The aura of Christmas at Villanova is easy for students and faculty to see, as the dining halls, residence halls and buildings like Bartley and Kennedy are decorated for the season with fake snow, trees, holly and wreaths. Countless events revolving around Christmas are taking place around campus, from concerts performed by various university musical groups to and holiday bazaars.
It’s easy to get caught up in the rush before break, but many students who don’t celebrate Christmas see the season differently.
“I wish Villanova would have more representation [of other holidays],” sophomore Dana Tartazky says. “I barely know any Jewish people here and would like to meet more because it’s important to me, especially since I’m far from home and would like to meet people from the same background.”
Tartazky, a member of the volleyball team, is from Haifa, Israel, and because of athletics, it is difficult for her to go home for the holidays.
She celebrates Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday celebrating the miraculous eight days in which a small amount of oil kept the eternal flame in the Temple in Jerusalem alight.
Though Tartazky is not particularly strict about religious traditions, she does see the season as an opportunity to gather with loved ones and spend time together.
“For me, celebrating the holidays is about getting closer to my family,” she says. “I’m not very religious, but at home we definitely celebrate every holiday, and at Villanova I have a hard time with that.”
Nameer Bhatti, a junior accounting major from Blue Bell, Pa., also feels underrepresented by Villanova’s holiday celebrations.
“I’m a Muslim, so the only two Islamic holidays that I do celebrate are Eid-ul-Fitre and Eid-ul-Adha,” Bhatti says. “Both of these holidays are based off of the lunar calendar, so from year to year the time we celebrate varies. Sometimes it’s in the spring, while other times it’s in the winter, like this year, when Eid-ul-Adha falls on Dec. 31.”
Eud-al-Adha is the Muslim celebration of Ibrahim’s devotion to God, as he planned to sacrifice his son, Ishmael, at his command.
Bhatti adds, however, that there is not an entire lack of representation for the holidays he celebrates.
“I celebrate other non-religious holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving,” he states.
Overall, students are not disappointed with the representation they find at Villanova, a university whose Catholic roots mean that Christmas would dominate the season’s celebrations.
“I think Villanova represents my religion to some degree,” Tartazky says. “I wish there was more, but it’s alright.”