Thanksgiving and Christmas are both Western holidays. Most countries in Asia do not celebrate these holidays. For Asian students, their holiday lives are very different from that of American students. As we all know, the origin of Thanksgiving is America. Legend says that the famous ship, Mayflower, brought pilgrims to America. The Indians taught them how to hunt, fish, and grow corn and pumpkins. With their help, the pilgrims had a good harvest. So the pilgrims started Thanksgiving the following year to thank God and celebrate. Thanksgiving Day is the equivalent to the Chinese Spring Festival. On this day, all the shops will close, and the family members will come back from all over the world to have dinner together.
Christmas is also one of the essential festivities in Western countries. Christmas is the day to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. In the United States, Christmas is designated as a public holiday by the government. It is the most popular holiday. Christmas Eve is like the Chinese New Year’s Eve. All family members get together to prepare a sumptuous dinner.
In these two holidays, students from Western countries almost all go home to reunite with their families, but what do Asian students do at this time? In an interview with Shubin Ma, she said, “The Thanksgiving holiday is relatively short compared to the Christmas holiday, so there is not enough time to visit the family because I probably spend more time on the plane than I do with my family. So now, I’m planning to go to Washington D.C. to meet my friends and spend Thanksgiving with them. After being in the United States for two years, I should take a trip to visit the capital of the United States. For my Christmas holiday, I am also thinking about traveling to other places with my friends. Traveling back to China would be a bit boring for me, as students in China don’t have Christmas vacation, so my friends would still be in school.”
Lisa Sato from Japan spoke about her holiday plans. “I am going to my homestay family’s house in St. Louis to spend Thanksgiving dinner with them. This time is my first authentic Thanksgiving dinner, and it’s also my first traditional Thanksgiving because we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Japan, so I’m excited. Last Thanksgiving, I visited my friends in Chicago and experienced the heat of Black Friday. Then, I will go back to Japan during the Christmas holiday to visit with my family. January 1st is the Japanese New Year, and it is the biggest festival of the year in Japan. I want to go back to celebrate this festival with my family.”
Everyone has different arrangements for their holidays. Most students choose to travel during the holidays because the pressure of study may be overbearing at ordinary times. During the holidays, Asian students choose a city or country they like and use the holiday time to relax and free themselves from the study. It is also a tradition to go back to their own country to visit their family and friends during the holidays. When they are studying in a foreign country, they will inevitably miss their own country. It is most important to arrange your holiday and do what you like.