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Mayuly Mendoza, Venezuela, ESOL Integrated Skills III

Christmas in Venezuela is very cheerful.  There are many traditions. The typical food is the Hallaca which is made of cornmeal, stewed meat, olives, raisins, and wrapped in banana leaves. It’s cooked in hot water.  Venezuelan people eat ham bread, chicken salad, pork shoulder, turkey, and desserts like sweet papaya, and black cake. In every home in Venezuela, all people listen to Christmas songs called Gaitas which is a tradition in Venezuela, among family.

Telma Andrade, Brazil, ESOL Wrinting II

My favorite festival in my country is the Carnival. Originally, the term "Carnival" means "farewell to meat" (carnis levale in Latin), and it represents the beginning of Lent. Today, this holiday lasts three days, and the dates vary each year because it always has to occur 47 days before Easter. During the Carnival, people dress up in different fun costumes and celebrate this festival by going to dances and special shows. In the streets of almost every city in Brazil, there is a lot of music and people celebrating the Carnival.

Sandra Cuevas, Mexico, ESOL Writing II

My favorite holiday in my country is New Year’s Day. In my hometown, we have a wonderful celebration. On New Year’s Eve, everybody goes to church to give thanks to God for the coming year. The church is open all day until midnight. At 12:00 a.m., the New Year is received with fireworks and live music. After that, some people go home and stay there. Later at 4:00 a.m., many people, mostly men, meet at a kiosk. Then somebody brings a donkey, and they put two big containers with tequila on both sides of the donkey.

Adelin Javier, Puerto Rico, ESOL Writing II

Puerto Rico is the only nation in the world where Christmas continues into the middle of January. Christmas in Puerto Rico begins on the last Thursday of November and lasts until late January. The Day of the Three Wise Men is celebrated on January 6th. On this day, children put grass for the three wise men’s camels under the bed and receive gifts. On the following day, January 7th, the so-called Octavitas begin, during which female characters, such as the three Marias, are honored.

Farah ALsarray, Iraq, ESOL Writing II

My favorite holiday in my country is the spring holiday. Iraqis celebrate it on March 21st every year. I like this festival because we celebrate it with each other, eat desserts, and exchange visits. The weather on this day is nice.

Danny Barbosa, Mexico, ESOL Writing II

The Semana Santa, Holy Week, is the most loved public holiday in Mexico. This festival celebrates the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Each year on Good Friday, there is a performance by more than 100 actors in Cerro de la Estella, which represents the Passion of Christ and is shown on live TV. This festival lasts two weeks, and many people use this opportunity to go out of town to forget about their hard work for a while. However, some people stay at home to celebrate this season with their families.

Mwadjuma Nyirasafari, Rwanda, ESOL Writing II

My favorite holiday in my country is Eid. Eid is a Muslim festival, in particular Eid al-Fitr or Eid al-Adha. First, Eids are the only days when Muslims come together for prayers and celebration. All Muslims in my country have to go to the same place where the prayers are led by a Muslim leader. Second, Muslims share the meal with family and friends. Muslims who don't have means to celebrate Eid are invited in the families or get helped by those who have means so they can enjoy this holiday with their loved ones.

Floridia Fonseca, Colombia, ESOL Writing II

New Year’s Eve is the most important holiday and interesting celebration in my country. This day is special for everybody because we do different traditional things. The most important is sharing this celebration with the family and friends. We also go to church and pray to give thanks for the old year and the coming year. We have a big party and listen to special music for the old year. We cook traditional food such as tamales, baked turkey, natilla, buñuelos, empanadas, lechona, sancocho, sabajon, and masato de maiz. We are happy and dance all night. However, we also have some funny customs.

Hisayo Tinsley, Japan, ESOL Writing II

My favorite holiday in my country is Japanese New Year. Japanese New Year has fascinating traditions, delicious food, and exciting festivities. Children’s favorite custom is Otoshidama. It is when kids receive money in decorated envelopes from their families. When I was a child, I couldn’t wait for the New Year. Every New Year, Japanese people eat mochi because it symbolizes health and longevity.

Gabriel Palacios, Venezuela, ESOL Writing II

My favorite festival in my country is the Carnival. It is beautiful, and all the Venezuelan people are happy during this time. It is one of most popular parties in Venezuela. Children play with water bombs, young people and adults enjoy the traditional music, and everybody dances.