Happy Holidays to Everyone

Elkhorn North students celebrate holidays other than Christmas every year.


The phrase “Happy Holidays” refers to all holidays celebrated by different cultures and religions. Although a large number of Elkhorn North High School students will be awaiting Santa’s arrival on December 25th, some students will be treating the day like any other. These students will experience similar anticipation and excitement on another day of the year when they celebrate their own meaningful holidays. 

Whether it be cultural or religious, it is important to recognize all holidays and the people who celebrate them. Here are a few holidays other than Christmas that students at Elkhorn North are celebrating: 


Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated over 8 days. This year it took place from November 28 to December 6. 

Hanukkah commemorates the dedication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem after the Romans tried to destroy the first temple. In the rubble, a small jar of oil was found that was only supposed to burn for one day, but ended up burning for eight days. Now, people who celebrate Hanukkah light a candle every night for eight days in a menorah as a symbol for the original oil. 

Since Hanukkah is a religious holiday, prayers and daily readings are a ritual when lighting the candles every night. These are often said in Hebrew. 

Hanukkah is also usually celebrated with family and friends. Sophomore Samantha Stern celebrated it this year with her grandparents, aunts, and uncles. 

“It [Hanukkah] started close to Thanksgiving so our family from out of town was in town. So we did a brunch that Sunday,” Stern said.


Jake Lucoff and Ollie Lucoff lighting the candles on their menorah during Hanukkah. (Photo by Jake Lucoff).

Food is an important part of Hanukkah. Although the holiday has become Americanized, some traditional foods are still made. For example, Stern’s family makes Kugel, a casserole made from noodles and eggs. Latkes are also an important traditional dish. They are a form of pancakes made from potatoes.

Like Christmas, gifts are given and received during Hanukkah. Sometimes they are given all eight days, but Senior Jake Lucoff’s family only gives presents on a few nights. 

“There’s some people who receive gifts every day, but my family doesn’t do that. I only give gifts to my brother and our parents give us gifts,” Lucoff said. 

Lastly, the dreidel is a popular game that is played during Hanukkah. Dreidel is played by spinning the dreidel, and top-looking object, and losing or gaining game pieces based on the side it lands on. 

Although fun to play, it is symbolic of a rough past for the Jews.

“The game originated when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. The children would be taught the Torah, but it had to be kept secret, so when there were officials around they would play dreidel to not get caught,” Lucoff said. 


Sankranti is a Hindu celebration of women that is going to be celebrated on January 14, 2022. It is a holiday to show respect to the female gods and women of the world.

Sahasra Gollapudi during her family pictures on Sankranti. (Photo by Sahasra Gollapudi)

Celebrating Sankranti includes a two-hour ritual where food is set out for the gods. The priest or male of the household will lead.

The ritual is done on statues of the gods one at a time. Grass and flower petals are laid out to let the gods know that they are able to walk into the house. A word or phrase is then said in Sanskrit to ask the gods to enter.

The food set out for the gods is very sacred. You must prepare it a certain way, and then it must not be touched until the ritual is finished.

“You’re not allowed to touch the food or do anything with the food until it has been served to the gods,” Sophomore Sahasra Gollapudi said. 

Pulihora is a common food that is prepared for Sankranti. It is a rice dish that is mixed with spices and peanuts. 

“It’s something different between every family. They all have their own family recipe for pulihora,” Gollapudi said.

Sankranti is also a holiday where family and friends get together. Gifts are usually given to kids in the form of money. 

Eid al fitr and Eid al-adha

Eid is 2 Islamic holidays. Eid means “festival” or “feast” in Arabic. Muslims will celebrate Eid al fitr starting May 2, 2022, and Eid al-adha starting July 9, 2022. 

Eid al fitr marks the end of Ramadan, a holy month of fasting for Muslims. The celebration kicks off with the saying of a special prayer at daybreak of the first day.

During Eid al fitr, people celebrate by getting together with family and friends and giving gifts. Some also visit the graves of loved ones.

Rowaida Qulagi and her family celebrating together during the recent holiday. (Photo by Rowaida Qulagi)

This is not to be confused with Eid al-adha, another important Muslim holiday. Eid al-adha stands for “feast of sacrifice” because it celebrates Ibrahim (Abraham) sacrificing his son. 

“God tested Abraham by saying to sacrifice his son to prove his faith. When he was about to sacrifice his son, God replaced his son with a ram,” Senior Rowaida Qulagi said. 

Muslims celebrate Eid al-adha to remember Ibrahim’s obedience to God. Sometimes, families sacrifice a ritually accepted animal and share the meat with family and friends to symbolize Ibrahim’s loyalty. Gifts are also given during this holiday. 

Holidays are a significant part of cultures and religions around the world. They are a time for getting together with family, giving gifts, and celebrating. So, as the year comes to an end, “Happy Holidays” to everyone.