Holidays at The Rock

Celebrating the winter season is always a joyful time, and the festivities are a great time to learn something new about the diverse beliefs in the student body, from Pagan rituals to Christian spiritualist practices.


Maya Coleman

With a diverse student body, Rock Ridge students celebrate a variety of holidays and traditions. Learning about various backgrounds and holidays can help spread awareness and recognition of other cultures and religions.

Maya Coleman and Bella Strano

On Jan 23, students who celebrate Lunar New Year marked the beginning of the new year on the lunisolar calendar. As December turns to January, chances are you’ve seen many people celebrating holiday traditions like singing songs in the living room, decorating their trees, or lighting candles. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Lunar New Year, there’s something for everyone in these winter months.

Rock Ridge Religious Diversity: Survey taken by “The Blaze” of 150 students during the month of Dec. 2022.

A survey conducted by “The Blaze” staff in Dec. 2022 revealed that of the 150 students surveyed, the largest represented  religion is Christianity, which aligns with what is the most common religion in the entire world. When including the respondents who identified as Catholics, Christians account for 39% of the student body.

Freshmen Caden Goodhart and Angel Labosette and sophomore Zhaohui Ma celebrate religious holidays that not as commonly celebrated by the Rock Ridge student body.

Caden Goodhart

Freshman Caden Goodhart, a pagan, previously lived in an area where she could celebrate the Pagan holidays with others in her faith, but since she moved, she doesn’t have that community anymore. “In Massachusetts, I had a group of others, because Massachusetts is a very witchy area and [other religions] practice [the rituals],” Goodhart said. “The way you celebrate [the rituals] has to have other people, but now there aren’t any other people willing to celebrate.” Goodhart got her Pagan background from one of her family members when she was young.

In Paganism, every holiday is centered around the Pagan calendar–also known as the wheel of the year–which is a calendar primarily devoted around the seasons, since there was no structured calendar back when Paganism was created. In the calendar, four celebrations are structured around the winter and summer solstices, and the fall and spring equinoxes, and the other four are put in between. 

“If you visualize it, put a plus sign [over an] X. The plus sign is the equinoxes and the solstices and the X are the other [holidays],” Goodhart said, painting a picture for the Wheel of the Year.

Zhaohui Ma

Sophomore Zhaohui Ma has practiced Neo-Confucianism since he was young. He was introduced to the practice by his family and still continues to celebrate. Neo-Confucianism focuses on metaphysical Chinese philosophy, and there are various holiday celebrations throughout the year. 

One such festival is the Mooncake Festival. The holiday celebrates good harvest from the year and offers a chance for people to pray to their gods. On Sept. 29,  Ma’s family gets together to honor the holiday by making a huge feast and mooncakes to eat. We usually have a big feast with a lot of family that comes over, and we make a big meal together to celebrate it,” Ma said. This is one of Ma’s favorite holidays, because he gets to visit his family while they come together. 

Angel Labosette

Freshman Angel Labosette is a spiritualist, meaning that he celebrates no “appointed God figure” but believes in an overall higher power. There are different kinds of spiritualists, like Atheist or Christian spiritualists. 

Labosette grew up around a lot of different cultures, so he’s open to celebrating different things, and celebrating any holiday is a main part of Labosette’s take on spiritualism.“[When I celebrate holidays] it depends on who I’m hanging out with at the time, because I [don’t] have time to celebrate every holiday [on the calendar],” Labosette said, but he does celebrate every holiday that he can on his own. “I celebrate Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, and almost every winter holiday, because [I love winter celebrations]. My grandpa is Egyptian, so we [also] always do a bunch of his traditions.”