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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Estrada

La Semilla Loves all Holiday Celebration!

Now that the holiday season is truly upon us, it's very easy to get wrapped up in our family traditions. For years, my family has put up a Christmas manger at home, along with a beautiful Christmas tree that twinkled with lights. La Semilla tutors and students alike are excited to share about what their families are planning for the holiday. As I walk by students and tutors chatting during tutor time, I've noted that we each have taken to sharing how we celebrate the same holidays in vastly different ways.

For instance, while the majority of our families did celebrate Thanksgiving, their tables may have looked drastically different than ours. Some families opted to make their turkeys in a birria style, which means their turkey was cooked in a peppers and spices in a pot on the stove, as opposed to in the oven. Others skipped the turkey altogether, and chose to eat more traditional meals like tamales for the holiday.

As Christmas rolls around, our families may celebrate a Christmas tradition called the Posada. During this celebration, families will recreate the Nativity scene from the Gospels as a way to teach their children about Jesus' birth. The celebration occurs from December 16 all the way to Christmas Eve, with food, songs and festivities occurring every night until then.

Another fun celebration that families may enjoy is Three Kings Day on Jan. 6, also known to some as the Epiphany. Hispanic families will eat Kings bread, known as the rosca de reyes, shaped like a crown with jewels. The jewels on the cake tend to be candied fruit

According to the Press Enterprise, the pastry symbolizes the visit of the three wise men who followed the star to Bethlehem to see the Christ child. They came bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh. Hidden inside the the dough are small, plastic, 11/4-inch babies, representing Joseph and Mary’s concealment of Jesus from King Herod. Recipes vary from bakery to bakery, but the bread’s basic ingredients include flour, water, milk, eggs, yeast, sugar and butter.

"As tradition goes, if you find Jesus in your slice of bread, you must host a party on Feb. 2, known as Candlemas Day, Presentation of the Lord, or Día de la Candelaria," reported Laurie Lucas, PE reporter. "It’s exactly 40 days after Christ’s birth, when Mary visited the temple in Jerusalem. In Mexico, Catholics feast, eating tamales with friends and family and bringing dolls or lifesize figures of the baby Jesus to church to be blessed."

As families celebrate, students want to share with their tutors about their precious traditions. I welcome all tutors and students to share what makes the holidays special for them. Even if the tradition seems small, it holds great meaning to you for a reason, and that can open a new world to students.

What celebrations do your family hold near and dear? If you're a tutor, feel free to share them with your students this week! It may just open up the conversation to what they love about the holiday season too!

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