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Patriots celebrate winter holidays

Sophomore+Jacob+Barbarash+lights+the+Menorah+to+celebrate+the+first+night+of+Hanukkah%2C+Dec.+12
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Patriots celebrate winter holidays

Sophomore Jacob Barbarash lights the Menorah to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 12

Sophomore Jacob Barbarash lights the Menorah to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 12

Barbarash family

Sophomore Jacob Barbarash lights the Menorah to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 12

Barbarash family

Barbarash family

Sophomore Jacob Barbarash lights the Menorah to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 12

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As Parkway South comes up upon the end of the first semester, finals, and winter break it also approaches the holiday season. These winter holidays, no matter which one, tend to be a crowd favorite throughout South. South’s December holiday traditions are as diverse as its student population.  

Sophomore Adam Sommer and senior Ashlyn Southard gave some insight over how Christmas is celebrated in their homes.

“Growing up with such a large family, 10 kids, Christmas has always been an exciting time of the year. Every year my family will go down to the Polar Express train, which is always fun because over half of my siblings actually believe we’re in the North Pole with Santa,” Southard said.

Southard mentioned that her family really dives into the spirit of Christmas throughout the winter season.

“We have two Elf on the Shelfs that my older siblings and I move around the house, the younger kids will set out tons of cookies and a huge glass of milk for Santa, and we always decorate the Christmas tree as a family while listening to Christmas music. Everyone really gets into the holiday spirit!” Southard said.

Sommer said ¨Every year my younger sister wakes me up at seven to open presents and eat our family’s Christmas breakfast,  at the end of our day we will donate to Toys for Tots for children without presents. It’s one of my favorite days of the year.”

The Holiday is spirit is not only spread to families around South and the less fortunate, but sophomore, Jake Barbarash, English teacher, Ria VanRyn, and junior Rachel Callier also open up and talk about other winter holidays.

Callier celebrates Christmas and Hanukkah so this winter is filled with fun for her and her family.

“Being half Jewish and half Christian, the celebrations are never ending! We go to my mother’s grandparents for Hanukkah and my dad’s grandparents for Christmas, so from both sides it’s constant fun and festivity,” she said.

Vanryn converted to Judaism eight years ago, so over the years her traditions have changed a lot.

“I use to live in New York with many Jewish neighbors so I often followed similar traditions as them, now that I live in Saint Louis my traditions are based on my personal beliefs and now that I’m closer to family I celebrate Christmas culturally with them,” she said.

This year VanRyn has a new member of her family to celebrate Hanukkah with– her baby daughter.

“This year I’m mostly thinking of what will be best for my daughter, what traditions I will want to continue with her. Since, I converted I have no family traditions I have to uphold, so this is all new for me and my daughter. This year, instead of presents each day will have a new theme. One day we will donate to charity, one day we’ll read a book together, and another we’ll have an arts and crafts day. I’m hoping this teaches her that Hanukkah is not a Christmas substitute, but a celebration of our religion and beliefs,” she said.

Lastly, Barbarash talked about his Hanukkah experience. I was born into Judaism, my dad is Jewish and my mother converted, so we have many traditions we follow every year.

“We always get a Menorah, light candles, play dreidel, receive presents, and of course say the blessings. Every year we make my favorite foods; potato latkes, which is similar to a round hashbrown, jelly filled donuts, applesauce, and green beans. It’s hard to get to all of this amazing food because we celebrate at my aunt’s house with around 25 people and everyone loves them,” he said.

He also talks about the more serious and religious part of Hanukkah.

“My dad and I go to the synagogue on the eight days of Hanukkah and wear our yamakas. The reason this holiday is really important and meaningful to me is not only because it’s spent with family, but because it recognizes the history and great miracle of Judaism,” he said.  

Overall Parkway South celebrates all kinds of amazing winter holidays, that all students go through in their own ways with their own traditions. The diversity and creative traditions at this school is what makes Parkway South so accepting and lively.

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Patriots celebrate winter holidays