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Holiday Traditions

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Holiday Traditions

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Tis’ the season, Raiders! The holidays and their traditions are fast approaching.

Traditions vary amongst the diverse cultures, and students at CI were more than happy to share and embrace them.

Den Earl Dulos, a sophomore, is a Filipino Catholic who participates in Simbang Gabi.

Simbang Gabi, is a Filipino Christmas tradition first introduced during the Spanish rule over the Philippines. It that consists of nine dawn masses, beginning on the 16th of December and ending on the 24th, Christmas Eve.

The custom is meant to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ as well as be a time in which attendees can make requests to the Lord. It is believed that by attending all nine masses, wishes will be granted.

“Fortunately, here in Oxnard, Mary Star of the Sea holds Simbang Gabi masses very similar to those in the Philippines,” says Dulos.

The event itself is put together by multiple organizations that provide traditional delicacies. Bibignka (baked rice cake), puto (rice cakes), pancit (noodles) and tinola (soup-based dish) are just some of the numerous traditional plates served.

While churchgoers eat, there is entertainment consisting of dancing and singing.

The choir sings traditional Filipino Christmas carols such as “Pasko Na!” which translates to “It’s Christmas!” All of which is followed by traditional folk dances.

The Nativity Scene and Filipino artifacts are out in full display during this time of spiritual preparation for Christmas.

Karina Angeles, a Channel Islands senior, has holiday traditions of her own. Rocking baby Jesus, a Mexican tradition born from Posadas, is one of them.

On Christmas Eve, before baby Jesus is placed within the Nativity scene, he is rocked by the Posada party, prayed over and sang to. Celebrants sing “A la Rorro Niño,” which is the Spanish version of “Rock-a-by Baby.”

It is customary that the hosts choose a godmother and godfather for baby Jesus. The godparents provide special clothing for baby Jesus and candy as treats for those who respectfully kiss him.

“It’s just a beautiful and nice way to bond because it brings everyone together,” Angeles said.

Afterwards, everyone simply enjoys each other’s company and the food. The food usually consists of tamales, pozole, and “noche buena,” which is essentially a fruit salad. For drinks, there can be atole (a hot corn- and masa-based beverage) and/or champurrado (chocolate-based atole).

On Feb. 2, the godparents take baby Jesus to church and throw a celebration afterwards with similar dishes for those who were there for the rocking of baby Jesus.

CIHS drummer Guadalupe Cahuantzi, a senior, shared one of his favorite traditions too.

“My family and I decorate the house and put up the tree and lights while we drink champurrado,” he said.

Other students said they spend Christmas Eve eating, watching movies, and playing games with their families to pass the time until they reach midnight. At 12, they open gifts and are always excited to see family member’s reactions.

Regardless of culture, the traditions all manage to do the same thing: bring family together. Have a safe and happy holidays, Raiders!

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