Let’s celebrate or multicultural traditions…

We are almost at the end of November and we can see people everywhere getting ready to celebrate the Holidays.

There is a magic flare that surrounds our homes and brings joy to many in different parts of the world. Everyone seems focused on family traditions and “fiestas”.

Next week many of us will celebrate “Thanksgiving Day.” In the International Schools I used to work for, we celebrated Thanksgiving with a fabulous lunch with parents and children together at the table. We all held hands before the meal and each child had the opportunity to give thanks.

Then in December we find multicultural celebrations around the world. Some celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa or they may celebrate St. Lucia Day,Three Kings Day or Las Posadas. But you may have a multicultural class with families that celebrate more than one of those events.

In our classes and right before the Holidays’ break we also had a special celebration. Since we had children from different parts of the world we dedicated a complete theme to their Holidays’ traditions. Some of our children would spend the Holidays at home but some others would travel to their countries of origin to celebrate and spend time with their relatives and friends.

I use to plan for parents to come to the class and speak to the children about their families’ traditions. Parents were always very receptive and would prepare a short presentation about their countries with pictures with their families celebrating the Holidays, and typical snack bites they used to prepare for the occasion.
Children loved to see their parents participating in their classes. They enjoyed the different presentations and the food! And they were to learn a little bit more about their classmates and the way they celebrated their traditions. It was a great opportunity to nurture and strengthen the relationship between parents and their children and to promote respect and appreciation for other peoples’ culture and traditions.

Here is a short guide you may give to your parents:

Our family is from/Nuestra familia es de ______________.
(Name of child) was born in/nació en ______________________________________________________.
This is an opportunity to pull out a map or a globe and point out the country. If possible, use Google Earth to take a virtual trip.

We celebrate/Allí celebramos _______________________________________________________.
Talk about their traditions and celebrations during this time of the year. Show pictures, video, post cards, etc.

We prepare/Preparamos _______________________________________________________.
Talk about the food they eat. Share copies of the recipe. If it is easy to prepare do so in front of the children and invite them to participate in the making. Enjoy the food!

We celebrate singing _______________ and dancing in this way/Celebramos cantando _____________  y así bailamos.
Share some traditional music and dance steps.

How does your family celebrate during the Holidays?