The Lasso |
How TWU students celebrate
Belgian holidays and culture
with Chancellor Feyten
Fall holidays that are celebrated
Staff Picks: Lasso staff shares
their favorite fall food
Halloween traditions around the
Delicious dishes of international
Traditional holiday apparel
across the globe
Advisor | Joseph Alderman
Editor-in-Chief | Laura Pearson
Managing Editor | Gakenia Njenga
Page Editor | Britney McVey
Engagement Editor | Deanna West
Graphic Designer | Stephanie Vo
Photographer | Sarah Pham
Staff Writers | Maddie Ray
TWU goes international
How TWU students celebrate
international holidays by Maddie Ray
Texas Woman’s University is known to be one of the most diverse colleges in the nation, ranking fifth in ethnic
diversity. Many students come from various cultural backgrounds and acknowledge many different holidays that
originate from outside the United States.
Onam is a holiday celebrated in Kerala, India in either August or Sepetember. According to the Hinduistic story, the
gods became insecure of King Mahabali’s popularity and required
that Lord Vishnu control his power. Lord Vishnu took on the avatar
form of a dwarf and then asked if he could have three feet of land.
Lord Vishnu then grew in size to where one foot was on the Earth,
the second on the moon, and then asked where his third foot could go,
to which the King offered his own head. Subsequently, Lord Vishnu
granted Mahabali the right to visit his people every year and Onam is
the celebration of King Mahabali’s return.
“Usually, the whole community gets together and we have this huge
celebration together but we haven’t done it recently because of
COVID-19,” first year student Parvathy Santhosh said.
A traditional pookalam for Onam. Photo Courtesy of Shuttershock
During the festivities, the community gets together and participates
in dance performances, cook feasts called sadya, and draw flower rangolis called pookkalam. The feast is a nine-course
meal consisting of 26 dishes, although the dishes can vary depending on the part of Kerala. The feast ends with a
dessert called pal payasam which is similar to a rice pudding that’s eaten on a banana leaf, Santhosh said.
In European traditions, Samhain is celebrated similarly to All Saints’ Day and even is part of the inspiration toward
Halloween. Historically celebrated among Irish and Scottish Pagans, Samhain had a resurgence of celebration in the
1980s through Wiccans but is still celebrated by many across the world trying to connect with their Celtic roots.
“[Samhain] is a day where the belief is that the veil between the living world and the world of the dead is thinner,”
senior Carly Buchanan said. “It’s also a time to reflect on what the year has brought you and put forth wishes for what
you want to bring for the next year.”
Samhain can be celebrated in many ways and varies a bit from the ancient traditions. One tradition of Samhain is to eat
dinner in silence and think about how you want to grow and how the year has been, Buchanan said. Another common
tradition is to use fruits and vegetables commonly seen in autumn.
In parts of Asia like China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam and more, children and adults gather for the Mooncake Festival.
Celebrated on the 15th day of the eigth lunar month, it always falls in the middle of the autumn season in China. In
Chinese culture, the full moon represents reunion so families reunite and celebrate the festival together.
“[The Mooncake Festival] brings the family together,” first year student Kayla Ngo said. “It’s a celebration for the kids
to have fun and for them to understand their traditions and the fun mythological sides of their cultures.”
In this festival, children walk around with lanterns and eat mooncakes. The namesake of this festival, the mooncake, is
a cake that is baked in a small circular shape and then stamped or molded to have the name of the filling on top. Some
possible fillings include mung beans, lotus seed, egg yolks and more.
The Lasso |
Life In Belgium
Students and staff at Texas
Woman’s University come
from all different types of
Chancellor Carine M. Feyten.
Feyten is originally from
Belgium and lived there for 25
years before she moved across
the world to the United States.
Feyten is from a small
medieval town located
between Brussels and
Antwerp. It is in the northern
part of the country where they
“[French] is the other big national language in Belgium, so
we spoke French at home,” Feyten said. “I went to elementary
school in Flemish and my friends were Flemish speaking, and
after that I went to an all girls boarding school in French. I feel
like my whole life I was always going between the two, so I was
completely educated in both.”
Feyten points out that in her hometown, people typically walk or
ride bikes to and from their destinations.
