It’s that time of year again, the hustle and bustle of running from store to store trying to figure out how to get the last ingredients for the pumpkin pie, stuffing and sweet potatoes. Oh wait, don’t forget the most important thing of all, the turkey. For some of Wesleyan’s international students, this is their first year to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Wei Sun, graduate education major, is from China and this will be her first time to see what the holiday seasons hold in America.
Sun said she came to America less than a year ago on a student visa and plans on going to one of her professor’s houses for Thanksgiving this year. In China they do not celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving, they celebrate Chinese New Year and what is called the Spring Festival in February.
“They give kids small red pockets. It represents fortune and luck,” Sun said. “Then they put some money inside as gifts.”
Sun said families in China spend time with their families and make dumplings out of pork, beef and vegetables, and the children receive new clothes.
“Kids always wear new clothes on the first day of the Chinese New Year,” Sun said. “It’s kind of like New Year’s Day here.”
Some of the foods Sun and her family make during the holidays in China are moon cake, which is a common food item during the holiday Mid-Autumn Day. Moon cake is small round cake that can be made with different foods on the inside.
Abir Rahman, freshman business management major, is also new to American traditions. Rahman came to the U. S. four months ago from Bangladesh on a student visa.
“In winter, public schools and private schools are all closed,” Rahman said. “So children go for picnics and campfires.”
Rahman said in his country, the festivals they celebrate are mainly religious festivals, but they celebrate the New Year with a festival as well. Some of the other holidays they celebrate are Victory Day on Dec. 16 and on Feb. 21 they celebrate International Mother’s Language Day.
Rahman said once Bangladesh was part of Pakistan, until 1971 when Bangladesh won the war.
Rahman said they celebrate International Mother’s Language Day because Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan. The Pakistanian’s wanted to pressure Bangladesh to speak Urdu, so they went on strike against Pakistan and a lot of people were killed.
“We are the only nation in the world that sacrificed their lives for their mother language,” Rahman said.
Like Sun, Rahman’s family makes unique food items during the holiday seasons. One of the foods they make is called hilsha fish, which is a common fish in his country and with it, they make rice.
“[Hilsha fish] is a traditional food we make for our own New Year,” Rahman said.
Elyssa Ruesing, senior English major, said her family traditions are the normal traditions everyone does around the holidays.
“On Thursday we go to my in-laws house and have Thanksgiving with my husband’s family,” Ruesing said. “Then on Friday we drive to Tyler, and have Thanksgiving out there with my family.”
Ruesing said since her parents, sister and brother live in Tyler, she and her husband are split between going here and there.
“We do the normal eat, nap, eat again,” Ruesing said. “We eat turkey, ham, potatoes, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and my favorite is the deviled eggs, my husband loves the pea salad yuck!”