says they often serve gingerbread and speculoos which is a traditional Christmas cookie that tastes like caramelized gingerbread, along with mulled wine and cookies. The traditional Christmas dinner includes roast goose with potato dumplings and red cabbage.

Gurtej Singh Puri is a junior specializing in Marketing and Business Analytics and Intelligence. He is from Delhi, India and celebrates Diwali, also known as the inttrad5Festival of Lights. The date of Diwalli is based on the Hindu lunar calendar and typically occurs in November. Diwali is celebrated differently among the many religions of India, but all traditions include lighting oil lamps and many other lights in the streets and on houses.

Puri’s family also celebrates Christmas and New Year’s. Christmas is not as large of a holiday in India, but people often decorate Christmas trees and celebrate with loved ones on Christmas Day.

Updated: 12/10/2021 09:34AM