Finally, our last Winter holiday to celebrate is the Chinese New Year. This year it will be celebrated on February 5th and will be the Year of the Pig. This is a very important holiday for the Chinese. All the family members will gather together. There are parades, fireworks, plays and feasts. Children are given red envelopes filled with money for the new year. People decorate their homes with red – the color of good luck! To ensure prosperity for the New Year, there are certain things that you must not do on the new year.
Don’t say any negative words!
Don’t break ceramics or glass.
Do not clean or sweep – make sure to have all the cleaning done before the new year!
Do not visit the wife’s family (That is saved for the second day of the year. To visit sooner brings bad luck to the marriage!).
Do not demand debt repayment.
Avoid fighting and crying. Don’t take any medicine.
Do not give new year blessings to someone still in bed!
Avoiding these actions is supposed to help usher in a prosperous new year. Some of our favorite ways to celebrate the Chinese New Year is to make masks, lanterns and of course paper dragons! This site has some great masks you can print and cut out for your own Chinese New Year mask. All 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac are included in this free download. Make sure to print out on card stock for best results! Lantern making is one of our favorite activities! There are simple lanterns for the younger crew and more complex lanterns to challenge the older kids. Whether you string these together for a fun garland or hang them all about the house, they make for a festive and fun decoration. Bonus points if you decide to decorate your lantern with Year of the Pig drawings. Here are some basic instructions for the simple lantern.
Using red construction paper, fold the paper in half on the short side of the paper.
Measure 1” from the end of the open long side of the folded paper and mark the line with a pencil. This is your ‘stop cutting’ line.
On the opposite side of the folded paper from the line you just drew, measure 1” increments along the folded long edge. These are where you will use the scissors to cut the ribbons of your lantern.
Using scissors, cut along the folded edge to the ‘STOP’ line you marked at each of the 1” marks
Decorate your lantern along the bottom or top using gold ribbon or red ribbon, beads or other paper.
Make the lantern shape by connecting the long ends of the paper with a staple or tape.
Use a ribbon or another piece of 1” paper for a handle and connect to the inside of the top of the lantern and hang as you please!
No Chinese New Year celebration is complete without a lucky dragon! There are so many different crafts on how to make these and several templates that you can use. Red Tent Art has a neat paper plate twirling Chinese Dragon craft that is quick and great to do with little kids. Do a search for yourself to find a dragon you want to make to bless your home, or just get creative!
I hope that reading about all these wonderful celebrations will inspire you to explore the Winter holidays around the world with us! I found some great resources from Teachers-Pay-Teachers that have made this endeavor so much more manageable. I will include links at the end of this blog post if you would like to check them out for yourself. I have also included links in each of the paragraphs providing more information about each of the regions and have tried to make sure to include links to recipes as often as I could. Enjoy your trip around the world!
Global Learn Day wants to embrace all cultures and education around the world. Help us do so by Joining the Voyage Today!
I was able to find some resources that I thought were incredibly useful and I have listed them below!
I also found this resource to be a great help in getting information about Christmas around the world. I have the link going to the USA but there is a list of countries on the left side of the page where you can select any country you would like to learn about. https://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/usa.shtml
I’m a volunteer. There doesn’t seem to be much I won’t say yes for if it is a good cause and there is a need. That is how I found myself in late 2017 sitting on a board for a local sports league that my kids participated with. I had helped previously with registrations and the finance sides of the league and I knew that our biggest volunteer drain fell to whomever was running registrations and the administration.
We had found ways to save some time, but our 2017 registration periods had been sixty-hour weeks for myself and another volunteer and a ton of headache for planning. I kept thinking that there had to be a better way. There IS a better way.
I have been blessed to work with a company, OnLine Training, off and on for over a decade. OLT is the type of company interested in putting good into the world and finding solutions for organizations who have a similar mission. Their largest charitable endeavor has been to promote and support Global Learn Day for over twenty years. So, I spoke to OLT’s President and CEO and their Webmistress and asked about their proven registration systems. Could they tweak these forms and create a registration process to help community organizations and their volunteers?
The answer was, they definitely could and we should. Thus, OLACS was born.
OLACS stands for OnLine Applications for Community Sports. The purpose of this endeavor is to make registration and enrollment periods for Community Organizations easier. Through OLT’s guidance, registrations for my league only took 10 hours of volunteer hours last registration period. It was a HUGE improvement!
OLACS provides registration forms for community groups, collects payments (if applicable) and then distributes these payments back to organizations – less a reasonable fee. They provide coupon codes for our volunteers to bypass payment requirements and collect that data at no cost to us. While our organization uses this service for registering families for sports like soccer, flag football, basketball and track – I can see it being useful for small schools and other organizations who have a need to collect funds and information but don’t want the administrative headache of that collection. I click a button on their website and I have my data. Then, I receive a check in the mail with an accounting of registrations.
