Humber and Guelph-Humber are home to students from a vast array of diverse backgrounds. With the holiday season approaching it’s always fun to share pieces of culture with each other and hear about the traditions that are cherished in different people’s households.

I come from a Finnish background and we celebrate Christmas a little differently. In Finnish culture, families open their Christmas presents the night of Christmas Eve rather than on the morning of Christmas day. Then on boxing day if there’s enough snow, we head to a ski resort and hit the slopes as a family!

We spoke to some Humber and Guelph-Humber students to hear about their unique holiday traditions.

Snowboarder backflips on a snowy mountain

John M., Media Studies, University of Guelph-Humber

“My parents set up all of our decorations really early, we have multiple trees and a parol (a Filipino Christmas star) in the house. It’s kind of weird when it’s Remembrance Day and the whole house is decorated for Christmas.”

Joshua, Paramedic Program, Humber College

“Every first night of Chanukah it is tradition for my family to all get together. It begins with us lighting the chanukiah followed by eating traditional foods like latkas and Chanukah cookies. We then go into the living room where we exchange gifts and play games.”

South Park Sledding Race

Josh M., Electronic Engineering Technology, Humber College

“We go to Church, every Christmas, we’re a religious family so we like to have a really old-fashioned Christmas.”

Miriam M., Media Studies, University of Guelph-Humber

There is a Swedish holiday that happens on December 13th called Lucia or, St. Lucia’s day.  Its a ceremony that’s signifies the start of Christmas time. It usually involves a parade, where a girl representing St. Lucia walks with a crown of lit candles and wears a red sash.  People dressed as angels surround Lucia marching in church, while the spectators sing traditional Swedish folk songs. St. Lucia is a martyr who is known as “the bearer of light”, the day is a festival of light during the winter solstice which is the darkest time of the year.”

Mitch K., Comedy, Humber College

“Growing up in Calgary, my family started a Chanukah tradition of playing outdoor hockey on ponds. I have three older brothers, plus cousins and a nephew who all play hockey so we usually get a good game going.”

Hockey Player Sprays Ice into the Camera

Jessica, Law Clerk Program, Humber College

“My birthday is on Christmas, so we have two separate celebrations, one for my birthday and one for Christmas, it’s fun to celebrate twice on the same day.”

David N., Multimedia Design & Development, Humber College

“I have Asian parents, and they don’t realize that you only have to get a new tree every year if it’s a real tree.  So they buy a new fake fibre optic tree every year and keep the old ones in the garage.”

With so many fun holidays coming up in the next couple of months, we want to hear about your family’s unique traditions! If you celebrate Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Maha Shivaratri, Lent, Passover, Kwanzaa or a holiday of any kind, tell us about it on social media!

With the Fall Semester coming to an end, we at IGNITE want to wish you all a happy & healthy Holiday Season and New Year! Make sure to stay tuned for all of the exciting events and activities we have planned for the Winter Semester.