With Christmas just around the corner, it’s a good time to educate your children on the otherholidays of winter. From the more well-known holidays like Hanukkah, to the lesser known ones like St. Lucia Day, teaching students about holidays around the world will help them appreciate the diverse world we live in.
Teach Each Holiday’s History
Go over the history of each holiday your class is studying. Don’t be afraid to include religious themes since that’s what many holidays are based around. For example, many children know Christmas as Santa Clause, but take them back to its origin and discuss its significance to many people. Then, show them that even holidays like Christmas vary from place to place. The same goes for other holidays like:
For holidays like Kwanzaa, which has only been around since the 1960s, talk about how it seeks to bring people together as a community and the historic events that brought about its creation. Diving into the origins of each holiday will help your class understand why each is important and should be respected.
Sample Traditional Holiday Foods
One of the best ways for children to experience a new culture’s holiday is to introduce them to the foods eaten. For example, for Hanukkah, bring in latkes, which are simply potato pancakes. Or, for Kwanzaa, which tends to be a melting pot of foods from Africa, the Caribbean, and other regions,fried plantains.
Of course, this method should be used with caution and take into account any food allergies or dietary restrictions your students may have. Pick a dish that all the children can sample and enjoy safely.
Bring in an Expert
Does your school have a teacher or student who celebrates a winter holiday other than Christmas? Invite them to your class to share their experiences and family traditions. Encourage your students to ask questions that help them compare their holiday traditions to one they are unfamiliar with. For example, if they primarily celebrate Christmas, children may ask questions regarding Santa Clause or Christmas trees. At the end, have your students write down what they’ve learned.