This process has made my volunteer hours less stressful and more manageable. It is affordable and can be tailored to my League.
We published this post to introduce OLACS as a new service that may help you, your organization or league. Check out their website to learn more!
Kwanzaa is a fairly new holiday invented for those of African descent who live in the Americas in 1966 by American Black Power activist and secular humanist Maulana Karenga. It was created to celebrate the seven principals of Kwanzaa and allow African Americans the opportunity to reconnect with African concepts and beliefs. Many celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas as Kwanzaa starts on December 26th and continues for 7 days until January 1st. Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated towards celebrating one of the principals. The principals are Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). Like Hanukkah, there is a special candle holder called the kinara which holds 7 candles (Mishumaa Saba), each candle representing one of the principals. People decorate with corn, fruit, colorful African cloth like kente and women wear traditional caftans. As part of the celebrations, the participants drink out of a common chalice called the Kimkombe cha Umoja and remember ancestors and give thanks. Drumming, reading stories about Africa, and a feast round out this celebration.
In Italy, La Befana visits on January 5th. She, instead of Santa Clause is the bringer of presents to children all over Italy. La Befana is an old friendly witch who flies around on her broomstick and fills their stocking with sweets and presents if they are good and lumps of coal or dark candy if they are bad. She likes things tidy, so will often sweep the house before leaving as further evidence of her visit. Santa’s trip down the chimney most likely originated with Befana as she enters the home by the chimney. Prior to her arrival, children spend time caroling. On Christmas night, many families eat a traditional meal of 7 fishes and celebrate eating cake called Panetonne with a cup of hot cocoa.
In Russia, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. This is because the Russian Orthodox Church follows the Julian calendar. Some may celebrate on the traditional December 25th but most celebrate after the new year. Grandfather Frost (Ded Moroz) brings presents to the children. He is always accompanied by his Granddaughter (Snegurochka). Families gather to eat sochiro – a porridge made with rice, honey, fruit and nuts. Sometimes families will fast on Christmas Eve and not eat until they can see the first star in the night sky. Children will go out and carol in their community, being rewarded at eat house with treats of cookies, sweets and money.
Yule or Winter Solstice is celebrated on Dec.21st. Many indigenous cultures celebrate this day around the world. Recognizing it as the longest night of the year, many tribes take this time to reflect and pray for health for their family, the animals and the Earth (as a living being). Nations like the Sylix in Washington State & British Columbia celebrate with songs and dancing – sometimes for several days! Other tribes use this time for storytelling. Staying up to see the suns return is a big part of honoring this tradition. Of course, we can’t mention the Winter Solstice without mentioning Stonehenge in England, and Newgrange in Ireland which have been specifically designed to recognize this time to year. Druids and pagans of all types have celebrated the Winter Solstice with feasting, story telling and a vigil – staying up all night to welcome the return of the sun!
Christmas is celebrated in so many wonderful ways all around the world! In Germany, they celebrate Christmas with the ChristKind. Instead of Santa, the Chriskind – a young girl wearing a long white and gold dress – walks around and brings presents to the children. The decorating of the Christmas tree is thought to have originated in Germany, a tradition started in the late Middle Ages. Songs are sung like ‘O Tennenbaum’ to celebrate. Gingerbread houses are a main part of holiday celebration, with elaborately decorated gingerbread villages. If you are naughty, Krampus – a scary monster might come instead of Christkind and whisk the misbehaving child away! Krampus is growing in popularity again and can be seen in various holiday parades throughout Europe and even the US. In France, we eagerly await Pere Noel! Yule logs made out of cherry wood are often burned in people’s home. The logs are left burning all night with food and drink in case Mary and the baby Jesus pass by in the night. Children will leave their shoes by their fireplace in hopes that Pere Noel will fill them with gifts. They will end their celebrations by eating sweets, the most popular being the bûche de Noël (chocolate rolled sponge cake). In Australia, it’s Summer when Christmas is celebrated. Instead of the usual Winter scenes, you have snowmen made of sand, and a Santa in shorts surfing. They decorate their houses with ‘bunches of ‘Christmas Bush,’ a native Australian tree with small green leaves and cream-colored flowers. They enjoy caroling by candlelight (often changing the words of the carols, replacing words describing Winter scenes with local words of Summer) and each city will host regional events. Instead of reindeer, Santa uses kangaroos!
Learning about Hanukkah was so much fun, but there are so many more holidays to experience!
Next, we will learn about St. Lucia Day and Sweden! Another festival of light, St. Lucia is a woman who wore candles on her head so that her hands would be free to hand out food to the poor and starving. Originally, this holiday was celebrated using the old Julian calendar which meant Dec. 13th coincided with the Winter Solstice.
