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Gryphon Question: What is your favourite holiday tradition?

Ms. Joanne Liang, Lab Technician
Lunar New Year is a well-known Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year of the Lunar calendar. The celebration starts on New Year’s eve and ends with the Lantern festival which is held on the 15th day of the new year. Growing up as a child, celebrating Lunar New Year was always my favourite family tradition. The whole family will gather on New Year’s Eve and I remember helping my grandmother make dumplings. Now as a mom, I still pass our family traditions and celebrate Lunar New Year with the younger generations. We usually give children red envelopes, visit the Buddhist temple, and decorate the house. We also feel so grateful that our school also hosts Lunar New Year celebrations, and we look forward to celebrating the Year of Rabbit soon 

Mrs. Gabriela Slade, Advancement Office
I would have to say without a doubt that it would be Advent and Christmas. Now, Advent in Austria is the time leading up to Christmas counting down the four weeks till Christmas Eve. For each week, a candle will be lit on a homemade evergreen bough decorated with red bows and beeswax candles. First one, then two, then three then four, then the “Christkindl” stands in the door. No Santa Claus in Austria.

Where I lived, snow would fall at the beginning of December. After a day playing in the snow, my family would always gather each Sunday around a Kachelofen (a beautiful artistic ceramic oven), my oldest (of nine) sibling would entertain us with songs on the “Zither” a stringed instrument and we’d enjoy special cookies and tea. The most special day would be Christmas Eve. The living room would be locked all day, unbeknownst to the children, the parents would decorate the live Christmas tree and place the presents under the tree. After dinner, we would line up from the youngest to the oldest and wait for the little tingle of a bell to announce that the Christkindl has indeed visited us. Then the door would open, and we’d enter the darkened room only lit by the beeswax candles and sparklers of the tree. It was magical!  

Mr. Rhys Clarke, Teacher
Growing up, I attended the local Lutheran church with my family. The four days before Christmas, the church erected a stable that had hay, a manger, a real sheep, a baby doll representing the baby Jesus, and members of the church dressed as shepherds, wise men, Joseph and Mary. We would take shifts in the cold winter night standing in the manger as the locals in the neighborhood walked by or drove by to take pictures and hopefully get into the mood of the season. Luckily, the costumes were big enough for us to wear winter coats and our felt-lined winter boots. The entire experience culminated with the performers walking up the middle aisle during the midnight service. We would then head home to drink hot chocolate and prepare for Christmas morning. Wonderful memories.