“It’s like a sea of bikes,” Feyten said. “It’s pretty cool, and the
cyclists are the kings and queens of the road. If you’re in your
car, the bikes always have priority. If you hit a bike, the car is
always at fault, so everybody is very careful how they drive, and
The holidays in Belgium slightly differ from how they are
celebrated in the United States. They celebrate Saint Nicholas Day
on Dec. 6, which stems from the Catholic religion where all of
the children receive their gifts rather than on Dec. 25. They also
celebrate All Souls’ Day on Nov. 1, where people honor and pay
respect to their ancestors by going to different cemeteries.
“That was one thing we always did with my family,” Feyten said.
“We would go on the lap in warm coats because it was cold and go
to the different cemeteries and talk about the different ancestors. It
sort of keeps you close to your own family, even your family tree
with the people who have died.”
Along with Saint Nicholas Day and All Souls’ Day, they
celebrate the workman’s day on May 1. They call it Mayday, and
they give the people they love a branch of lily of the valley to bring
them good luck for the rest of the year.
Belgian holidays and culture with Chancellor
by Laura Pearson
When Feyten moved to the United States, she noticed the customs
and habits were different than the ones in Belgium, including what
people valued and how people behaved, Feyten said.
“It’s a lesson in learning to appreciate a place, observe, and
learn what people do,” Feyten said. “It’s always that idea, but
not focused on what’s different and what you don’t have but
rather focus on how it’s
interesting. You can learn
from it, as opposed to being
Feyten moved to the United
States because she ended
up meeting a man that lives
“I fell in love with someone,
and he lives in the United
States,” Feyten said. “I had
finished my studies and so I
thought ‘Well I’ll go pursue
a degree,’ so I came to the
United States. I enrolled to
get a doctoral degree at a university, and then that relationship
Once the relationship ended, Feyten had to decide whether to stay
in the United States or move back to Belgium.
“I decided that I was going to finish my degree, and I thought
then I’ll go back,” Feyten said. “Then they offered me a job, and I
thought ‘Well maybe I’ll do this for a couple of years, and then I’ll
go back.’ Here I am 30 years later. I guess the lesson is that you
just never know what’s coming your way.
“You need to stay open to possibilities and stay fluid, and you
don’t always know what’s around the corner.”
“That’s a very traditional thing,” Feyten said. “Even though all
these years that I’ve lived in the United States, every year on
Mayday my mom would send me a picture of the lily of the valley.
My friends in France do the same. In France they have a similar
Photos courtesy of Carine M. Feyten
Fall holidays that are celebrated internationally by Deanna West
With fall right around the corner, here’s a
list of fall holidays from around the world.
Trick or treat! Halloween started off as a Celtic festival
2,000 years ago in what is now Ireland and northern
France to celebrate their new year. They celebrated
with bonfires, parades and dressed up in costumes.
By the middle of the 19th century, Halloween spread
to America when Irish immigrants migrated over.
Americans turned Halloween into a holiday filled with
ghosts, witchcraft and costumes. The American tradition
of trick-or-treating dates back to All Souls Day parades
in England. Families would give poor citizens “soul
cakes,” and in return they asked for prayers for the
family’s dead relatives.
Also known as Korean Thanksgiving Day, Chuseok is
a holiday that lasts three days. Koreans celebrate by
making special foods such as songpyeon (half-moon
rice cakes), return home to see family members and
give gifts to show their appreciation and thanks. This
holiday begins on the 14th day of the eighth lunar
month, and this year Chuseok starts on Sept. 21. Made
to honor family ancestors, Chuseok is a special time for
bring people together.
In Ghana the tradition Homowo, or Festival of the
Yams, started after a period of hunger from lack of
seasonal rains and poor crop seasons. After the rain
returned to normal, they celebrated by creating the
holiday. Noise making is banned because it is
believed that noise would disturb the gods, but after this
period, celebrations include marching, chanting,
dancing, singing, face painting and beating drums.
Homowo is celebrated in August or September.
Graphic by Stephanie Vo
rivers, ponds or even swimming pools. Thai people use
these traditions to bring light and hope into their lives.
Since this holiday falls on a full moon, each year the
date changes. This year, Loi Krathong is Nov. 19.
India has their own celebration of lights called Diwali.
Their festival lasts five days and happens sometime
between October and November, with the dates
changing each year. They celebrate the triumph of
good over evil and light over darkness. Many people
light lamps on the streets and in houses, visit relatives
and make food. Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of
wealth and is worshiped for blessing the new year.
