November 18, 2010
Christmas and Thanksgiving are coming soon, but for international students at Oklahoma Baptist University, they have many different holidays from their home countries.
China has Mid-Autumn Festival, Lantern Festival and Spring Festival. Brazil has Christmas, New Year, Children’s Day and Carnival. A student from Brazil said the most interesting holiday in her country is Carnival.
Japan has Emperor’s Birthday, Children’s day and Cherry Blossom Festival. Belgium has the most of the same holidays as the United States.
Alba Aliko, a student from Belgium said, “In Belgium we have the same holidays than here (in the U.S), but we just do not have Thanksgiving.”
China does not have Thanksgiving or Christmas. However, they have Spring Festival (春节), and New Year is the most important and biggest holiday for Chinese students. Many Chinese students celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) and Spring Festival at OBU.
The day of Spring Festival is different every year based on the Chinese calendar. During the Spring Festival in China, families gather and enjoy a large meal together and light fireworks. Therefore, Chinese students at OBU celebrate during the Spring Festival and New Year by cooking a variety of native dishes and enjoying the meal together. Another interesting holiday in China is Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrating the full moon.
During this holiday, Chinese people will eat moon cakes and meet together to admire the full moon with their family. Chinese people also believe looking at the moon represents that they are thinking of their family members that are far away from home such as foreign students. In this way, the families can feel as though they are close because they are gazing at the same moon.
The international students from Japan have completely different holidays than in America.
Daisuke Shimokawa, a student from Japan said, “In Japan, some holiday means previous emperor’s birthday.” Emperor’s Birthday is a national holiday and it is on Dec. 23; this annual tradition also marks the existing Emperor's birthday. “Emperor's birthday is important to many Japanese,” Shimokawa said.
The most interesting holiday in Japan is the Sports Festival in October, and this festival is fun for everyone because most schools have sports competitions for the students including tug-of-war and other games. The adults play soccer or basketball during the festival. Shimokawa said, “I like sports festival and I think this is the most interesting festival in Japan.”
However, he does not celebrate at OBU during the festival because OBU does not have many Japanese students.
Brazilian students also have many special holidays from their country such as Carnival.
Felipe Souza, a student from Brazil said, “The origin of Brazil's carnival goes back to a Portuguese pre-lent festivity called ‘entrudo.’” Carnival starts on Feb. 13 and ends Feb. 17.
It is an annual festival in Brazil that is held forty days before Easter. Many Brazilians think this is the most interesting and biggest holiday in their country because they will dance and drink a lot during the holiday.
Souza said, “Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become an event of huge proportions…People usually go out to drink and dance and follow different parades; each state has their own way to celebrate.”
During Carnival, the country stops completely for almost a whole week. The festivities, concentrated in the coastal cities, are intense day and night. Most of the Brazilian students do not celebrate Carnival while they are at OBU because they think the atmosphere is not the same as in Brazil.
International students have many different holidays from their own countries. Some of the students enjoy celebrating these holidays while they are at OBU, but some students do not celebrate and miss home during the holidays.
However, the Intensive English Program (IEP) will have thanksgiving party and Halloween party to help international students adapt American holidays and will treat their homesickness as well.