Students say international holidays should be celebrated more at EIU

Chandler Smith, Reporter

The difference between cultures, let alone holidays, is significant for international students at Eastern, specifically biological science major, Nora Okolie.

That makes cultural holidays quite different from one country to another, from different independence days to even different holidays.

“Well, we have our Independence Day on October 1, then we do celebrate like some Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, and we also have May first as Workers Day, then we also have some Islamic holidays that we also celebrate in Nigeria,” Okolie said.

The Nigerian Independence Day is quite different and added it is less fireworks and more gathering at the table Okolie said.

Holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving gave Okolie a unique experience as a student on campus.

“One major thing I would say is it’s like, for example, Thanksgiving,” Okolie said. “We don’t have that in Nigeria. We do not have Halloween in Nigeria,” Okolie said.

The differences between the holidays in the U.S. and Nigeria are quite different with that Okolie explains how the celebrations in both countries are different.

“So last year was my first time actually being involved and participating in that and it was definitely nice,” Okolie said. “It was definitely interesting to see the different ways in which you don’t celebrate it like you’d come together, eat a meal together, and with Halloween, you have costumes and everything and so, there’s definitely a major difference because with Nigeria, I think, at least for the Independence Day, I think one major difference I saw was that you don’t have like as many fireworks.”

Nigeria has a different atmosphere when it comes to their Independence Day.

“Back home it’s mostly just like, you can come together as a family, and you celebrate, and you eat a ton of food, and I remember when I was in elementary school, they will make us all dress up in different cultural attire, for our Independence Day,” Okolie said.

Okolie explains the attire that Nigerians wear involving Independence Day is unique and different compared to how the U.S. celebrates Independence Day.

“So, in Nigeria, there are three major tribes, there’s Yoruba and there’s Hausa and there’s also other tribes, many different tribes in Nigeria and so basically, they would ask us to wear the attire of your tribe,” Okolie said. “For example, I am Edo. So, you must wear headgear. You wear the blouse, and you tie the wrap and things and so that is what you wear to school,” Okolie said.

Okolie said that there should be more participation of cultural holidays, especially at Eastern.

“Each country definitely has their own holidays that stands out to them and that’s what makes all of us unique and you know, there has to be some differences so that is okay,” Okolie said. “I’d say I mean, like this and just like being able to talk about things like that it definitely helps to spread the awareness that you know, there’s different forms of holidays and different cultures on campus. This is a step forward in like making things, making people or students on campus aware of what is going on.”

Chandler Smith can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].