Today young girls are selected to represent St. Lucia by wearing crowns of lingonberry branches, with structure to support 7 candles. Battery powered candles are fine to substitute! Boys can dress up as Stjärngossar or Star Boys. Both the girls as St. Lucia and the Star Boys wear white but the girls also wear a red sash around their waist. The Star Boys have instead of a crown, a tall pointed hat (without a brim) decorated with stars. On the morning of the 13th, the girl who is acting as St. Lucia should wake everyone up early with St. Lucia buns, called lussekatters and coffee or hot cocoa. We encourage you to try out the recipe for your learning experience! Cooking helps with math and is fun!
The day should be spent singing St. Lucia songs and eating traditional Swedish foods like meat balls, St. Lucia crown cake and glogg. Once the sun has gone down, the spectators light and hold a vigil candle. All other light sources should be off. Then St. Lucia and her procession of maidens and star boys walk through with their costumes and candles lit singing a St. Lucia song. This symbolizes the suns return – light emerging from the darkness. This is a great holiday that I am excited to celebrate! You might want to purchase a book sharing this experience. One fictional story is available here.
Fun side note – in Sweden, the Tomten, or Christmas gnome is the one who delivers presents. He goes around with his with his goat to deliver the presents to all the girls and boys, who leave porridge outside for them to eat instead of milk and cookies.
After St. Lucia Day, we rush into the celebration of Las Posadas! Las Posadas is a Mexican tradition that is observed from Dec. 16th – 24th. It recreates the story of the baby Jesus when Mary and Joseph were trying to find shelter. Generally there is a procession where people recreate the journey of the pregnant Mary and Joseph as they ask for shelter by walking down a street and knocking on doors asking for entry. Finally, someone grants them shelter. Children carry poinsettias and at the end of each evenings march, there is singing and celebration. Star shaped clay piñatas are filled with treats and then broken apart by celebrants wearing blindfolds. In many areas, local churches offer a Las Posadas celebration. You might be able to find one near you!
Consider joining our voyage so that you can participate with Global Learn Day all year long!
Celebrate Winter by Exploring Cultures around the World!
Fall winds are blowing and here in my house we are eagerly looking forward to the coming Winter and all excitement of the holidays. As a homeschool parent, this of course screams ‘learning opportunity’ so this year, I am going to go all out! We have chosen 12 different holidays/cultures to learn about. I am prepping materials to help us learn how the various cultures celebrate the many different Winter holidays.
We will explore Kwanza, Hanukah, and Yule/Winter Solstice. We will discover La Befona in Italy, Pere Noel in France, Christkind in Germany and Los Pasadas in Mexico. We are excited to learn about the Tomten and celebrate St. Lucia Day in Sweden (This is one of my sons’ favorite countries because of the Sami people. They keep huge herds of reindeer and live in the far northern parts of the country.). We are going to find out how they celebrate Christmas in Australia and Russia. Then we will finish our studies with a virtual adventure in China where we will learn all about the Chinese New Year which is one of the last holidays of the Winter!
We are going to have so much fun! I am excited that I am learning just as much as my son. He is 8 and will be the perfect age to really get into these activities. I have a giant inflatable planet with the political boundaries labeled on the continents, so we will be using that as a reference point and using tape and string to demonstrate how far away each place is from us in our cozy home in Eastern Washington. At the very end, we will measure the strings and see which country was furthest away!
Over the next two weeks I will be providing you, via these blog posts, with an opportunity to follow along and participate on our Winter Adventure!
Our Winter adventure will begin with Hanukkah. This year (2018) Hanukkah is celebrated on December 2nd and ends on December 10th. It is a beautiful festival of light that uses candles and a special candle holder called a menorah. The candles may only be lit after sundown and in a specific order. One candle the first night, and then two the following night until 8 days later all the candles are lit. Each family member is encouraged to have their own menorah, or a communal menorah can be used in which all the family members, including the children take part in the lighting of the menorah candles. The candles or lights must be on for at least 30 minutes and during that time, all attention should be on the candle flame with no other sources of light. Prayers are said over each candle as it is lit. You are encouraged to tell stories about the holiday and enjoy traditional food like potato latkes and sufganoit (doughnuts).
It is also customary to gift children with gelt after the candles have been lit to reward them for good behavior. The children are usually encouraged to use part of their received money to donate to a charity. Children will often play games with dreidels (spinning tops). The dreidels have four sides. On each side there is a symbol. Nun, Gimel, Hay and Shin. Nun stands for nes or miracle. Gimel stands for gadol or great. Hay stands for haya or was. And finally Shin stands for sham or there. The game that is played with the dreidel is a bit of a gambling game but lots of fun. If you roll Nun – nothing happens. If you roll a Gimel – you win everything! If you roll Hay, you win half of whatever was bet. If you roll Shin, you lose everything! You can imagine how exciting this game would be to play with little ones that have just been gifted with their gelt (money – often the golden chocolate coins that come in a bag).
