Multicultural Holidays to Celebrate this Season
Hooray, Fall is here! That means Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah… and MORE! I love the holidays, and since this year’s celebrations will look a little bit different (because of COVID), I’ve decided to incorporate even more into our season.
As a former preschool teacher and owner, it was important that we incorporated all types of holidays into our program to be inclusive of all families. I am so grateful for that, because it opened my eyes to a whole new world of magical celebrations worth celebrating. Your children will love these too!
Dia De Los Muertos, October 31-November 2: This Mexican holiday celebrates family members who have passed and celebrates their spiritual journey into the afterlife. Traditions include setting up an altar of remembrance with marigold flowers (usually made of paper or tissue paper), and sugar skulls. Some people write poems about their loved one called Calaveras. To introduce your child to this holiday, you could read a book about Dia de Los Muertos and maybe indulge in traditional Dia de Los Muertos foods: pan de muerto (Mexican sweet bread) or Jamaica (hibiscus tea). We love to paint our faces like sugar skulls!
Diwali, Mid October- Mid November: Diwali is known as the Hindu “Festival of Lights” and lasts for 5 days. This year, Diwali begins on November 14th, but it moves around each year. The Indian culture traditionally placed lights outside their homes to symbolize the inner light that protects from spiritual darkness. Today, lights, food, art and celebrations are incorporated into celebrating this special time. Here are some fun things to do with your kids to celebrate Diwali: How to Celebrate Diwali with Kids
Winter Solstice: Winter Solstice, or Yule, is the longest day of winter and marks the point of the year when the earth is at its strongest tilt. This year (2020) it falls one December 21st. Pagan cultures celebrated this day as gratitude for the returning of the sun. In modern times, families can celebrate the solstice with candles, by burning or decorating yule logs, decorating winter solstice trees for the animals, or making winter solstice lanterns. The children really get excited about making food for the animals with birdseed, peanut butter, dried fruit, etc. and hanging it from trees outside!
Kwanzaa, December 26-January 1: Kwanzaa is a relatively new celebration and began in 1966 in Africa. Families celebrating Kwanzaa decorate their households with objects of art, colorful African cloth such as kente, especially the wearing of kaftans by women, and fresh fruits that represent African idealism. An easy way to introduce Kwanzaa to your child would be by exploring a bowl of lucious fruit--maybe even try something new. But don’t forget the pineapple! This is the most consumed (and loved) fruit in Africa.
Keep in mind that these are very brief overviews of each of the celebrations. They all have deep history and meaning, so if one resonates with you, dig deeper! In any case, incorporating one or more of these days into your Fall/Winter season is an easy way to share different cultures with your child.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Amanda
Amanda Dixon is a mother of three young children and has her master’s degree in early childhood education. She spends her days homeschooling her kiddos, freelance writing and teaching college. Her favorite things are a good cuppa tea, chocolate chip cookies, books, and her 3 dachshunds.