Fall Holidays Around the World


The Lasso |




How TWU students celebrate

international holidays

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

autumn celebrations

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

Amber Khan


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

backgrounds, including

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

speak Flemish.

“[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

it’s wonderful.”

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.

Loi Krathong

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 |


Fall feasts

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

my heart.”

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

yummy foods.”


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

an apple.”

Stephanie Vo, Graphic Designer

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The Lasso |


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Global ghouls

Halloween traditions

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.

South Africa

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.

Latin America

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

of autumn.

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

black plum.

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

- Bolivia

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 -

United Kingdom

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


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