The Owls in Ms. Jessica’s class enjoyed learning about holiday traditions from different countries and cultures. The children love to look at the globe and map together! During December, they located Russia, Sweden, Norway, Mexico and Africa. With winter growing nearer, the Owls first took a look at the Russian Winter Festival: colorful lights, decorations, costumes, horse-drawn sleighs (called “troikas”), ice skating, and music are just a few of the ways the season is celebrated. After seeing the impressive ice sculpture display at the Moscow festival, the Owls got the opportunity to work hands-on with different shaped ice cubes to try and create their own sculptures!
Next the Owls learned about St. Lucia Day, a holiday celebrated in Sweden, Norway, and other European countries. One of the traditions is to celebrate light overcoming darkness in the winter season by lighting many candles and singing songs. The class watched a short clip of children dressed as St. Lucia singing together. The Owls then got to make their own woven heart, a traditional holiday decoration from Sweden. It was a little tricky, but with practice everyone was able to make a beautiful heart!
Ms. Jessica’s class then learned about a Christmas tradition originating from Mexico called Las Posadas. It is a nine-day celebration during which families reenact the story of Mary and Joseph searching for a place to stay. Large groups of people, often in costumes and carrying candles, travel throughout their neighborhoods singing carols and knocking on doors looking for las posadas (the inns). On the ninth day everyone comes together to share food and drinks and the children break open a star shaped piñata. Of course the Owls couldn’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate with a piñata of their own!
The final holiday the class learned about was Kwanzaa. The Owls learned that much like Hanukkah, a candle is lit for each of the seven nights of Kwanzaa. For each night, a different principle is celebrated: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. They learned that many of the traditions of Kwanzaa are based on customs from parts of Africa, used to celebrate their heritage.