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Holiday Spirit Week

Learning About Holidays From All Over the World
It's crucial to teach kids that Christmas isn't the only holiday celebrated at this time of year. With the globe being as diverse as it is today, it is important to teach youngsters about the many festivals observed by other nations. Children who have an appreciation for the significance of other holidays are better able to understand and appreciate the beliefs and customs of others. Traditions help us understand how our society works, how to appreciate our own culture's past, and how to construct moral principles.
The eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew calendar month of Kislev, which corresponds to late November or early December in the Gregorian calendar. The eight-day Hanukkah festival will be celebrated this year from Sunday, December 22, through Wednesday, December 30. This festival honors the victory of a family of eight brothers who fought against the Syrians who had declared it illegal to observe Jewish rites by rededicating the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Jewish people celebrate by exchanging gifts, playing games (such as spinning a dreidel), lighting candles on a menorah, and eating dishes that have special religious meanings.
From December 26 to January 1, African-Americans and others around the world celebrate Kwanzaa, a festival honoring the contributions of Africans to America. The Swahili term "matunda ya kwanza" translates to "first fruits," which inspired Dr. Maulana Karenga, an Africana Studies professor at California State University, Long Beach, to develop the holiday now known as Kwanzaa. The celebration of African unity, history, and culture is rooted in long-held customs. During Kwanzaa, family and friends gather to celebrate with music, dance, food, and presents. In addition to the seven days of rest and remembrance, Kwanzaa honors the three basic colors of the Pan-African flag: red, black, and green. In Africa, the color green symbolizes the fertile land and the people, while red signifies the blood that binds the family tree.
An important festival in India, Diwali is celebrated over the course of five days. The lights represent the triumph of the holy figure Rama-chandra, who triumphed over the devils and inspired the celebration. Families spend the first two days of the holiday sprucing up their dwellings with decorations meant to bring in wealth and prosperity. Day three is dedicated to a festival, while Days four and five are spent paying family visits with food and gifts.
Lunar New Year
This time of year celebrates the beginning of a new lunar calendar and is celebrated all over the world as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year. Its origins can be traced back to China, hence the name "Chinese New Year." Nonetheless, several countries in East and Southeast Asia observe this holiday. The festival lasts for around 15 days and marks the start of the new year according to the traditional Chinese calendar. The Chinese zodiac has 12 animals, one for each year. Traditionally, the New Year's mascot is an animal chosen to represent and exemplify particular traits said to usher in prosperity in the next year. Festivities include hanging red paper lanterns and lights, feasting with loved ones, and exchanging presents.
At Jacob H. Schiff | P.S. 192, we welcome and celebrate the diversity of our students from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds, and faiths. Through engaging in meaningful projects, students in our classes are able to demonstrate their understanding of the world and appreciation for its variety. Since it helps them communicate more effectively and better prepares them for the real world, we stress the importance of cultural awareness and teaching our pupils to develop a fundamental respect for other cultures.