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Student Snapshot

This year, the traditional Christmas Ball organised by the Rīga Stradiņš University International Student Association (RSU ISA) that usually takes place in December, could not be held. The Board's contingency plan to hold an event outdoors was also quickly discarded as emergency measures and restrictions became stricter as the months got colder. In order to still provide students with a sense of community and entertainment, Theresa Gsöllpointner (The Head of Integration and Sports) and Emma Wallfridson (The Assistant to the Head of Integration and Sports) came up with the idea to curate a digital Advent Calendar.

Each national society had the opportunity to present their culture and their unique way of preparing for the holiday season on Instagram (or Zoom for some of the live, interactive events). The formats varied from a bake-off (organised by the British Irish Society, BISA), and a tutorial on how to bind an advent wreath (organised by the German Student Society, DSiA), to a presentation of Hanukkah (by the Israeli Student Society, Yachad) and gave students a comprehensive insight into how various cultures celebrate Christmas, and what traditions exist around the world.


Did you know?

  • Before Christmas Trees were introduced to Greece, people would decorate boats which symbolised reuniting with loved ones.
  • In Iceland 13 Yule Lads roam around the countryside placing gifts in shoes.
  • Kwanzaa is an annual pan-African holiday created in 1966 that lasts for 7 days. 
  • Even though Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist country, Christmas is also celebrated here by donating to charities and attending midnight mass in churches. Celebrations culminate with fireworks that are set off as the clock strikes 12. 

December 15 Masala tea recipe

Theresa accounts that students have really appreciated this thoughtful and unique event full of recipes, quizzes and fun facts, and that she has received many encouraging messages and positive feedback.

RSU ISA Advent Calendar

29 NovemberFirst Candle
Day 1The history of Advent
Day 2Traditions (Greece)
Day 3DIY Christmas/Advent wreath tutorial (DSiA)
Day 4Traditions (Hungary)
Day 5Baking and Krampus (Austria)
Day 6Second Candle - Quiz (Italian Student Association in Riga)
Day 7Christmas jumper challenge (who can put one on standing upside down?)
Day 8Traditions and music (Sri Lanka, Asian Society)
Day 9Traditions and sauna (Finland)
Day 10Traditions and music (Russia)
Day 11Great British Bake Off (UK, BISA)
Day 12Traditions and stories (Iceland)
Day 13Third Candle - Lucia (Sweden, SLFSR)
Day 14Quiz (DSiA)
Day 15Masala tea recipe (Asian Society)
Day 16Quiz (Portugese Society)
Day 17Traditions (Latvia)
Day 18Hanukkah (Israel, Yachad)
Day 19Traditions (USA, RSU US Student Association)
Day 20Fourth Candle - Concert by the RSU student band Valerie
Day 21Kwanza (African Association Riga)
Day 22Traditions and cross-country skiing (Norway)
Day 23Quiz (RSU ISA)
Day 24 Christmas Eve - Christmas wishes in different languages