A taste of holiday celebrations from around the world

Holidays Around the World


D'Naughtia Curry (right) socializes during the Holidays Around the World event Wednesday, Nov. 29 in the Bovee University Center. Curry is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Chair at CMU. (Ella Miller | CM Life)

Imagine foods from a dozen different countries in one place. The smell of homemade conchas from Mexico, followed by spring rolls from China and the sweet beautiful set up of gingerbread that is so strong the taste fills the area.

On Nov. 29, Holidays Around the World took place in the Bovee Universtiy Center Rotunda. Estimated attendance was 850-900 people! 

One of the three people in charge of the event and Professor of History and Director of the Museum Jay Martin said that Holidays Around the World first appeared in the Central Michigan University Museum of Cultural and Natural History. 

Throughout the night, there was constant chatter of the aroma from the food and the music. 

Along with the food there were many presentations that were shown, dances taught, and trivia games played throughout the night so other students could test their knowledge on these countries.

The attendees were elbow to elbow from the start of the event to the end. The line was constantly overflowing through the door and people were showing they were eager to try the food and listen to the music that was playing.

Senior Gabby Collick was ecstatic when she said she had a mouthful of flavor from foods she had never heard of. She tried some German sweets, plantains, rice and other sweet treats. 

“It was nothing like I expected, that’s for sure," Collick said. "But everything was good, it’s definitely different from what I’ve tried before. Which I found really interesting, it was so lively there and it kept the vibe up."

Many volunteers were happy to be a part of the event. Peyton Thibodeau was one of them. 

“It is just a beautiful celebration of people around the world, and I think that this is really important in such a time that we should be welcoming each other, and this is just a cool way that Central has been able to put this together,” Thibodeau said.

Alejandra Rengifo was the head organizer of Holidays Around the World. 

“I just love working with my students, and the students have been really amazing," Rengifo said. "We have been able to get a crowd from every single college. For example the College of Medicine was one of the ones that put on the entertainment."

She brought in a bunch of food in and ran the activities such as trivia and dances.

 “I love seeing them enjoy the food, enjoy the dances, enjoy everything because this is about them learning about cultures (and) how holidays are celebrated at the end of the year in different countries and cultures,” Rengifo said.

Daniela Maria Richter ran one of the tables with foods from Germany.

“It’s a way to show and see music that international students like to perform, it's a way to honor their Christmas traditions," Richter said. "It gives them an opportunity to share foods from their home cultures and traditions around the holidays.

"We hope it grows and gets even more student input in the future so that it facilitates that kind of conversation but communication across cultures."

The Holidays Around the World was such a big hit last year that organizers had to change venues in order to fit all the people in -- relocating to the U.C. this year.

“One of the greatest things about it is our sponsors," Martin said. "We had people from all walks of life, all parts of the university who came together to sponsor this one event because we really wanted to focus on bringing different people to different cultures together."

"We now have a large representation of Asian and African students, they are the backbone of our international community. As for the other continents (America and Europe), our Latino population is also growing on campus, (Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Argentina)," Rengifo said.