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With students on-campus from over 99 different countries, the definition of a ‘perfect Christmas’ changes depending on who you are talking to. One thing is for sure though, family, food and fun are always present! We asked three students from different corners of the world to share how they celebrate the festive season.

Lauren Esther Solomons | BBA in Hospitality Management

Christmas in South Africa

Glion_Student_Xmas_LaurenSince being able to comprehend the tradition of Christmas, it has revolved around celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ – that life-altering evening in Bethlehem so many years ago. For us, a commemoration of the ultimate gift received.

The ‘official’ festivities start on Christmas Eve with all the prep for the delicious delicacies well on its way. And of course, it is a massive family affair – aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and better halves from all across the country and abroad all gather under one roof (usually the family farm), for up to an entire week leading up to the big day. Growing up, and now, this time is a window of paradise – nothing surpasses the depth of a family bond intertwined with honour, love and sheer joy.

Student_Xmas_LaurenAfter the Christmas Eve Carols Service, usually hosted by candlelight, we would return home and wait until midnight to open presents on the veranda. First thing on Christmas morning is another short service at church and then the cooking and set up continues with everybody lending a helping hand.

The grand finale is a table decked with the likes of stuffed turkey, roast beef, leg of lamb, gammon, tongue, an array of veggies, salads and accompaniments with everybody dressed to the nines! As usual far too much food, just the way we like it. We celebrate well into the night with only the stars to bare witness to the song and dance of a day that brings us all together.

After all is said and done, we venture on our separate ways with new, unforgettable memories etched on our hearts and our takeaway boxes of Malva pudding safe and secure!

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Daniela Gonzalez Benedetti (Student Ambassador) | MSc in International Hospitality Business

Christmas in El Salvador

Aren’t you excited for the upcoming holidays? I definitely am!

For me, this is the greatest and most special time of the year and I’m sure many of you share this same feeling with me! That feeling of going back home, sharing, loving and capturing all these wonderful moments with your friends and family which then become unforgettable lifetime memories!

Being born and raised in El Salvador, religion is a big part of the culture and therefore Christmas Holidays are of great importance. For those living abroad, they usually travel back home to celebrate (like me!).

Christmas decorations are a MUST in your house. Salvadorans are so much looking forward to this season, they start decorating their homes around mid-October (which is quite early!). Usually the planning of the specific night starts around three weeks ahead.

Celebrations take place on the night of the 24th of December (the dress-code for the night is cocktail-formal). Family and friends are gathered together in a house (usually around 30 people), where a big buffet with large amounts and a variety of food is waiting for us! The main dish is usually either turkey or pork and it would be served at 10 pm.

The whole night is celebrated and enjoyed with music and fireworks (which you can hear for the whole night!). At midnight, we all take the time to make a toast and give a hug to every single person to wish them a ‘Feliz Navidad!’ and show your appreciation and love towards them.

After midnight, parents go back home and the ‘young’ ones are invited to a party which lasts until 8-9 am, this one takes normally place in a hotel or a golf club!

Remember…for Christmas time the essential is to share and care! I wish you and all your families happiness, joy and a very ‘Feliz Navidad’!

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Clarita Raquel Amanda | BBA in Event, Sport, Entertainment Management

Christmas in Indonesia

As we all know, the majority of Indonesians are Muslims, therefore Christmas in Indonesia is more likely to be a religious celebration for only Christians rather than a public celebration. Christians in Indonesia celebrate it by going to the church and sometimes with a family dinner.

Student_Xmas_Clarita_03It’s totally the contrary with Europe where all people, Christians or not, celebrate this holiday together with joy. It is common in Asian countries to feel less like Christmas (especially Indonesia) as there are no Christmas lights on the street, no Christmas trees in every neighborhood, and the most important thing that is missing is the cold weather.

Christmas sometimes is associated with cold weather and snow, and it’s just weird for me to celebrate Christmas in a hot weather. That’s why my family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas in Indonesia, for the past few years we went on holiday to other countries, mostly Europe, to celebrate Christmas.

Last year we went to Germany, Austria, Czech Republic etc and it couldn’t be more Christmasy than that. We went to numerous Christmas Markets, drinking hot chocolate and mulled wine, eating hot sausages and churros, and when the temperature was already below 0 celsius, it’s the best time to have these foods.

Student_Xmas_ClaritaAlso, here the Christmas sales are insane! All we did was shopping and eating. On Christmas day we went to a church, then after we went home to our Airbnb and my mom cooked for the family and spent the rest of the night in the apartment, having good conversations while we all gathered here and have time to talk to each other.

So this is our Christmas, it’s all about family, no matter where I go, as long as I’m with my family, I can celebrate it anywhere.

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Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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