By Sophia Lichterfeld
As December rolls around again, a festive spirit fills the halls of Winsor. Since members of the Winsor community come from a wide range of diverse backgrounds, it is imperative that Winsor shine a light on the different holidays that those around us celebrate and the various ways in which we celebrate these holidays.
Winsor already has several events throughout the year to recognize various holidays. Jiwon Lee ’27 said that “one holiday my family celebrates is Lunar New Year. I think last year especially, Winsor did a really good job with incorporating dishes from Asian countries and sharing many viewpoints as well as fun activities and treats” during Assembly and lunch. Lilac Nguyen ’28 added that “these kinds of events at lunch should occur more often! The kitchen staff tries very hard to be inclusive and serve authentic meals to remind us about these important holidays. Although I know the Vietnamese community at Winsor is small, it would mean a lot to me if some of our holidays, including Tet, were acknowledged and celebrated.” These highly anticipated events will certainly be continued, as Nika Bigelow ’25, co-head of Jew Kidz on the Block, shared that the club is “planning a Hanukkah party that will take place during lunch. We hope it will achieve the goal of educating and bringing the Winsor community together around a holiday.”
Winsor’s religious and cultural holidays list was updated two years ago; for holidays marked on this official calendar, there are rules around giving tests and assignments or, in some cases, even a day off. However, in cases when the holiday does not lead to an assessment restriction for all students, the situation can become complicated. For instance, Hamna Chowdhry ’26 explained, “Every year I take Eid off to celebrate with my family, but sometimes I miss important classes or information. Holidays take time to prepare for; I stay up till very late for my own religious reasons, and, on top of that, I have to do homework.” Although it would not be realistic to give days off for all holidays celebrated by every member of the community, students have some ideas on how Winsor could acknowledge more diverse holidays at school.
For example, the school could work to have students better understand the history behind and significance of different traditions. Bigelow said, “It would be beneficial to make sure any upcoming holidays are mentioned in the Winsor Weekly email as well as to provide a quick blurb to educate people.” Moreover, Diya Dronavadhyala ’24 recommended that “we could invite students to share informally about the holidays they celebrate in assemblies just as we had faculty sharing at the end of some assemblies last year. It would also be cool to have some sort of calendar in a public space where students and teachers could fill in different holidays celebrated.” Associate Head of School Ms. Caspar said that “Stories matter a great deal, as do personal experiences, and finding ways for students to share their cultures and faith traditions can only strengthen us as a community.”
Head of SOMOS Valeria Gil ’23 brought up the idea of using the Winsor Instagram account to showcase the various holidays celebrated by members of the Winsor community. “We could have a student share a day in the life similar to what we already do but a holiday edition; each day of December we could post short blurbs on our story from students and faculty that briefly speak about their favorite tradition; we could include posts that feature several pictures of our students celebrating the holidays, whatever that looks like for them,” Gil suggested.
There are certainly many ideas among Winsor students about how to better share and acknowledge various holidays, and it would be exciting to see some of these implemented in the coming years.