Falling into fall traditions

Sept. 30, 2023, 9:30 a.m. | By Angelina Cao | 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Exploring how Blazers celebrate autumnal holidays from all over the world

From Rosh Hashanah to Diwali, there are many fall holidays to celebrate. Photo courtesy of Sarah Zhang.

Autumn is a beautiful season: the leaves turn into the color of sunsets while all sorts of foods take on pumpkin-flavored twists. This magical season deserves celebration and Blazers certainly do not slack off. Let’s take a look at some of these holidays and the ways they are celebrated by students at Blair!

Rosh Hashanah - Sept. 17

Believed to be the day on which the world was created, the Jewish New Year is celebrated during fall. Challah, a traditional bread with a braided texture, is served for the whole family along with honey and apples, representing the sweetness of the New Year. Rosh Hashanah starts the 10 days of Awe, which end with Yom Kippur, a solemn day of reflection. Together, these traditions guarantee a prosperous New Year. Senior Nathan Gehl recently just finished welcoming in the New Year. “[It’s a] very important reflective period …thinking about your life for the past year and how you can be better for the next,” he says. 

Although there are many aspects of Rosh Hashanah, Gehl simply sums up the holiday with two words: “Food and family. Yeah, family is a good summary,” he says.  

Mid-Autumn Festival - Sept. 29

After a successful harvest season, East and Southeast Asian countries celebrate in honor of the moon by toasting mooncake pastries around a round table. Mooncake is a traditional dessert made with sweet lotus paste — it is circular like the moon, with detailed engravings on top. Senior Van Cao celebrates by going to his local Vietnamese Church where a gathering is held. Along with mooncake, pho and fried rice are served while kids gather round to hear the legends of the moon.

One such example would be the tale of the Moon Rabbit. Inspired by the dark spots on the moon, storytellers spun myths of a rabbit who was granted immortality due to a selfless sacrifice of giving up his own life for a stranger. Nowadays the Rabbit spends all of his time on the moon, believed to be concocting elixirs of immortality or cooking up some delicious mochi. Regardless, the full moon will be a beautiful sight that night for families gathered under the stars.  

Diwali - Nov. 12

In Hindu tradition, it is believed that light will inevitably win over darkness and every year, that victory is celebrated in the fall. Candles, firecrackers, and decorations are lit to commemorate the day when Lord Rama, the noble prince, defeated his evil stepmother and returned to his home city of Ayodhya. During the festival, families gather around and participate in the Puja, a ceremonial worship, in order to welcome Lakshmi the goddess of prosperity into the home. Junior Jonah Chopra-Khan describes the way in which his family performs the Puja. “We take a small tray with candles on it, and we rotate them clockwise…five times in front of all of the candles …And then we take turns doing that until we're done,” he says. Chopra-Khan explains that the tray is rotated five times to symbolize the five elements and the clockwise motion is meant to match the natural rotation of the Earth. As the candles dim, the festival reaches its conclusion and it is clear that once again, light has won over darkness.

Blazers come from all over the world and the holidays we celebrate reflect that diversity. From the delicious food of Rosh Hashanah and the Mid-Autumn Festival to the beautiful lights of Diwali, there are truly infinite ways to celebrate the wonderful season of fall! 

Last updated: Sept. 30, 2023, 11:31 a.m.

Tags: holidays Fall

Angelina Cao. Hi, my name is Angelina and I am a writer! I like animation and crocheting :) More »

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