top of page

Winter Festivities Around The World

The CIROS Regional Committee has been leading the way in promoting different cultures of the IRO community. The committee’s events, whether they cover food, crafts, politics, etc., provide the ultimate opportunity for cultural exchange. Who better to ask about winter holidays around the globe? See how the members enjoy the winter holidays where they’re from.

Italy, Christmas

Nina: Vice Committee Head

There are many Christmas foods from all over Italy, and every family has their own traditions. My grandfather was born in Salerno, in the Campania region, so my family makes zeppole, a typical Christmas dessert in the region. It consists of a pretzel-shaped fried dough, which is then covered in either sugar and cinnamon or honey. Delicious! Another part of my family comes from a different region called Marche, so we also make cappelletti, small pasta dumplings in broth.

Cloé: PR Commissioner

In my Italian household, making polpettone is a cherished tradition that brings the family together. This oversized meatball is a comforting dish prepared with ground beef or a mix of meats, breadcrumbs, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and aromatic herbs. We all gather in the kitchen, where family members take on different tasks. Once the polpettone is perfectly molded, it's baked until golden, filling the kitchen with an enticing fragrance that signals Christmas lunch approaching. This flavorful tradition not only honors our culinary roots but also creates lasting memories.

Aruba, Christmas & New Years

Evanee: Latin American and Caribbean Club Head

Back home in Aruba, the Christmas celebrations start very early on. It’s a tradition to go around the island with friends and family and look at all the lights. On Christmas Eve, we have Noche Buena and eat traditional Christmas food from the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao) such as Ayaca. The Christmas celebrations last for three days up until December 26th. Afterwards, we start preparing for the new year. On New Year’s Eve, it’s common to check out the “Pagara’s” (firecracker string) at multiple businesses around the island. The pagara is traditionally put on a few minutes before midnight to get rid of the bad spirits of the old year. After the clock strikes 12:00, a serenade band would go from house to house in the neighborhood to sing the “Dande” - a song sung to bless families a happy new year. This is a true local tradition since there is no other island in the Caribbean with a Dande tradition.

Family traditions, Christmas 

Filip (Dutch): Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Club Head (MEDMEC)

For me and my family, Christmas is all about coziness and food. Like many cultures, we try to brighten up the dark winter days with a spirit of joy and love. It gives positivity and gratitude for the small things in life.

Hanna (German): Secretary 

My favorite Christmas tradition is not only celebrating it with our family but also with our close family friends. Especially now that most of the kids are away at university, it is nice to see each other at this time every year. 

Japan, New Year's

Emma: Committee Head

In Japan, New Year’s is traditionally a bigger holiday than Christmas. The beginning of the year signifies a new start and a clean slate, which makes cleaning the house essential. Then, decorations, including pine and bamboo, can be put up outside the door. The first meal of the new year is supposed to be toshikoshi-soba, which means year-crossing soba (noodles). People will also go for the first temple visit of the year (hatsumoude), sometimes in traditional kimono. New Year’s cards (nengajou) are sent to friends and family, containing gratitude and wishes for the coming year. Young children also receive gifts, which are usually money (otoshidama). The New Year’s food (osechi-ryori) is eaten throughout the first three days of the year.

India, Winter Celebrations

Hansika: Southeast and South Asia Club Head

Jalebi is a sweet delicacy that holds a special place in the hearts of many and is undoubtedly one of my all-time favorite holiday foods. They are spiral-shaped sweets made from flour, yogurt, and a pinch of turmeric, which is then deep-fried and dipped into a sugar syrup. This sweet evokes fond memories of my childhood when I would eat them warm from the vendor's cart in the cold winters at my grandparents' place. It is also a traditional dish, commonly seen in many festivities such as weddings or festivals throughout the year, but is especially popular during the winter season. 


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page