| 03.24.2018

The music of Moscow — Musical traditions during the holiday season shows diversity on campus


During the holiday season, “music is in the air” becomes less of an expression and more of an inescapable reality.

At the University of Idaho, the student and faculty population is diverse.

Mikayla Sievers, president of the Lutheran Campus ministry has a tradition known as Advent that starts four Sundays leading up to Christmas.

“It was a time of preparing for the Messiah to be born and so to the church it’s a special time. The most common song you will hear would probably be ‘Oh come, Emanuel’ because it’s about that waiting and preparation,” Sievers said. “We have lots of other hymns that people know as well, but this one is closer to what we celebrate during this time.”

Sievers said she is also affiliated with public relations and Latin American studies.

“People would dress up as Mary, Jesus and Joseph and go caroling, they called it‘Las Posada,’” she said.

These were average songs sung inSpanish and is a long stretching tradition in this community, she said. It is a mostly Mexican music tradition so very few stu- dent’s practice it until they go home for the holidays, she said.

Sampath Gouru, an exchange-student from India, said there weren’t any particular hymns he could think of, however there are always devotional songs to Ganesha.

“Ganesha in the Hindu religion is the remover of obstacles and since every celebration in India is the start of something new, ceremonies always start with devotional songs to him to show thanks for remov- ing the obstacles that might have been in the way before,” Gouru said.

In practice, this tradition doesn’t differ much from many other ceremonies other cultures participate in, but the frequency of it definitely stands out, Gouru said.

Music accompanies every celebration and ceremony whether it’s religious or not. He said while music isn’t everywhere in India, those songs do make him think of home whenever he hears them.

Moscow local MaKaela Straw — who said she identifies as an agnostic — said she acknowledges a higher power but has no religious affiliation. She said she adores the evangelical Christmas traditional music.

“It reminds me of my family and of good times together,” Straw said. “In short, it doesn’t matter what anyone listens too over the holidays because whether it brings you closer to your faith, culture or family, it’s your own.”

Music often brings people together and it is more frequent this time of year.

Mary Emert can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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