Religious groups celebrate holidays before break

Annie Nash

While campus will be bare during the holidays, many student groups and ministries offer activities before the break that give students the chance to celebrate with their own brand of holiday cheer.

With Muslim, Jewish and Christian holidays all taking place in December, groups such as Hillel offer cultural and religious activities, including Latkepalooza, which will take place Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Norris Game Room.

“Hanukkah usually falls during reading or finals week or the week after classes let out, so it is a really good outlet for new students who are having their first Hanukkah away from home,” said Hillel president Merrie Aaron, a SESP junior. “There is always a fun spirit of Hanukkah. We even have dreidels.”

This year Hanukkah will begin on Dec. 11, after most students leave for break, but Hillel will also hold a Hanukkah-themed study break during finals week, Aaron said.

“There’s candle-lighting, and we sing and pray. We even make menorahs. It’s a very welcoming community,” Aaron said.

Students from other religious groups on campus said the holidays provide a time for group reflection

Intervarsity, a Christian group divided into ethnic and organizational subfields, offered several potlucks before Thanksgiving.

Weinberg senior Ricardo Creighton said he was drawn to House on the Rock, the African-American branch of IV, because of the group’s “comfortable, free, and open environment.”Creighton said the different groups of IV work with different themes each year.

“Each group has a vision which establishes the goal of the year” he said. “Ours is ‘Living without chains and loving without borders.’ This means loving someone regardless of who they are or where they came from. The vision is to strengthen our relationship with God.”

House on the Rock and the other segments of Intervarsity will hold a large group on Friday, Dec. 4.

Jenny Youngmin Yoo, co-president of Multiethnic Intervarsity, said the joint group session was “open to anyone, no matter their class, gender, race or religion.”

She said she and her co-president have recently been brainstorming new ways to reach out to other faiths.

“We first need to build a relationship and establish fundamental trust. And I think we could do that by organizing some fun social events, but we’re still in the early stages of that plan.” Yoo said.

The Muslim Cultural Students Association held two Eid dinners for Muslim students over Thanksgivng.

“Since we have members from all over the world, usually people dress up in the cultural clothing for the Eid dinner,” said Sana Rahim, a Weinberg junior. “It’s like other religion’s holidays, where communities get together…. We also give to people who can’t celebrate like we do, so there’s usually a service event.”

The University Christian Ministry and Sheil Catholic Center will also hold holiday religious services. Sheil is hosting its annual Lessons & Carols on Saturday, Dec. 5. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Sheil Catholic Center.

Alice Millar Chapel will host a Festival of Lessons and Carols at on Sunday Dec. 6. The Alice Millar Chapel Choir, University Women’s Chorus, the Millar Brass Ensemble and the Philharmonia will perform carols and other holiday music from 10:40 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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