Food and culture, WAHS Spanish class learns about holidays and traditions

Coming back from winter break, Williamsport Area High School’s level four Spanish class had to research Spanish speaking countries to learn how they celebrate Christmas and the new year.

Students had to create a presentation on the country they were assigned, including information about their customs and traditions.

In addition to the presentation, the students had to prepare a food and a drink item for the class relating to their presentation. Students were also tasked to make an interactive activity for the class to do during their presentation.

During the students’ presentations, the class had to take notes because a test would be given on all the information they learned.

“The idea of the project is to create a fun way to show how other places celebrate Christmas and the new year” said Janine Randall, Spanish teacher.


One group researched Mexico and made Mexican crinkle cookies — a chocolate cookie with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. They also made atole which is a hot beverage made with corn flour, chocolate and cinnamon.

For the interactive activity, the group brought in a pinata filled with peanuts and oranges. Pinatas are often broken in celebration of Christmas in Mexican cultures.

“I liked being able to split up the work with my group and I enjoyed trying the atole,” said group member Michael Woodward.

Costa Rica

Another group made a Costa Rican chocolate cake infused with coffee and also shared homemade lemonade — both of which are commonly enjoyed during Christmas.

Their interactive activity was called “Grapes and Wishes” where each student was given 12 grapes and asked to write down 12 wishes. This is a tradition commonly celebrated by the people of Costa Rica. At each stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, people eat a grape representing each wish they hope will come true in the new year. The custom says if you don’t successfully eat all the grapes in time, your wishes don’t come true.

“I enjoyed helping make the presentation and trying all the food everyone brought in,” said Sascia Weaver, member of the Costa Rica group.

“It helped me learn about traditional Christmas activities in Mexico, and it showed some cultural differences between Mexico and the United States,” Woodward said.

“It showed me differences in how some people celebrate holidays compared to Americans,” Weaver added.