Each homemade ornament is blue – the colour of Israel, cut in the shape of the Jewish star, and decorated with glitter glue. Printed on the center are excerpts from the New Testament.
They will be used to decorate Christmas trees at Chrismukkah, an event hosted by the Faith and Spirituality Center at the University of Calgary on December 24th. The event will feature stories and traditions from Christianity and Judaism, Christmas and Hanukkah. Activities include playing Dreidel games, lighting the Menorah, and decorating Gingerbread houses.
The idea for the event was sparked when Jessica Burke, a program coordinator at the F&S Center, realized the university would be closing on December 23, leaving many students isolated over the holidays.
“If you’re an international student from China, Iran, or Brazil, you’re in Calgary over the holidays, alone. The University dining hall is closed, and you have nowhere to go. There are students renting single rooms in Brentwood who might not go home for the break. We wanted to provide these people with a community to celebrate with,” says Jessica.
“We have these multi-faith calendars and we pulled one out to see what we could do. This year, the first day of Hanukkah lands on Christmas Eve, so a Chrismukkah event was perfect.”
An estimated 220 guests will be in attendance, many of them children, families, and international students. Jessica hopes that Chrismukkah will provide an opportunity for those who feel lonely over the holidays to connect.
“If one person leaves having learned something about another religion and having made a friend, I’d consider the night a huge success.” The stories of Hanukkah and Christmas will be read, stories Jessica notes, “Are about bringing people in.”
There will also be a Student Wellness booth with resources for students who are experiencing stress or loneliness. Food donations and leftovers from the event will be provided for guests to take home.