Discover the tastes of the holiday season

Students celebrate a variety of holiday traditions from around the world, reflecting a range of languages and cultures at Inglemoor. Many of these celebrations include foods of cultural significance that students eat during the holdiays.
Discover the tastes of the holiday season

Junior Iskander Zamaleev (he/him) is from Kuzan, Russia. He celebrates Sabantuy, an annual folk festival at the end of spring field work among the Tatars and Bashkirs, with his family and close friends. Sabantuy is celebrated from mid-May to July 10, and involves non-stop national songs, dances, sports competitions and games for both adults and children.

“The Koresh is our national wrestling, when two people stand up and are given special belts, and with the help of this belt they must throw the other person,” Zamaleev said.

Zamaleev also said he competed with his brother on the holiday.

“We fought on bags with him, and he did not calculate his strength. He hit me with the bag, I lost my balance, and there is a special worker who is supposed to catch you, when you fall, and there are also mats below. This guy didn’t catch me; I also flew over the mats. I just fell into the ground, into the mud,” Zamaleev said.

The main dishes eaten during Sabantuy are sweets, soups and pies.

“They use chak-chak as a dessert. This isnour national dish, then boortsog, hvorost — these are sweets — and gubadia, pie with rice and raisins. Let’s move on to the most delicious: echpochmak, kystyby and belish. Shurpa is like soup,” Zamaleev said.

Chak-chak are cookies made from deep-fried pieces of dough mixed with honey syrup. Boortsog is also a dessert made from deep-fried strips of dough, but only soaked in sugar syrup. Hvorost is a kind of doughnut, deep-fried but without filling. Echpochmak, kystyby and Balesh are pies with fruit fillings. Since moving to America, Zamaleev has not celebrated Sabantuy, but he remembers the holiday fondly. He said he loves and appreciates the holiday of his home country.

“It will remain a dear holiday for me, and my attitude towards it will not change in any way because it is connected with my nation, with my tradition, with my people.”

[This interview was translated from Russian to English by Anna Oleynikova]

Eritrean Easter
Eritrean Easter

Senior Lillie Tsegay (she/her) celebrates Eritrean Easter, an Orthodox holiday that takes place around April. Because it’s based on the Orthodox calendar, the dates change every year. After a church service from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Tsegay said her family and friends feast on a variety of food. Tsegay’s aunt loves cooking and often hosts large gatherings with many intricate dishes.

Tsegay said that many family and friends bring smaller dishes and gifts to the feast. Common gifts are chocolates and cookies, usually the brand Royal Danisk cookies, and Panettone, a sweet bread. Tsegay said it’s common for people to buy Panettone in bulk to share with friends and family. Before the Easter gathering, Tsegay and her family fast.

“We have fasting for three months. It’s completely vegan. You break the fast after midnight on Easter Monday. Then the next day, we have a lot of cultural foods that have meat that we couldn’t eat before,” Tsegay said.

Tsegay’s favorite dish is Tsebhi Dorho, a popular favorite during Eritrean Easter.

“Tsebhi Dorho, which is a piece of stew/sauce, and then Dorho, which is chicken, so it’s just a chicken version of it,” Tsegay said.

Tsegay looks forward to celebrating Eritrean Easter with her family and friends.

“At least for my family, we have my extended family and family friends, so it’s like 40 of us having dinner.”

Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year

Junior Amanda Cai (she/her) celebrates Chinese New Year, a two-week long holiday based on the Lunar calendar. Usually starting around January or Febuary, the celebration centers around reuniting with family and friends. Cai grew up celebrating Chinese New Year with her family and friends by giving gifts and eating together.

“You get a red envelope and you put some money in it, and then you give it to the kids, which is a really fun tradition,” Cai said.

Red envelopes are a common gift, along with fruits like mandarin oranges, kumquats (orange-like fruits from Southeast Asia) and tangerines. Citruses represent good luck, happiness and good fortune for the new year. In addition to receiving gifts, Cai said her family has many other traditions.

“I think the best part is probably the food. Everyone brings their best food and everything is on a huge table, you get to choose what you want,” Cai said.

Her favorite dish is a sticky rice cake called Nian Gao, which can be cooked, steamed, pan fried or baked. Every year Cai’s mom bakes the sweet and savory rice cakes with layers of dates. She then cuts them into bars and serves them as dessert. Other foods also hold significant meaning during Chinese New Year.

“Fish is really lucky during the Chinese New Year because that’s the same pronunciation as surplus or excess,” Cai said. “It wishes everyone that they’ll have surplus in the coming year.”


Sophomore Anoushka Vyas (she/her) celebrates Diwali, which is a holiday based on the Hindu Lunar calendar, so each year, Diwali usually occurs between the months of October and November. Known as the festival of lights, it originated from Hinduism. It’s the celebration of the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil. Vyas’s family lights up the inside and outside of their house to welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity: Lakshmi. Vyas celebrates Diwali with traditional foods, music and offerings.

“My favorite part is when we light the diyas, which are clay-based little pots,” Vyas said. “They’re very intricately designed, and you put oil in them and then you take cotton and you rub it up and make a wick. And then you light that and you light a lot of them. You put them outside your house, behind your house, often a path shape, to light the way for Lakshmi to come.”

Vyas’s family makes an offering to Lakshmi every Diwali. She said her family’s offering is Halwa, a sweet dish usually made with flour and lentils.

“Halwa has a mashed potato almost texture,” Vyas said. “It’s sweet and it’s made from brown sugar I want to say. What you do, or what my family does at least, is we put it in a bowl and we put it in the closet where we keep our shrine to Lakshmi and the Hindu gods. And then we’ll leave in there for five minutes, and it’s silent and we pray, and then we’ll take it out and eat it.”

Vyas said her dad describes the offering as eating the spirit. Other traditional foods eaten during Diwali include Samosas, which are pastries covered with chutney and served wih a variety of different spreads, and Pakora, which are batter-dipped vegetable Fritters.

“We also eat Gulab Jamun, which is kind of a soft Laddu with lots of honey,” Vyas said. “I would say there’s a syrup around it.”

Vyas also celebrate Diwali with family friends. She said theres an abundance of food and lighting festivities.

“On Diwali we’ll celebrate it just us, but then we’ll often go to the Diwali parties on other days before Diwali with other friends and family, where you light sparklers andit’s a lot more extravagant.”

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About the Contributors
Senior Xien Huang is a reporter on Nordic News for the 2023-2024 school year. During the school year on staff, she hopes to expand her artistic skills and publish intriguing and relevant news at Inglemoor. Outside of Nordic, Xien is a partial IB student, co-president of AAPI club and actively involved in Key Club. Some of Xien’s hobbies include drawing, stained glass and hanging out with friends and family.
Junior Anna Oleynikova is in her first year on the Nordic News staff. She moved from Ukraine to the US about one and a half years ago and already joined the friendly and close-knit team here. Outside of school, Anna spends most of her time improving her language skills, reading, drawing and listening to motivational podcasts. She looks forward to developing her writing abilities, learning more about how things in school work, making new friends and starting to create interesting articles that will inform and delight students!

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