This one is a little bit different. In Germany, Oktoberfest
is a holiday to drink beer. This tradition started in 1810
as a royal wedding celebration for a Bavarian prince
and his princess but has since spread internationally.
Taking place at the end of September to the first
Sunday in October, six to seven million people gather
in Munich, Germany each year. Celebrations include
parades, music, games and a lot of pretzels and beer.
Thailand celebrates Loi Krathong during November’s
full moon each year. This holiday is made to rejoice and
honor the goddess of water. They release sky lanterns
and candles on small boats called krathongs on lakes,
The Lasso |
What food The Lasso staff enjoys during
the fall season
“I would say my favorite fall food is mashed potatoes. I love
mashed potatoes at any time of the year, but they remind me of
fall because I always have them at Thanksgiving. I love
potatoes in all forms, but mashed potatoes will always be first in
Laura Pearson, Editor-In-Chief
“I love bread during any season of the year, but when fall comes
around and pumpkin bread starts showing up at every corner, I
find myself in bread nirvana. It’s delectable and scrumptious and
definitely my favorite bread.”
Gakenia Njenga, Managing Editor
“My favorite fall food is warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream!
It reminds me of Thanksgiving and to take time to give thanks to
everyone in my life.”
Deanna West, Engagement Editor
“My favorite fall food is cinnamon rolls. I enjoy them most when
they have had a little bit of time to cool after being taken out of the
oven. They’re at just the right temperature that can warm you up
without burning your tongue. The sugar icing on top is a must for
the fall season.
Sarah Pham, Photographer
“My favorite fall food is pumpkin pie! I enjoy getting
together with my family for Thanksgiving and eating all the
Maddie Ray, Reporter
“My favorite fall food is my mom’s homemade pumpkin spice
balls. We use a spice cake mix, cool whip and pumpkin filling
to make them. They taste just like pumpkin pie, but in bite-size
Britney McVey, Page Editor
“My favorite fall food is actually a fruit; persimmon! They are
typically in season around October and November. Many people
like to make persimmon bread or salad but I like to eat as is, like
Stephanie Vo, Graphic Designer
Find full listings of Counseling and Psychological
Services group offerings for Fall 2021 at
For more information or to schedule a group
intake, please contact our main office at
940.898.3801 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lasso |
Paup Lecture Series
Tammie Jo Shults
Former fighter pilot, aviation hero & author
Free virtual event
open to the public
Register at twu.edu/pauplecture
around the world
by Gakenia Njenga
Halloween first originated in Ireland, where the starting tradition
was to light bonfires, dress up and go trick-or-treating and often
attend parties afterward, much like it is celebrated in the United
States and Canada today. Since then, it has assimilated and
evolved into many different interpretations of celebration in many
countries. It has also aligned with different cultures’ and religions’
own holidays centered around honoring the spirits of those who
have passed on. Here is how the traditionally spooky day is
remixed around the world.
In Austria, some will prepare their dining tables with bread, water
and a lighted lamp before leaving the house for the night. It was
once believed that doing so would welcome souls that have passed
on back to Earth, as some Austrians believed the night of
Halloween to be magical.
Only recently have people in South Africa begun celebrating
Halloween, which operates similarly as the holiday does in the
west. However, trick-or-treating is not very common due to the
country’s high crime rate and risk of danger. Instead, Halloween
events and parties are often organized for children and teenagers.
Halloween is essentially a western holiday, though China does
have celebrations comparable to the spiritual aspect of Halloween.
Chinese traditions observe the Tieng Chieh festival, the Feast of
the Hungry Ghosts and the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts. All three
celebrations focus on celebrating the spirits of family members
who have passed on.
During Tieng Chieh, families place food and water in front of
passed relatives’ photographs as well as light bonfires and lanterns
to light the way for the spirits.
The Feast of the Hungry Ghosts is a holy day and occurs during
the seventh lunar month. It acknowledges the ghosts of those who
were not given funerals or proper burials at the time of when they
passed. They are referred to as “hungry” and are in search of
affection and recognition since they did not receive such when
they passed and throughout the following years.
Halloween in Kenya is very much like how Halloween is in the
states—children dress up in costumes and even often have costume
contests with categories like best-dressed couples and individuals.