Check out these Dreidels and get ready to celebrate with your children this year!
We’d love to hear what holidays you celebrate during this Winter Season! Reach out to us and be sure to Join the Voyage today!
Not all learning is in books. It is also important to learn about our physical world and ourselves. On Global Learn Day 2108, our presenter, Anita Morin, taught the world about the importance of women’s health care and healthier options for women world wide.
Caring for ourselves is a lesson that extends far beyond simple biology class. It impacts our health, our family, and our community. By teaching women how to understand what their bodies are telling them, people like Anita Morin are making a difference in our world.
Global Learn Day 2018 is in the books! Thank you to all of you who participated and presented in our global event! Over the next several weeks, we will be recapping our ports of call, here on the blog. Hope you will reminisce with us over this epic voyage.
Learning is our goal! World wide access to education is our mission! Each Global Learn Day, we seek to promote the value of education for every person, throughout the world.
One way that we promote education for all is by sharing charities working to help all children receive a life changing education. One of those projects that we had the honor of sharing is the Being Kind Foundation Adava.
Being Kind Foundation provides underprivledged children in India with clothing, school supplies, tuition, basic necessities at home, and more. Every dollar donated goes directly to children in dire need.
Without a good education, these children have little hope of breaking the crippling cycle of poverty. Won’t you help them by Being Kind?
Learn more in the video below or visit their brand new Facebook page.
When young Liam Finn McCool began to show an interest in science his mother encouraged him by taking the time to explain in depth why something was the way it was. How does a flower create seeds? How does a volcanic eruption works? How were the people of Pompei frozen in time during the eruption in the first century of the Current Era? She recognized that even at the young age of three, Liam was interested in learning and would absorb information. So, she painstakingly took the time to explain in detail answers to his questions believing that what she was really doing was telling him that his interest was legitimate. She was right.
By five, Liam had begun sharing videos on YouTube where he gave information about different spiders and insects that he found in his backyard. Backyard Adventures with Liam Finn McCool had officially begun. Last Global Learn Day, inspired by videos his mother showed him, he asked if he could participate. They reached out to me and I said, “Of Course”. The result was this gem.
Liam loves the camera and he will learn more about any given topic if he knows that he gets to share that information with the world later on. Inspiring young learners always depends on the individual. What inspires a drive to learn for one child may do nothing for the next. As we go through Global Learn Day and enjoy presentations from around the world, we invite you to consider how to best encourage the children around you to love learning.
Liam is proof that it is never to early to begin sharing knowledge. At six years old, he is an educator and our youngest Global Learn Day Presenter. Recently, he launched his own website and this year he will be sharing another great video of a Backyard Adventure that he filmed for our event.
Liam is well on his way to being a Life Long Learner! Way to go, kid!
We are only one week away from Global Learn Day 2018!!! Are you excited? We are!! It seems amazing that a whole year has passed since GLD 2017, but we have also been hard at work to make this the best Global Learn Day, ever.
Global Learn Day is a celebration not only of the history of learning, but of those who continue to make learning a priority by promoting lifelong learning and access to education. It is a program built for everyone and made possible by ordinary people with extraordinary love for education.
Join The Global Learn Day Adventure
Are you ready for a whirlwind journey around the world? Here are some ways that you can join in on the celebration and get the most out of Global Learn Day.
Tune In: Global Learn Day shares relevant and inspiring videos every hour of our 24 hour event. These “ports of call” are broadcast on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Please follow us so you can receive notification and not miss a single minute!
Sharing is Caring: Share your favorite talks and videos on your social media accounts so that others can enjoy.
Let’s Party!: Host a Global Learn Day celebration at your home, school, or community center.
Learn Something New: Use Global Learn Day as a chance to begin your lifelong learning habit. Learn something new next weekend and celebrate the beauty of education with us.
Teach Others: Education depends on others passing on their own knowledge. Help us keep it going by teaching others next weekend.
Support One of Our Charity Presenters: This year we have several non-profits sharing about their programs on Global Learn Day. Each of these promote access to education by opening channels previously closed to those most in need. Please consider donating your time, talent, or money to further their missions.
Just Show Up!
Getting involved is as easy as showing up. Global Learn Day will be broadcast on various social media outlets for a 24 hour period. There will be something to experience in every hour from various points of interest around the globe.
Even though Global Learn Day only circumnavigates the globe once a year, our social media outlets are great opportunities to meet and learn from supporters of education around the world every day. It’s like 364 mini Global Learn Days for our fans.
How will you be celebrating this year? Let us know, below. We hope to see you at one of our stops along the way!