As you may have deduced from the decorations on campus and around the city, Christmas is just around the corner. Events related to this festive season have been running the past few weeks, such as the German market in the city centre, and other traditional events, like the Christmas meal I attended in University House yesterday.
While I was initially surprised by the time allocated to this event (2 hours) I quickly understood that it was more than just a meal, it was a country’s culture and traditions manifested through a friendly gathering.
The event started off with a choir, which sang typical Christmas songs like “Silent Night”. After listening to the performance, we moved to an intriguing yet fun tradition in Christmas meals – crackers. I initially thought this referred to biscuits that we were going to be offered, until my friend sitting beside me pointed to the shiny, giant-sweet-like object I had in front of me. After other international students on our table were made aware that their cracker was right in front of them, we proceeded to the next step – forming a circle as we held a side of the cracker and pulling them until they broke open. A few seconds later, the table was filled with the crackers’ content. From small notepads to keychains to fortune telling fish, there was definitely something for everyone; not to forget colourful hats which we all had to wear throughout the meal!
Next came the food. There were two main course options: chicken and rice, or vegetables and stir-fried rice. While the meat option lacked a crucial Christmas meal element, turkey, the vegetable option (which I opted for), did not fail to comply with tradition; of Brussel sprouts, potatoes, bread and butter all on the menu. Desserts were also very traditional, with crème brulée, brownies, Christmas puddings and mince pies all being available options.
Just when we thought it was all coming to an end, we were pleasantly surprised to hear one of the global community staff members announce that there was a quiz and prizes were to be won! After answering 20 questions related to celebrating Christmas in the UK, the winners were announced. To our dismay, our table did not win, nevertheless, we had gained great insight into British culture, and came out of the event more knowledgeable than we were coming in!
All in all, the event was a great way of transitioning into the winter break whilst experiencing UK culture!
If you’re spending this winter holiday in Leeds and would have liked to attend this event then don’t worry, Global Community is organising many more events over the next few weeks, including another Christmas meal at Rainbow Junktion Café on the 25th of December! Make sure you have a look at upcoming events on http://students.leeds.ac.uk/download/6109/final_christmas_in_leeds_2018_guide