Sunday, December 1, 2013

December Celebrations Across the World

I hosted a holidays around the world craft fair this year for 35 kids. We had seven craft stations set up with ready to go crafts. It was a little chaotic and they enjoyed some crafts more than others but I'd say it was a success overall.

Here is a pdf passport for the kids to collect their stamps. Print the pages and cut in half and assemble.

Table Leader Information

Kwanzaa:  is a secular holiday and is celebrated in Pan-African homes across the world from December 26th to January 1st. Kwanzaa is a celebration of African culture throughout history. The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." There are many symbols but the most recognizable is the Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles). These are symbolic of the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, the matrix and minimum set of values which African people are urged to live by in order to rescue and reconstruct their lives in their own image and according to their own needs.
**craft** Kwanzaa mat

China and Hong Kong: The Chinese New Year is the foremost winter holiday in China and occurs around February. This is a time for feasting, family reunions and fun. Food plays a major role in Chinese New Year celebrations, where families hand out oranges, lychee nuts and other snacks which symbolize good fortune.
Even though most Chinese are not Christians, you can still see signs of Christmas everywhere. Many people put up Christmas trees, decorated with paper chains, flowers, and paper lanterns. They also decorate houses with beautiful paper lanterns. Chinese children hang muslin stockings for Santa Claus whom they call “Dun Che Lao Ren (dwyn-chuh-lau-oh-run) which means “Christmas Old Man”.
 Ta Chiu, a Taoist festival of peace and renewal, takes place on December 27th in Hong Kong.
**Craft** Paper lantern

Ukrainian Christmas Spider: There once was a widow, who lived in a small hut. One day a pinecone dropped on the floor and it took root. Her children were excited that they would have a tree for Christmas. All summer long they made plans on how they would decorate the tree. They were very poor, so poor that they did not have anything to decorate the tree with. The widow went to bed on Christmas Eve knowing that the tree would not be decorated. Early on Christmas morning, the woman was awakened by her children. “Mother, mother wake up and see the tree it is beautiful!” The mother arose and saw that during the night a spider had spun a web around the tree. The youngest child opened the window to the first light of Christmas Day. As the shafts of the sun crept along the floor, it touched one of the threads of the spider web and instantly the web was changed into gold and silver. And from that day forward the widow never wanted for anything.
**Craft** Pipe cleaner spider: Take 2 (halved) glitter pipe cleaners and 2 (halved) black pipe cleaners and twist together. Bend legs.

Mexico: The festivities last from December 3rd (The feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe) to January 6th (The Epiphany) Businesses and homes alike are decorated with red flowers called poinsettias. Poinsettias originate from Mexico and have long been a part of the holiday season. In Mayan times, the poinsettia was called cuelaxochitl and was a symbol of the new life of fallen warriors.  
** Craft** Felt Poinsettia use small jingle bells.

Religious celebrations:
Chanukah:  is an eight day festival that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness. The holiday is celebrated beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month Kislev. Because the Jewish calendar is lunisolar (lunar cycle based months with leap months sometimes added to account for the longer solar year) Chanukah doesn’t begin on the same day every year on our calendar. 
To commemorate the success of the Jews against the ancient Greeks defilement of their temple, they light a candle on a menorah, a nine branched candelabra, successively (one the first night, two the second, until all eight are lit). The middle candle holder is for the shamash, helper candle.
**craft** paper dreidel

Yule: The winter solstice (December 21st this year) is the longest night of the year and is celebrated by pagans as the rebirth or welcoming back of the sun. Ancient Norse would set fire to a large wooden wheel and roll it down a hill to entice the sun to return.
Festivities encompass nature, promote kindness, and offer reflection of the balance of light and dark.
**craft** air dry cinnamon ornaments. CAUTION: cinnamon can cause sensitive skin to react.

Christmas: Christians celebrate the 25th as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Depending on the denomination and location around the globe, the holiday is celebrated in many ways. The story of Christ's birth is depicted by a nativity scene and is the basis of many Christmas carols. It is a time from renewed charity work.
**craft** Nativity sun catcher.

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