Community Members Share Tradition Shifts

Students and staff share their traditions amidst the COVID 19 pandemic

Whether you celebrated Christmas, Hannaukah, Kwanzaa, or any other holiday, they have looked different with the Coronavirus pandemic. 

With special food being a huge tradition amongst many, english teacher Danielle Crossley shared one of her favorites to eat around the Holidays. 

Crossley’s family planned ahead of time with their food prep. “A week or two before Christmas, all the women on my mom’s side of the family get together and make the dough and three different types of fillings.”

Making pierogies takes lots of steps, but is worth it in the end, she said. 

“We’re Polish and pierogies are a pretty popular Polish dish. They’re like a fried dumpling basically,” she said. 

Usually the family makes hundreds of Pierogies, but to stay safe this year with the virus, the family planned to only make around 90 and “put 10 assortments of the different types and freeze them.”

 Even though it may not be the same, she just wanted to keep some sense of normalcy through the holiday season. 

Freshman Sethmi Madawala had to celebrate her tradition with COVID this year, and may very well have to do it again. Madawala celebrates Avurudu, a Sri Lankan New Year’s tradition. 

“It’s like an annual celebration we do on April 14. So it’s basically like Christmas and New Year we do here,” she said. 

Avurudu has many food and dance aspects, including celebrations with a step by step agenda, feasts, and games for the children. A popular game played by children is “a drawn on elephant in which the child comes blindfolded and with the chalk needs to draw the eye on the elephant.” 

Because festivities take place at home, traditions were able to take place safely despite COVID cases being on the rise. While some families opened gifts all at once, english teacher Ronalee Henderhan’s family has a special way they open theirs. 

She said that each person opened all their gifts one at a time with everyone watching. 

They “ooh and ahh” at the surprises each person gets, giving each one a chance in the spotlight. 

With COVID, she wanted to keep the tradition going. “Even though we don’t have plans right now, I’m sure by the time we get closer to Christmas we’ll make plans for a set time where we can watch each other open their gifts,” she said.

While the pandemic made celebrating hard this year, people are still continued traditions connected with their loved ones.