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Student Spotlight: Emeshe Amade

By Benjamin Tarasewicz in Student News

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Senior Emeshe Amade. Photo by Benjamin Tarasewicz

I interviewed senior Emeshe Amade (Eme for short) and discovered her dad and his family are Hungarian. I asked her how Christmas and birthdays are celebrated in Hungary.

“We celebrate Christmas a little differently than here in America, because we don't really have anything that goes on Christmas morning,” Amade said. “Everything is done Christmas Eve. The presents, at least for children, are supposed to be gifts from ‘Baby Jesus,’ whereas ‘Santa Claus’ or ‘Saint Nicholas’ is a completely different holiday that happens during the first week in December.”

Amade describes how traditionally Hungarian kids, “polish their shoes and put them out on the windowsill. Then, Saint Nick will either put presents in your shoes if you've been good, or a switch to get beaten with if you’ve been bad. On Christmas, there's a Christmas tree which you cut down the day of Christmas Eve, so you don't put it up on Thanksgiving like we do here. Presents you do at night.”

Another traditional aspect of Christmas in Hungary is food.

“There’s usually lots of cooking involved; one of the traditional Hungarian holiday meals is fish head soup,” said Amade.

Amade didn't only talk about Christmas though. She also talked about how birthdays are celebrated in Hungary.

“In Hungary, they don’t celebrate birthdays as much. Birthdays are more of a family holiday. You celebrate your ‘name day,’ so every day of the year has a few different names assigned to it. For instance, my name day (Emeshe Day) is in June. They will play songs for the Emeshes, or whoever’s name day it is on the radio, and people will throw you a party at work or wherever,” said Amade. “So that’s pretty neat.”

I always find world traditions so fascinating, and they are an important part of people’s education. When people find out about traditions and how differently they’re celebrated in various parts of the world, it helps them to appreciate people of different cultures.

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