Holiday Traditions Connect YSU

By Victoria Remley

Family is the one thing both Youngstown State University student and faculty traditions include.

Carla Simonini, associate professor of Italian, said her favorite holiday tradition is during the week of Thanksgiving.

“I really, really, really loved my grandmothers, and they both have passed away. I ended up, not on purpose, being the one who prepares the dishes that were their special dishes,” Simonini said. “When I take out the recipes, a couple of them are in my grandmother’s handwriting, so when I pull it out and look at it I always get very nostalgic,” Simonini said.

Stephen Gage, professor of music and director of band and orchestra, said his favorite holiday tradition is being with his extended family near the holidays. This tradition started during his childhood.

“I love being around my family, and people don’t have to work during the holidays. There’s something really beautiful about the holidays,” Gage said.

Annalia Palumbo, part-time faculty in the department of physics and astronomy, said her favorite holiday tradition is having dinner on Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter with her family.

“I am an only child so usually it was just my parents and I. Now they are deceased, so I spend it with some relatives,” Palumbo said.

Palumbo’s family participates in this tradition because she said the world has done it for years.

“There’s no particular reason other than it’s done in most societies in Western Europe and the United States,” Palumbo said.

Sanzio Luna, a senior electrical engineering student from Italy, said his favorite holiday tradition happens on Christmas.

“My entire family gets together and we all spend Christmas lunch and dinner together,” Luna said.

Luna said at the dinner, there is tortellini and soup with chicken and beef. After dinner, they play board games like Tombola.

Luna’s said his parents started this tradition and his grandparents participate.

“I’ve always done it since I was a little kid. We usually do it the day after Christmas. That’s when we all get together. All my relatives. My aunts, uncles and cousins,” Luna said.

Ahmed Awad, a senior electrical and computer engineering major, said his favorite holiday tradition is celebrating Eid. During Ramadan, people fast and afterwards they participate in Eid, a three-day celebration. During Eid, festivals, fairs and performances happen all over the Middle East.

“You’ll find Eid in most Arab countries,” Awad said.

There are two Eid holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

Eid al-Adha is a four-day period. It starts with religious activities and a sacrifice. A slaughtered lamb is given to the poor.

Ramadan happens three weeks before the previous year’s celebration. The celebration is based off the lunar calendar. Eid happens the day after Ramadan ends. Ramadan is four days and Eid al-Fitr is three days.

Awad and his family participate in this tradition because it is a popular Arab holiday.

“It’s been transcended down throughout the generations. Egypt is mainly a Muslim country so that’s where all the traditions and culture comes from,” Awad said.

Nae Barnes, a freshman exercise science major, said her favorite holiday tradition is going to her grandmother’s house.

“On Christmas Eve, I go to my grandmother’s house and help her wrap gifts,” Barnes said.

Her grandmother started this tradition, and Barnes and her sister participate to bring them all together.

“My parents are separated so I usually go spend the holidays with my grandmother on my dad’s side. It became an every-year thing, so I can spend more time with that family,” Barnes said.

Bobby Long, a sophomore combined sciences major, said his favorite holiday tradition happens on Christmas Day.

“Exchanging gifts at Christmas is my favorite tradition,” Long said.

His grandparents started this tradition, and his immediate family participates.

Thomas Danley, a freshman engineering major, said his favorite holiday tradition is Christmas Eve.

“We go to my grandma’s and have family dinner,” Danley said.

His parents started this tradition to bring them together during the holidays, and his cousins participate.