Around The World

Several faiths have significant holidays in December. Christmas falls on Dec. 25. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Many people exchange presents at Christmas, too. Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration that lasts eight days. Some Hanukkah customs include eating potato pancakes, or latkes, and playing with a dreidel, a spinning top with Hebrew letters on it. Many people also give gifts at Hanukkah. Kwanzaa is a celebration that honors African-American culture and heritage. It lasts from Dec. 26 to Jan 1. Kwanzaa focuses on seven principles. They are: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.Days to remember in DecemberThe tradition of oral storytelling is as old as language itself. Cultures all over the world have unique traditions of passing down stories for generations. Many of these stories share similar themes, like how the world was created, and tell the of the adventures of heroes and gods. These stories are not just for entertainment, they also provide a way for cultures to pass on important information – like advice about how to survive.

If a tribe survives a terrible drought by eating a specific bush, they may add this information into a story so that future generations will know how to survive a similar drought. Embedding this information into stories that are passed down from generation to generation helps to make sure the information is not lost. Layering it in stories, instead of just making long lists, makes it easier to remember specific details, and it makes the information more interesting for children to learn. Native American stories can be broken into eight different types.

  • Lessons: These stories describe why the world and society are the way they are.
  • Instructions from spirit mentors: These stories help tribes maintain their religious rituals.
  • Descriptions of natural processes: These stories pass down knowledge about how the natural world works and include things like water cycles and the life cycles of plants.
  • Survival accounts tell stories about hunting, gathering and farming. They contain information to help future generations collect, prepare and eat food.
  • Oral maps for travel preserve information about the tribe’s long journeys, migrations and holy journeys.
  • There are also symbolic stories, adventure stories and magical tales of transformation that all explore the tribe’s history and the mystery of what it means to be human.

Days to remember in December
Several faiths have significant holidays in December.

Christmas falls on Dec. 25. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Many people exchange presents at Christmas, too.

Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration that lasts eight days. Some Hanukkah customs include eating potato pancakes, or latkes, and playing with a dreidel, a spinning top with Hebrew letters on it. Many people also give gifts at Hanukkah.

Kwanzaa is a celebration that honors African-American culture and heritage. It lasts from Dec. 26 to Jan 1. Kwanzaa focuses on seven principles. They are: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith

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