Holiday songs about snowmen and magic filled the air and the smell of various cultural finger foods traveled throughout the first floor of the Campus Center Thursday during the Holiday Extravaganza.
Campus Activities Board members encouraged students to participate in various cultural activities as they supervised the booths set up to symbolize different winter holidays.
“CAB likes to end the year with a bang, so we wanted to have a fun event that educates people about these holidays so we can support our diverse community,” sophomore communications major and CAB major events co-chair Ashley Sayas said.
Celebrated right before dead week, the Extravaganza is the last major CAB event of the year for students to enjoy food, activities and giveaways before the work-intensive finals week.
The event featured four different holidays celebrated during the month of December and January: Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s.
Kwanzaa was introduced in 1966 to bring the African American community together after the civil rights movement. Large red, black and green candle-shaped paper decorated the wall behind the booth to represent the seven Kinara candles that are lit for every day of Kwanzaa. The black center candle represents all African American people, the red candles to its left represent the past and present struggle and the green candles to its right represent hope for the future. Students made beaded bracelets replicating the design of the candles to remind them of their meaningful purpose.
“The CAB team wanted to provide students an opportunity to visually show support for Kwanzaa,” sophomore educational studies major and CAB philanthropy chair Courtney Oberholtz said.
Hanukkah, otherwise known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple. Those who observe Hanukkah light a candle on the menorah for eight nights. The number of candles lit corresponds to the days of Hanukkah. CAB adorned one table with a menorah, with string lights decorating the area to emphasize the Festival.
Students made paper dreidels and CAB comedy chair Nick Kharufeh taught them how to play the game.
“Seeing everybody have so much fun while learning how to play was a memorable moment for me,” Kharufeh, a junior business administration major, said.
To celebrate Christmas, CAB had a photo booth filled with Christmas props and a table where students made their own ornaments decorated with glitter and stickers.
“The photo booth was the first thing I saw when I walked in,” junior English major Jeanette Gomez said. “I loved the festive props and the fact that they printed out a copy for all of us.”
Students also enjoyed tamales, champurrado, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies, sweet potato pies, Jewish latkes and more.
“I was so sad that they ran out of tamales right away, but I really liked the decorations and how they played my favorite Christmas movie,” sophomore business major Madeline Reyes said.
The event reached the second floor of the Campus Center, where CAB showed the movie “Elf” and gave away scarves and long sleeved shirts in commemoration of the Holiday Extravaganza.
A New Year’s booth even served apple cider and mac ‘n’ cheese balls. Students were given Happy New Year headbands and noisemakers to celebrate.
“Seeing students visit each station and get to know the meaning behind each holiday is my favorite part of the event…it’s the reason why we have it,” Sayas said.
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