While driving my 5 year old son home from kindergarten yesterday, he pipes up from the backseat with the following question: “Why don’t Hanukkah people have Christmas trees?” “Well… uh, because your Jewish friends don’t celebrate Christmas…” But I knew my fumbling reply was simply not good enough. When I became a mother, I was determined that my children would understand as many aspects about this holiday season as they could. So after polishing up on my seasonal facts, I would like to share with you some information I’ve found online. I hope to teach my sons what this time of year means for children worldwide and of every religious background.
There is no doubt about it. When December begins in our country, it is very apparent that Christianity is the dominate faith as Christmas tends to deck each and every hall far and wide. My family is Christian but even I am often overwhelmed by all of it. However, as a result, it hasn’t taken much effort on my part for my sons to learn the traditions of Christmas. Most of my efforts have been recently spent on keeping their minds out of the Toys R Us catalog and into the spirit of Christmas – which can be a challenge.
Still, do my children know how other cultures celebrate Christmas? My son was amazed to see how differently some countries celebrate the holidays. And to hear that no, in fact, the Toys R Us catalog is not available world wide either. If you would like to educate your children further than the Toys R Us catalog too, I have found some very informative websites about how Christmas is spent around the world.
But what about the other holidays celebrated this time of year?
Let’s start with Hanukkah. My son does have a very general idea about this holiday since he has friends who celebrate it. Last year, we had the opportunity to have my son visit his friend’s house, play the dreidel game and check out a menorah – and I hope to do it again this year. Here are some sites where we can teach our children more about this magical celebration starting December 21st.
Kwanzaa, beginning on December 26th, is a holiday celebrated by many African American and African citizens. I have learned that each of the seven days celebrated represents seven important principles: Self Determination, Purpose, Creativity, Unity, Cooperative Work & Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, and Faith. Learn more about this fascinating holiday at the following sites:
December also marks important Muslim holidays as well. People of Muslim faith take these days to visit with family, exchange gifts and enjoy a wonderful feast. While celebrating with your Muslim friends or their children, here are some important days in December to remember:
- December 6th – 9th celebrates the Hajj which is the annual pilgramege to Mecca.
- December 8th is Eid-Ul-Adha and this Festival of Sacrafice begins a four day holiday.
- December 29th is Al-Hijira and marks the start of the Islamic New Year.
Here are some interesting website for children to learn more about the Hajj:
There is certainly a lot to celebrate this month. I hope everyone enjoys the start of a wonderful holiday season!
Cross posted at Type A Mom.