Cabrini community embraces diverse holiday traditions

John Rader

By John Rader
December 11, 2023

A snow covered Cabrini Mansion. Photo by Cabrini University.
A snow covered Cabrini Mansion. Photo by Cabrini University.

With the holiday break approaching, Cabrini students and faculty will have a month long break for some muchneeded personal time. This break gives Cabrini community members a chance to practice different traditions, and festivities.

Cabrini is a diverse campus, and community members all celebrate in their own special ways. This begs the question, what different types of traditions are Cabrini community members practicing, and celebrating during the holiday break?

The traditions

Cabrini professor of mathematics David Madway is Jewish, and celebrates Chanukah for the benefit of his young nieces and nephews. “Chanukah is a childs holiday, and the kids get dreidels, and gelt which looks like gold coins, but when you take off the aluminum wrapper you get chocolate candy,” he said.

Professor David Madway: Photo by Cabrini University

In terms of Christmas celebrations, Madway and his wife Ruth have been guests at a Catholic friend’s house for over 25 years. However, the families are not continuing the tradition this year, as their friends are heading to Ireland for the holiday season. This leaves Madway’s Christmas plans up in the air. “My wife is thinking about making a Honeybaked ham for Christmas Eve, and we may just see a movie on Christmas Day like in past years,” he said.

Gabby Palladino, sophomore women’s soccer player, and exercise science major, said, “I go to my nonna and poppops house in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on Christmas Eve.” 

Palladino comes from an Italian background, where Christmas Eve is traditionally reserved for the Feast of the Sevens Fishes, a southern Italian tradition to commemorate the wait for the birth of Jesus Christ. In Palladino’s household, her family goes past just the basic spread of seven fishes. This is a massive meal containing dishes such as clams casino, salmon, mussels, lobster, and more. In addition, Palladino’s family exchanges gifts on Christmas Eve, and she attends Mass with her family every year.

The Cabrini Live Nativity of 2022: Photo by Cabrini University.

Senior communication major, Hannah Poggi, joins Palladino in celebrating her Italian heritage with the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Poggi celebrates at her home in Springfield, Pennsylvania, as over 30 relatives from both sides of her family convene every Christmas Eve. 

Poggi also has a special tradition that she and her sister Grace have been practicing every holiday season since they were children. “My sister and I every holiday season make gingerbread houses, listen to Christmas music, and watch Christmas movies,” Poggi said.

Freshman women’s soccer player, and finance major, Whitney Hershey said, “Our biggest tradition is that my family gets together at my grandparents house on Christmas Eve, and then my family moves over to my house on Christmas morning for brunch.” 

In addition to what seems like a very normal Christmas celebration, there is one unique aspect to Hershey’s celebrations. “My aunt does this thing every year where she wraps gifts in layers of Saran Wrap,” Hershey said. This game revolves wearing an oven mitt, and timer indicating the time you have to unwrap this massive ball. 

Once the person in front of you rolls two ones, or “snake eyes,” with a dice, it is time to pass the dice off to the next person. The ball usually contains fun little gifts such as stocking stuffers, and candy.

A final christmas at cabrini

No matter the different traditions, intricacies, and holidays we as Cabrinians celebrate, we are all Cabrinians. While this may be a sad time for some as this is the last Christmas at Cabrini, it is important to take this time to be surrounded by loved ones or practice self-care. 

Whether you are a graduating senior or a freshman attending for just one year, we are all connected to this campus, even when we’re away from it for a while.



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John Rader

John Rader

My name is John “Jake” Rader and I am a senior here at Cabrini University. This is my second year being a part of the Loquitur, as I am the News Editor for this year's team. In addition to that, I am also in charge of managing the corrections page for the Loquitur. I have an avid passion for being on camera, and showing off my personality. My ultimate goal is to be a news or sports anchor, or doing sports broadcast work. I hope to continue to build my highlight reel this year with the Loquitur, and I have formally interned/blogged for Branded Sports.

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