OC’s cultural winter wonderland

Cian Ryback, Editorial Chief

As the frigid air of winter approaches, the OHS  student body prepares to celebrate their exciting festivities. With such a diverse campus, OHS is home to dozens of traditions and customs to explore during the holiday season. While most are only familiar with a few, this part of the year is a good opportunity to become acquainted with the many cultures across the campus.

Winter celebrations carry a certain charm with them, almost always entailing gift-giving to bring about all the best feelings of community and family. From Thanksgiving to Hanukkah, people are drawn together to celebrate something greater than themselves in these winter months.

It would be crazy to overlook the most well known holiday in the  country, Christmas. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, a tradition carried out by Christians and Non-Christians alike, entails gift-giving, caroling, and feasts at many church services. 

“God did,” said CJ Stevenson, senior. “It brings me closer to God and those around me… it’s truly a beautiful time.”

Another popular Abrahamic holiday is celebrated at a similar time as Christmas. Starting on the 25th day of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar, and spanning eight days, the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah takes place. Hanukkah, or Chanukah, commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend, Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. In the temple of Jerusalem, the candles of the menorah supposedly burned for eight whole days while only having enough oil for one, hence the eight day celebration.

“Eight gifts are better than one,” said Hailey Bishop, senior. “Eating bread and singing prayers are all nice, but nothing can beat the presents, which I guess is pretty common.”

Although not known to be typically celebrated in America, Three Kings Day remains a staple throughout many Hispanic families in the U.S. Also celebrated as the day of “Epiphany”, Hispanic and some Orthodox Christians celebrate the revelation of Jesus Christ as God incarnated. This “little Christmas” brings about a day of feasting and prayer. 

“It’s like [a] Christian, Latin American thanksgiving,” said Eli Murrieta, sophomore. “Nothing beats a feast.”

Even if some members of the student body do not have culture-specific holidays at this time of the year, many students can find value in cross-cultural traditions in winter.

“I got to make Thanksgiving dinner for my family this year,” said Ash Kaushik, senior. “It’s something very special to me, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to do something for them.”