To our students, families and community: have a safe and happy break. One of our grade 7 students summed it up so well during our assembly today, we had to share it. See you on January 8th!
“Hey St Andrew’s, the holidays will start in a couple of moments, can’t wait for hours of video games, or week long ski trips. But how on earth do other people celebrate their holidays?
Let’s start from the New Year, a time for a new beginning. It does not have to be Jan 1st, but it typically marks the transition from the bad times to the good times. People from Babylon 4000 years ago celebrated the New Year at the first new moon in the early spring. The same pattern applies to Nowruz, a.k.a. Iranian New Year, or Spring Festival as the Chinese New Year. One common thing is, from the new year, nature is getting friendlier, and there is no better time to make a New Year resolution. It is the time of the year filled with lots of hope.
People always put their imagination into the holidays – a time full of magic, fairy-tales, joy and beauty. You may not see that the Polar Express had stopped by your doorstep on Christmas Eve, but surely you should check out the lovely window decorations of the Hudson’s Bay in downtown Toronto. Or the sweet voices of a children’s choir in Trinity Square. You don’t have to go far to see the dragon’s dancing to the beat of a drum. It could be the joy of eating delicious latkes fried in oil. Perhaps a time to celebrate light, peace and hope. Whether it’s lighting lamps in celebration of Diwali, hanging up red lanterns, lighting candles on a menorah or decorating a square with lit up crescents and stars for Ramadan.
Holidays are meant for families and friends. Some of the world’s largest seasonal migrations happen over the holidays, when people go home to spend time with families. People love to play dreidel or exchange red envelopes. It can be sitting down to a turkey dinner, plates of steamed dumplings or a feast after a full day of fasting. The hospitality often extends beyond the family, to strangers. Every holiday, being Christmas, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Diwali or Chinese New Year, people love to do good deeds, and give to the needy.
Different holidays can mean different things. But they all have a common spirit, the “Holiday Spirit.” A start to a new year full of hope- that’s the holiday spirit. Feeling the magic, joy and excitement of the holidays- that’s the holiday spirit. Spending time with loved ones, and helping people around us- that’s the holiday spirit.
And this holiday season, let us all live our holiday spirit. Thank you.”