Friday, October 31, 2014

Celebrations Around The World

On Friday afternoon, we learned that many countries all around the world celebrate holidays similar to our Halloween. Some of their traditions are very closely linked to the ones we follow, and some are very different. These are the traditions we took a closer look at: 

All Saint's Day- England 

In England, they celebrate All Saint's Day to celebrate the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter and also celebrate the spirits of their loved ones. One tradition they take part in that is very similar to our Jack-O-Lantern tradition is carving "Punkies." Punkies are actually beets or turnips that get carved in the same way that we carve our pumpkins! We designed our own punkies at Center 1. 

Obon Matsuri- Japan

Obon  (also known as the Ghost Festival) is a Japanese Buddhist festival that celebrates the spirits of loved ones who have passed away. It is celebrated in August, and bright red lanterns are hung everywhere so the spirits can be guided home to their loved ones. We created our own red lanterns and talked about how it is a happy celebration because it is a spiritual family reunion! 

Dia de Los Muertos-Mexico

Dia de Los Muertos (Day of The Dead in English) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and many other countries across the world. The  holiday is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd, and families honor their loved ones by decorating their homes with altars, banners, marigolds, Calaveras de Azucar (Sugar Skulls), and making various foods such as Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead) as offerings to the deceased. We celebrated by decorating our own sugar skulls with lots of bright colors! 

Halloween, or All Hallow's Eve- Ireland 

All Hallow's Eve or Halloween in Ireland is celebrated very similarly to our Halloween in the U.S. because it is where our Halloween originated from! Children in Ireland also dress up and go door to door saying "trick or treat!" and "Help the Halloween Party!" They play a game called "Snap Apple" which is very similar to our Doughnuts on a String game, where children will try to take bites out of apples that are suspended by strings from the ceiling. We played our own version of their card game, where a coin is hidden under one of three cards (or in our case, one of three bowls) and someone has to try to guess which card (or bowl) the coin is hiding beneath once the bowls are shifted and shuffled. 

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