The holiday season is a time to celebrate, but it also provides an opportunity to teach young children about the ways other cultures celebrate different holidays. By following up on popular holiday traditions from around the world, parents can keep children actively engaged in learning and experiencing new ideas.
The Polished Shoes
In France, the holiday celebrations start on St. Nicholas Day, which is the sixth of December. From that day forward, children receive small gifts and sweets from loved ones. While the traditions start early, a popular and interesting holiday tradition is placing polished shoes in front of the chimney. The belief is that Father Christmas fills the shoes with sweets.
The Web Decorations
In the Ukraine, holiday traditions stem from stories. One particular story resulted in a decoration that may seem odd: a spider web. In the story, a widow did not have enough money to pay for holiday decorations. When the family woke up on Christmas morning, they discovered their tree was decorated with silver and gold spider webs. Due to the story, children and families in the Ukraine decorate for the holiday with spider web decorations on their trees.
Eight Days of Gifts
Holiday traditions throughout the month of December include Hanukkah and it is a fun tradition for young children. Over a period of eight nights, families light a candle on the menorah. After lighting the candle, the family celebrates with gifts, games and a feast. The tradition shows that giving and celebrating occurs in multiple cultures, even if they celebrate different holidays. Young children can enjoy playing traditional games and learning about a different holiday.
Eating Fried Chicken
In Japan, a holiday tradition associated with Christmas is eating fried chicken. The tradition stems back to the 1970’s and has been a long tradition in the country since it was first introduced. Traditions in Japan relate to enjoying time with friends and family, particularly when enjoying a meal.
Silly Jokes and Pranks
In Iceland, 13 Christmas Lads deliver gifts to children. Originally, the tradition started off as a prank or a joke, where the holiday pranksters would show up on a specific day throughout the month and perform a trick or a prank. Eventually, it became a tradition for the pranksters to give gifts to children. The tradition adds a little silliness into the holiday season.
Holiday traditions in different countries stem from multiple cultures and their ideas about the holidays. By getting children involved in the unique decorations, the games and the fun activities, parents can teach about different cultures to their young children.