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Chico celebrates Jewish, Latin traditions during upcoming holiday season


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Published 2011-12-13T10:50:00Z”/>

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Ben Mullin

Mariachi music, doughnuts and a 3-foot-tall menorah strapped onto a Pontiac G6 – just another holiday season in Chico.

The Student Services Center plaza was filled with between 200 and 250 students and community members on Dec. 6 between 7 and 8 p.m. said Jose Perez, intake director for Nu Alpha Kappa, the fraternity that hosted the Posada Navidena celebration.

Popular in Latin America, Posada Navidena is a Latino Christmas celebration, said Salvador Rodriguez, community service co-chair for Nu Alpha Kappa. The event is a re-enactment of the nativity story, a Christian tradition about the birth of Jesus.

As he watched his guests shuffle through a massive line which snaked around seven tables, Rodriguez explained that each one represented a house that Mary and her husband Joseph visited in hopes of finding some shelter for the night of Jesus’ birth.

“That’s a house, that’s a house, that’s a house, that’s a house,” he said, pointing to four tables laden with food next to three brightly lit synthetic Christmas trees.

At the end of the line, a five-piece mariachi band played on the Bell Memorial Union stage, which was wreathed in blue, red, orange and green Christmas lights.

The band, Mariachi Imperial de Sacramento, played Mexican Christmas songs like “Cancion de Navidad,” and “Feliz Navidad” in traditional costume.

At the end of the night, mem- bers of Nu Alpha Kappa, clad head-to-foot in slacks, polished shoes and festive Santa caps, swayed in a 27-person line to “Feliz Navidad.”

Last year Jewish jokes were all kosher.

Ruth Williams, an intern with the Jewish student organization Hillel, took the mic at “Chanukah in the Halls” and made the audience feel awkward and laugh – in that order, said Eric Lipsky, president of Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi.

“Because it was about Jews, a lot of people were like, ‘should I laugh at this?'” Lipsky said.

Williams’ routine was featured alongside jelly doughnuts, potato pancakes and a live band at the student-run celebration of the eight-day Jewish holiday Hanukkah, Lipsky said.

Though Hillel will not put on “Chanukah in the Halls” this year, they look forward to organizing it next year, Lipsky said. In the mean time, Hillel plans to participate in the 20-car menorah parade at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 26 driving throughout Chico.

Last year, Lipsky strapped a 3-foot-tall wooden menorah on his 2007 Pontiac G6 and drove it through Chico.

The Rohr Chabad Jewish Center, an orthodox Jewish organization, will be sure Chico does Hanukkah proud, Lipsky said. “Whether it’s with or without students, there will be a Hanukkah celebration in Chico,” he said.

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<strong>Ben Mullin can be reached at</strong>

<em>[email protected]</em>

 

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      Chico celebrates Jewish, Latin traditions during upcoming holiday season