December 17, 2015
Communications and Marketing
On the evening of December 1, 120 members of the Saint Anselm College community gathered to kick off the holiday season with "Celebration of Light," an annual intercultural dinner celebrating holiday traditions from around the world.
"It is a ‘Celebration of Light' because light symbolizes many positive things such as enlightenment and love," said Yemi Mahoney, director of Multicultural and Educational Services. "It is a theme in many religions celebrations and plays a significant role throughout the season."
Sponsored by the Multicultural Center and the Office of Campus Ministry, the dinner brings together students, faculty, and staff to celebrate the end of the semester and highlight the differences among cultures in a fun, festive, and educational way. This year, Rachael Cecere '16, Gilberto Ponce '16, and Sybille Legitime '18 explained their family's holiday traditions in Italy, El Salvador, and Haiti respectively.
These traditions include spending time with family, making recipes that have been passed down, and holding a fireworks display. Sybille described a traditional Haitian Christmas meal of accra, marinade, diri djon djon, and Bûche de noel and explained that Haitians display a paper house called a Fanal that reads "Merry Christmas," instead of decorating a Christmas tree.
Attendee Katie Gemmel '17, described the event as "extremely inclusive, informative, and accepting of the different holiday traditions."
"I learned how thankful I am for my friends this year, but also more about different cultural celebrations of Christmas and the holiday season," Gemmel said.
Sarah Catherine Haines, campus minister at the college, explained that people celebrating together helps build community, making them better neighbors.
"This event acknowledges that we're different, but all part of the same community, " said Haines. "I hope everyone gained a better understanding of each other's traditions and why the season is globally significant. Learning together makes us better community members and Anselmians."
Story by Rosemary Lausier '16 and Margaret Lynch '17; Photos by Cory True '09