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Celebrating Homecoming around the world

Sunday, October 14, 2007 | 3:00 p.m. CDT; updated 8:48 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

You’ve seen his ferocious-yet-friendly presence at football games.

But this year’s Homecoming parade theme will require MU’s beloved Truman the Tiger to jaunt a little farther than just Memorial Stadium. Although Truman is going “Around the World” in this year’s parade, he won’t need a passport to participate.

The theme befits a university that has a diverse student body. In 2006, students from more than 100 countries attended MU. While learning the traditions of Homecoming, American style, students from six countries recall favorite customs from their homelands.

India

Bandhana Katoch, from Palampur, India, said the Cultural Association of India also celebrates a version of Homecoming.

On Oct. 27, India Night, they invite back all of the alumni members of the association to one big festival.

“It’s the same concept,” said Katoch, who is president of the association. “This is homecoming for us.”

Katoch stressed that the goal was to open all of the association’s events to everyone at the university so that knowledge could be shared.

One of Katoch’s favorite school traditions from India is called Teacher’s Day, when older students are allowed to wear formal clothes instead of the typical uniform and help teach the younger students.

“I remember it was so much fun to wear a sari,” Katoch said. “I always saw my mom wearing it.”

Vietnam

This country is one among many that also celebrates Teacher’s Day.

On the Vietnamese Teacher’s Day, “students can send flowers to the professors to say thank you,” said Thanh Vu, president of the Vietnamese Student Association.

Turkey

Omar Bozok from Anchora, Turkey, said his favorite “school” tradition was actually a break from school that occurs annually in May when the country celebrates the arrival of springtime.

The three-day festival takes place before the start of final exams. Students go to school, and they then attend the festival when they don’t have class. It’s one last chance for “students to have fun before studying all week long,” Bozok said.

China

A favorite Chinese holiday is The National Day of the People’s Republic of China, held on Oct. 1, said Wendy Wang from Chong Qing, China.

On this day, students and employees get the day off from work and can go to the center of the city, where there are usually exhibitions and concerts.

There’s also a Mid-Autumn Festival in mid- to late September, celebrating the moon when it is at its fullest.

“At this celebration, family members get together and eat special foods, including a popular pastry called a mooncake. They also go outside and enjoy the moonlight,” Wang said.

Russia

Marina Leonova, from Kazan, Russia, said her school had festivals for first-year students to help them transition into university life. The students sometimes got shirts with the school’s name on them, much like in the U.S.

Russian schools also have special classes for music and sports that often have parties, but Leonova said she didn’t participate because of her studies.

Germany

A tradition at the school attended by Miriam Schumacher, from Lohmar, Germany, was Study Universal Day. On this day, the university is open to the public. The school invites guest speakers to campus and invites everyone to attend.

“If you are interested in other fields, it’s a chance to go hear people in that field talk,” Schumacher said.


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