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Home / My Kind of Blog / "Learn about a Holiday from Another Culture": Building Empathy, Understanding and Global Citizenship

"Learn about a Holiday from Another Culture": Building Empathy, Understanding and Global Citizenship

 

One of my favourite holiday traditions growing up was Christmukah. We celebrated both Christmas and Hannukah in my house, and it was always a source of pride for me to be exposed to different traditions, perspectives and experiences. It made me feel special to be part of something unique. My parents did a great job of sharing both of their cultures and traditions. As I grew up, this foundation blossomed into Christmukah carolling parties with gourmet homemade latkes (I do make a mean latke), and dreidel tournaments at work with colleagues. I loved sharing my special traditions with my friends, especially those who didn't celebrate in the same way. 

Isn't that what we want all of our kids to feel? Special and unique? Giving kids the opportunity to share what makes them unique and special - be it the holidays that they celebrate or the way that they celebrate them - is important for building self-confidence. And exposing kids to other people's experiences, perspectives, religions and traditions is foundational in building empathy, encouraging inclusion, and raising global citizens who care for and understand their neighbours and the world. 

Exposure To Different Cultures'  Holiday Traditions Helps With Social-Emotional Learning

Exposing kids to different cultures’ holidays and traditions has so many wonderful benefits, from a social-emotional lens. Seeing and being able to understand things from another person’s perspective is what empathy is all about.There is some evidence to suggest that intercultural education can positively impact a child’s self-esteem and give them more confidence in setting their value priorities. Exposure to different cultural holidays teaches children about values such as diversity, tolerance, respect, and gratitude. Additionally, learning about other holiday traditions can be fun for the whole family and a fun way to connect with others and create a community of caring and sense of belonging amongst family, friends and neighbours. 

This is exactly why we’ve created our latest FREE PRINTABLE - Winter Holiday Bingo! This fun and interactive game will encourage your kids to learn more about how other people are celebrating this holiday season. Get the kids to research on their own, or find someone in your circle of family and friends who may be willing to share some of their personal experience and traditions with you! They’ll love the opportunity to share what makes their holiday special, and will hopefully appreciate your curiosity and celebration. 

Some Research to Get you Started To Learn Holiday Traditions

Books, stories and songs are all great ways to learn about other holiday traditions. Here are a few examples to get you started on some of the holidays that you’ll find on our Winter Holiday Bingo Card! 

Krampusnacht: 

Krampusnacht is a German holiday tradition.

The Krampus story is an ancient tale of a creature who punishes naughty children during Yule . In this version of the story, Krampus comes down the chimney and carries off naughty children into his cave where he eats them. He then brings back the good kids at Christmastime.

A Recommended Book about Krampusnacht is Goodnight Krampus written by Kyle Sullivan and illustrated by Derek Sullivan

A Recommended Song about Krampus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3sNoNusBBw

Las Posadas

Las Posadas is a Catholic tradition that dates back to 15th century Spain. It has been adopted by many countries around the world including Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States. On Las Posadas, people like to visit friends or relatives to bring gifts and wish them well. They may also leave food outside of homes for the poor.

A recommended book about Las Posadas is The Night of Las Posadas Paperback, written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola . It tells the story of two Mexican families who travel from town to town looking for each other after being separated by war.

A song about Las Posadas is “Las Posadas” by Lalo Guerrero.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBuPzh-1Iu4

The Lantern Festival

The Lantern Festival is one of China’s most important festivals. It celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring. During the festival, families gather together to enjoy lantern displays and parades. There are many types of lanterns that are used during the festival. Some of these include paper lanterns, bamboo lanterns, clay pots, and metal lanterns.

A book about the Lantern Festival is Lanterns and Firecrackers: A Chinese New Year Story by Jonny Zucker and Illustrated by Jan Barger Cohen. It tells the story of a boy named Xiao Long who travels from Beijing to Shanghai to attend the Lantern Festival. Along the way, he meets lots of new people and learns about Chinese customs.

Here is some traditional Lantern Festival Music

Lohri

Lohri is an important Hindu holiday observed mainly in India. It celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring. In some parts of Punjab, people celebrate Lohri as their New Year’s Day.

A good book about Lohri is Lohri: The Bonfire Festival by Parveen Kaur Dhillon and illustrated by Anantdeep Kaur.

Here are some popular songs from Lohri

Tết Nguyên Đán

Tết Nguyên Đán or Vietnamese New Year is celebrated on the first day of the fifth lunar month every year. It is an important national holiday for most Vietnamese people. Traditionally, young unmarried women wear red clothes and carry flowers while men wear yellow clothing and play drums.

One book you could read about Tết Nguyên Đán is The TET Pole: The Story of TET Festival by by Quoc Tran and illustrated by Nguyen Bich.

It tells how Vietnamese villagers managed to liberate themselves from the devilish occupation with the help of the Buddha and then celebrated this victory during the Lunar Festive Season.

Here are some songs related to the Vietnamese New Year

However you’re celebrating this winter season, we wish you a happy, safe and healthy celebration and hope you’ll love our Winter Holiday Bingo!

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