The holiday is only now working its way into more professional
settings like the workplace where staff are also asked to dress up
and to bring a sense of fun to the office.
During Halloween, those in France opt to dress up in costumes
depicting scary beings such as ghosts, goblins, mummies and
vampires, leaving behind the more cute costumes such as royal
figures, superheroes and cartoon characters. Trick-or-treating is
not very popular in France. However, when it does happen, it is
typically from store-to-store instead of house-to-house.
Like China, those in Japan also celebrate spiritual holidays
comparable to the spiritual aspect of Halloween like the Obon
Festival. The festival, also known as Matsuri or Urabon, is a time
for celebrating the spirits of ancestors. During the festival, lanterns
are lit and then set afloat on rivers and seas, while a fire is lit each
night of the three-day celebration to lead the spirits of ancestors to
where their families are waiting for them.
In recent years, Halloween celebrations have increased a lot in
Latin America, many of which are similar to those in the United
States. Though many know the American name “Halloween,”
the holiday is most commonly referred to as Noche de Brujas.
Children will dress up in costumes and go door-to-door asking for
candy, while teenagers and young adults will often go to a disco
or bar with friends while dressed up. Different Latin American
countries also have their own celebrations for this time of year.
In Mexico, people celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, where gifts are
placed at the graves of those who passed on in order to honor
them as they make their visit to Earth for this one day.
In Peru, on the same day as Halloween, Peruvians celebrate Dia
de la Cancion Criolla, which is a day to appreciate criollo, or
creole, culture in Peru.
Festival of the Hungry Ghosts is a traditional Chinese festival and
holiday that focuses on paying respects to those who have passed
on in an attempt to make angry spirits feel welcomed and to
subdue any feelings of unacceptance or hostility they may have.
Hong Kong celebrates the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts as well.
Throughout Great Britain, children typically celebrate Halloween
by telling ghost stories, playing games like bobbing for apples, and
carving out vegetables such as swedes and turnips like
Graphic by Stephanie Vo
The Lasso |
Delicious dishes of international autumn
The only thing better than spending time with friends and
family during the holidays is eating the festive food. Many
holidays from each country and culture have their own
special recipes that millions around the world savor during
the cozy fall season. Here are some dishes enjoyed during
different holidays around the world.
by Maddie Ray
foods, specifically songpyeon. Songpyeon is half-moonshaped
cakes made from finely ground rice. The cakes are
then kneaded and are filled with red beans, dates, honey,
sesame seeds, honey and more. Finally, they are steamed
on top of layers of pine needles to give a distinct fragrance
Gulab Jamun - Diwali - India
Gulab Jamun is a traditional dish
eaten during Diwali and other
celebrations. One theory on its
creation dates back to Shah Jahan’s
royal chef, who took the dish from
Turkish or Persian traditions. The
Photo by Pranah Singh
dish goes by many names such as
‘gulaabuujaanu’ in the Maldives or
‘Gulab Jam’ in Bangladesh, and ‘rasgulla’ in Mauritius,
South Africa and varying other Caribbean countries. This
dish is created by boiling milk for hours and then mixing
it with dough, frying and then soaking the dough balls in
sugar syrup. The word ‘Gulab’ is derived from the Persian
words ‘gol’ meaning flower and ‘ab’ meaning water, most
likely relating to the rose-water scented sugar syrup.
‘Jamun’ is the Hindi word for an Indian fruit known as
Challah - Rosh Hashanah - Israel
Rosh Hashanah celebrates the Jewish new year and takes
place over two days, leading into the Aseret Yemei
Teshuvah or the Ten Days of Repentance,
and finally ends with a fasting day known
as Yom Kippur. Challah is a type of
bread commonly baked and eaten on the
day of the sabbath in Judaism, known
as the Shabbat. During Rosh Hashanah,
Photo by Beth Lee
the challah can be made into multiple
different shapes and designs like birds or
keys, but a circle is the most common form. Round challah
symbolizes the eternal cycle of life. Challah is made by
mixing hot and cold water, adding yeast and sugar, and
then adding in dry ingredients once the yeast has made the
dough bubble up. The challah rises and then can be made
into any desired shape and is finally baked.
