A Holiday Season Away From Home
Foreign exchange students experience the holiday season through many religious traditions and
cultural practices; however, these traditions share very common similarities to most American festivities.
Foreign exchange student Manuel Cadarso came to Petaluma High School from Spain, located in Southwestern Europe, to experience the holiday season in America. However, according to Cadarso, the Christmas season in America is celebrated very similarly to how it is in Spain. Cadarso celebrates a typical Christmas by gathering his whole family together and opening presents around their fake tree. He also enjoys spending time visiting with family at home and enjoying their Christmas meal of lamb. Cadarso mentioned that every family in Spain has their individual special traditional meals instead of everyone eating a common food, unlike American holidays such as Thanksgiving, regularly celebrated nationwide with a feast of turkey.
One main difference between Spain and California during the winter is the weather that occurs on Christmas day. This year, Cadarso is not looking forward to a un-white Christmas, because it would snow on Christmas morning in Spain. He also explained another difference was the decorations and overall celebration of the holiday season. “In America, they take Christmas way more seriously than in Spain,” Cadarso said. He is disappointed to not be with his birth family during the festive 2019 holiday season, but he is thrilled to be celebrating a different kind of Christmas in California.