Holidays Abroad

November 28, 2013 - 8:13am -- jlsloan
The students wanted to share some stories and observations on the holidays they have experienced here in England and while traveling in Europe.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be on top of a mountain in Switzerland on Halloween.  Standing on top of Monte San Salvatore it feels like the top of the world.  Surrounded by mountains on all sides and Lake Lugano below was such a majestic feeling.  Switzerland was not on my original list of places to see, but since Lugano was so close to Milan, we decided to explore. 

It just so happened we were in Switzerland on Halloween night.  Thankfully we knew someone there and could still celebrate.  Unfortunately communication in a foreign country can be a bit difficult and Halloween turned into a wild goose chase searching the streets of Lugano for a Halloween party.  To make it even more memorable, people in Switzerland don't celebrate Halloween like we do in the States.  Consequently we had a lot of people staring at us in our peacock masks.

The craziest thing happened when I dared my British friend Russell to wear a red glittery dress for Halloween.  He bought it from a lingerie store, bought a wig, and put on make-up.  Usually Russell is the epitomy of manly, but Halloween night he looked hilariously pretty! - Ashley Fikes

Before coming to England, I had heard numerous stereotypes regarding how individuals that reside in England celebrate holidays much differently than how Americans do.  After spending Halloween with my housemates, it turned out that they just have minor cultural differences.  I was in complete shock when the majority of my housemates told me that they have never been trick-or-treating before; that is like the best part of celebrating Halloween, right?  Although I couldn't take my friends trick-or-treating, I did however go to Asda (similar to Wal-Mart) and stock up on loads of their favorite sweets.  Later on, it was brought to my attention that a few of my friends have never carved pumpkins!  Let's just say the remainder of the day was dedicated to some Halloween festivities!  When Halloween actually arrived, my house threw a "fancy dress party" or what we call a costume party.  It was probably one of the most exciting nights I've had with my housemates and friends while being in England. - Ashley Thayer

One holiday that we do not have in the States that they have in England is Guy Fawkes Day on the 5th of November.  If the movie V for Vendetta just popped into your mind then you know that Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament and was captured before he was able to do so.  However that is where the movie and the celebration similarities end because (spoiler alert) people do not wear masks to storm Parliament and watch as it blows up as they do in the movie.  There are fireworks though!  They are everywhere on the day and on the weekend as well.  You can see them all over Canterbury and it is so cool!  The 5th of November is also known as Bonfire Night because they have huge bonfires to celebrate.  I did not get to see any but I did get some sparklers with my friends and watched V for Vendetta to celebrate the holiday. - Heather Ballantyne