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Ellis School students Octavia Courcy and Jackson Arsenault, both 8, read about traditions in Sweden as part of a “Holidays Around the World” project at the school on Friday. (Jason Schreiber)

Ethnic traditions showcased at Fremont School

FREMONT — Third-graders at Ellis School gave their families a taste of holidays around the world Friday.

Some 43 students took visitors on a global tour through classrooms, where they showcased traditions in other countries and served ethnic dishes.

"It's not only about Christmas. (It's) broadening their horizons about other cultures and traditions around the world," said Mikella Eichen, a third-grader teacher who organized the project that began four weeks ago when students picked countries to research and then prepared presentations and food for guests to sample.
Those who attended received "passports" and visited each country for a lesson in holiday traditions.

Ava Zagorites and Jake Higginbottom, both 8, collaborated on their presentation of Russia.

Jake made Pavlova, a meringue dessert named after Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova.
"It's very good, I do have to say," he said while encouraging visitors to give it a try.

With some help at home, Ava baked Russian tea cakes and a berry pie.

Learning about the different foods was one of Jake's favorite parts of the project.
"The food is very interesting," he said.

Ava and Jake also learned that unlike the United States, where Santa Claus brings gifts, there's a Father Frost who makes the deliveries in Russia.

Seth Berry, 8, baked a Dutch butter cake for his Holland presentation.
"And I made it myself!" he said excitedly.

While working on his country, Seth said he learned that in Holland they celebrate Saint Nicholas Eve on Dec. 5.

Eight-year-old Sammy Bragoli and her partner, Daniel Emery, also 8, offered sushi and sponge cake to represent Japan.
Daniel said he learned that Christmas isn't a national holiday in Japan.

"They have businesses running on Christmas," Sammy added.

Across the room, Octavia Courcy, 8, wore a wreath with fake candles on her head and served traditional Swedish twisted bread shaped like an "S" after studying Sweden with classmate Jackson Arsenault, 8.
Octavia said she's never been to Sweden.

"But my dad went to Sweden for a work trip," she said.

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