EF Foundation for Foreign Study Exchange Students attending Essex and Champlain Valley Union High Schools recently gathered in Essex Junction, at the home of Donald and Caroline Messier, to share holiday traditions. Students prepared foods associated with their country and talked about the role and significance their dish would play in celebrations at home. Much like in Vermont, food is a central focus and the holidays are all about being with family and friends.
Advent calendars filled with little treats, stockings, and gifts under the Christmas tree were common in many countries. Surprisingly, watching Donald Duck is a Christmas Day tradition in Sweden. Eating grapes for good luck as the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve is the tradition in Italy. Chattarin and his friends enjoy the Christmas decorations at the mall, even though they don’t celebrate Christmas. Thailand’s most important holiday, the Songkran Festival in April, marks the traditional New Year. Water is sprayed on statues of Buddha as a means of purification, but if you are in Thailand during the holiday, prepare to get wet too, as Thai people also splash water on each other!
For information on hosting an exchange student, please contact Jan Bedard at 482-3494 or visit www.effoundation.org.