Diverse holidays pop into season

November and December is the time of holiday season. These holidays are celebrated by a diverse group of people at NPHS, belonging to several different cultures and religions. Three major holidays during this time are Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas; although celebrated for separate reasons, each holiday involves celebrating with family and friends, reflecting on the past and hoping for a better future.


Photo credit: Apala Bhunia/With Permission

Diwali is an Indian holiday celebrated by different religions. The holiday marks the return of the gods Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after their 14-year exile, and for the day the goddess Durga destroyed a demon called Mahisha. This year it fell on Nov. 14. 

According to Ojal Hamwat, freshman, Diwali is an important day to honor the past. “It’s important to our culture as we worship the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, so they can wish for a better financial year, and for some people it’s just to remember what has happened in the past for their family,” Hamwat said.

Hamwat and her family celebrate with lights and candles. “Usually, every year we put up lights all around our house, and every night we do a prayer to our god and we take little candles and set them around everywhere. On the third day we decorate the outside of our houses with color dust,” Hamwat said.


Photo credit: Jessica Shwartz/With Permission

Hanukkah is an important holiday for those who are Jewish, celebrating the miracle of light that happened in the Second Temple in Jerusalem wherein people of the Jewish faith were able to last their light in their temple for eight days instead of one. This was significant for their culture, as the Greeks, who were in control of their land, had outlawed all Jewish worship, but their temple was able to outlast expectations. This year Hanukkah is Dec. 10 – Dec. 18. 

Ariela Behar, freshman, believes that “Hanukkah… really just means just thinking about our past and really just celebrating the lights and a miracle that happened on that day… My family and I are not super duper religious, but we get together most of the years, but this year will be different. We will make latkes, which is a food for the holiday, and will play dreidel and will get presents for each other and just think about the holiday and celebrate,” Behar said.


Photo credit: Eudia Ng/With Permission

Christmas falls on Dec. 25, an important holiday for Christians. It celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, who the Christians believe to be the son of God and the Lord and savior of men. 

Eudia Ng, freshman, celebrates by rekindling her faith. “Usually we get together and there will be four candles leading up to Christmas Eve or Christmas day where we light one each week on that Sunday in a sort of countdown, so we usually have a sort of sermon or a little lesson where we go through the birth again,” Ng said.

Ng believes that giving back is the most important part of the holiday, working with her church to help out those in need. “On Christmas Eve, our church will go somewhere to go caroling like people’s houses. In recent years, we’ve gone to Mary House of the Sick to carol for them and usually bring some gifts or presents because a lot of the elderly people there don’t have anyone to celebrate with them for Christmas. It is nice to spend time with them on Christmas Eve,” Ng said.