Photo by Im Yoon-Ah
Songpyeon - Chuseok - Korea
Chuseok, also known as Hangawim,
is when a full harvest moon appears
in the sky and families give thanks
to their ancestors for their harvest.
Chuseok is noted for many special
Chicharrón de Cerdo - Feast of the Virgen de Urkupiña
The Virgin of Urkupiña is a festival celebrated every third
week of August in Bolivia. One legend that may be the root
of the festival is that there was once a poor shepherd girl
that the Virgin Mary spoke to. She told the girl to collect
stones and carry them home, but by the time she got home,
the stones had turned into
silver. With the new silver,
the poor girl and her family
were no longer impoverished.
In modern days, the festival
is celebrated on the streets of
Cochabamba, where street
vendors line the streets, selling
Photo by Erica Dinho
their goods. One common dish is chicharrón de cerdo or
hicarrón de chancho, which is fried pork. The dish is made
by frying seasoned pork until the pork rind is toasted and
crispy while the meat almost looks like it has been grilled.
Parkin cake - Guy Fawkes’ Day -
This holiday, celebrated on Nov. 5,
where Guy Fawkes and others were
executed after attempting to commit
Photo by Katie Rogers crimes of murder and treason in
1605. Today, the holiday is celebrated with fireworks,
parades, bonfires and food. Children carry symbolic straw
models of Guy Fawkes to toss into a bonfire. One common
dish for this celebration is the parkin cake. Parkin cake is a
cake traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night in the Lancashire
and Yorkshire regions of the U.K. The cake is made by
mixing golden syrup with treacle, brown sugar, oats, ginger
and other ingredients until firm. Then, the cake is sealed in
a container and left to soften over the course of a few days.
The cake is so common in some areas that the holiday is
even called Parkin Day.
Traditional holiday apparel across the globe
by Maddie Ray
People around the world have special
traditions to celebrate their holidays,
including attire. Here are some outfits that
people wear when celebrating holidays.
year to be with his people. During this holiday, the
staple outfit is the kasavu sari, a sari that is white and
has a gold border. Kerala has three clusters that have
been given Geographical Indication by the Indian
government which are Balaramapuram,
Chendamangalam and Kuthampully. Balaramapuram is
famous for its use of pure zari, which is silver thread
plated in gold. Chendamangalam uses a half-fine zari
and was worn by the aristocratic family called Paliam.
Finally, Kuthampully uses patterns to create human
figure motifs on their saris.
Photo Courtesy of Alejandro Medina/ AFP/ Getty Images
Calavera Catrina - Dìa de los Muertos -
Mexico and other Latin American countries
Dìa de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a
celebration of life, death and respect for deceased
family members. The dead are still considered
members of the community even after they pass. They
live on through shared laughs and stories with
family members. For a couple of days every year, the
dead spiritually return to Earth. Calavera,
meaning skull, was first used to describe satirical
epitaphs. The candy skeleton is a symbol of Dia de Los
Muertos which originates from Mexican
Illustrator José Guadalupe Posada’s etching on a
Calavera. In 1947, Diego Rivera added a skeleton
inspired by Posada in his mural “Dream of a Sunday
Afternoon in Alameda Park.” This illustration of a
skeleton was soon to be known as Catrina. Nowadays, it
is common to paint your skin to resemble the Calavera
Kasavu - Onam - Kerala, India
Onam, falling usually between August and September,
is rooted in the generosity King Mahabali demonstrated
when letting Lord Vishnu place his foot on the King’s
head for his third step. In return, Vishnu granted him
permission to come back to the kingdom once every
Photo Courtesy of Pauline Mae De Leon, Unsplash
Hanbok - Chuseok - Korea
The hanbok is important to Korea’s cultural identity.
The hanbok has been around for over 1,000 years and
was first established during the Three Kingdoms of
Korea from 57 BCE to 668 CE. Today, hanboks are not
generally worn unless there is a wedding, holiday or
other special events. A women’s hanbok is a
combination of jeogori, a blouse shirt or jacket, and the
chima, which is a wrap-around skirt. There are many
different types and colors of different hanboks. The
different colors often symbolize social position or
marital status. The working class were required to wear
white but dressed in pale, muted colors for special
occasions in the past. Unmarried women wore yellow
jeogori and red chima while married women would
generally wear green and red. Bright colors were worn
by children and muted colors by
middle-aged men and women.
The Lasso | 11