What’s New in Settlement
December offers us an opportunity to partake in a “world of holidays” and celebrations – from religious holidays, secular celebrations, causes, and cultural gatherings. This December, ESL and Citizenship students from The House of the Seven Gables’ Settlement program, along with family and friends will come together to celebrate a World of Holidays.
Join our students on Tuesday, December 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. for a World of Holidays at The House of the Seven Gables.
Read about some of our students holiday traditions:
Albania – New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is all about coming together with the extended family, neighbors, and friends to share large traditional meals. In Albania, the New Year’s Eve dinner centerpiece is a large turkey, stuffed with roasted chestnuts, raisins, cannella, and onions. A silver coin is placed inside a pie or cake and whoever finds the coin in their piece will enjoy luck during the coming year. A New Year’s tree is placed in homes and children receive their gifts from Babagjyshi i Vitit te Ri, the Old Man of New Year.
Brazil – New Year’s Eve on the Beach
Brazilians dress in white and gather by the ocean to honor the passing year and welcome the new year. In Rio de Janeiro, revelers light candles, watch a fireworks display, and throw flowers into the ocean as an offering to Yemanja, the Afro-Brazilian goddess of the seas who represents abundance, safety, and fertility.
Guatemala – Guatemala is a very diverse country with more than 20 ethnic groups.
Fiesta de Santo Tomás, in honor of the town’s patron saint, occurs in mid-December every year and lasts a full week. The icons of St. Thomas, the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. Sebastian, and other saints are paraded through the streets with currency attached to them. They are accompanied by taper-bearers, marimba, flute players, fireworks, and several different dances and rituals, nearly all of them masked.
In Colombia, Christmas celebrations and preparations start on the evening of December 7th, which is known as ‘Día de las Velitas’ or ‘Day of the Little Candles’. Houses and streets are decorated with candles, lanterns, and lights. This is accompanied by a large fireworks display, music, dance, and food such as ‘buñuelos’ and ’empanadas’ to enjoy. This day is also celebrated by Catholics around the world as The Feast of the Immaculate Conception.