Exchange student discuss holiday customs abroad, in US

by Dylan Ramirez/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Several exchange students hold flags from their countries at the flag ceremony during the World Language Cook-Off: Joona Hinte, 11, Annika Fischer, 11, Ainara Flores Garcia, 11, Aiala Orio San Vicente, 11, Audrey Marguet, 11, and Lorenzo Pedroni, 11, and Rozalia Golen, 11.

     Greenfield Central is hosting exchange students from all over the world, from Germany, Spain, Russia, and other countries. As most know, many kids from different countries do not celebrate the same holidays as most Americans. Some of the exchange compare holidays here and at home.

Matz Schaefer, grade 1l, is a 15 year old from Germany. He said, “Back home in Germany we celebrate Christmas, Nikolaus (6th of December to celebrate a helpful man) and St. Martin on the 11th of November and Pentecost.” Schaefer said the holidays here aren’t much different when it comes to celebrating them. He and his family and most Germans come together as a family and eat a bunch of food. He said the food is a bit different. “Usually back at home we’ll eat geese and potato soup. It’s different here because we ate turkey, ham, pie, and mashed potatoes for most of the holidays we’ve had so far, like Thanksgiving,” said Schaefer. He said the holidays he’s celebrated makes him feel like a real American because he’s living the same experience and traditions just as  everyone else around him. He loves celebrating Thanksgiving and celebrating with his host family. He concluded, “I’m glad to get to celebrate these holidays with family and friends. I’d suggest to anyone to go to different countries and celebrate their holidays their way.” 

Aiala Orio San Vicente, grade 11, is from Spain. Aiaila stated that she also celebrates New Years (Los Reyes Magos), Easter (Dia de la Hispanidad), Halloween (Dia de todos los santos), and also Christmas. Vicente said celebrating the holidays are the same, just hanging with family and eating. Aialia also said that the more popular foods to eat are meat, salads, croquetas (small cakes of meat or potatoes coated in breadcrumbs  and fried), then cakes and Spanish ham during holidays. “The holidays made me feel really happy, like Thanksgiving. The most significant tradition in Spain is eating twelve grapes during the last seconds before New Years,” says Aialia. The purpose of eating twelve grapes is to lead each month of the next year full of good luck and prosperity. 

Annika Fischer, grade 11, is from Germany. She exclaimed, “I love celebrating the holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving with my host family so far. I’m excited for Christmas.” Fischer talked about the traditions and holidays she celebrates back home. She celebrates Christmas, their thanksgiving, St. Martin,etc. Thanksgiving in Germany is celebrated on the first Sunday in October. It is more of a rural event, with gatherings with food and neighbors. “The main difference between celebrating holidays here and back home is the food and how much family come from different places to come celebrate with you. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving back home,” says Annika. Annika then explained, “But besides that, the holidays here are as common and simple as the ones back home. I love being around people, it makes me feel comfortable.” Annika ended the interview with wanting to tell everyone to go out of the country at least once and try different holidays from around the world.