Celebrating Around the World
Holidays and Festivals
- Africa, Asia, Central America and Mexico, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, South America, Albania, China, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Malawi, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Swaziland, Thailand
- Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8
- Cross-Cultural Understanding, Foreign Language, Language Arts & Literature, Religion, Social Studies & Geography
- 1-2 class periods
In this unit, students will learn about and reflect on ceremonies and celebrations around the world.
- Research fesitvals from around the world using the Internet.
- Synthesize world celebrations into a comprehensive calendar
The blog "11 Fesitivals You Might See as a Peace Corps Volunteer" from Peace Corps Passport
Where I Come From Lesson Plan
World Wise Schools' Celebrations Webinar
Stories from World Wise Schools about celebrations and traditions:
- Letters from Mali: Death is a Celebration
- To Your Health
- The Eve of the Festival of Ramadan
- Tislet and Isli
- The Legend of the Mid-Autumn Festival
- Mr. John and the Day of Knowledge
- A Day
- The Death of Old Woman Kelema
1. Teach the Lesson "Where I Come From" to give students an opportunity to consider their own traditions and celebrations.
2. After students have generated their own ideas about celebrations, share the blog "11 Festivals You Might See as a Peace Corps Volunteer" with students, either by projecting it or by having them read it themselves on a computer or printed out. Educators may also use other resources to identify holidays and festivals, such as the Interfaith Calendar, the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Madison calendar, or any of the stories linked above.
3. Break students into groups, and assign each group one holiday or festival to research. Have each group use the Internet to learn more about their assigned celebration, starting by finding the country on a map. Ask students to record key facts and information about the festival they are researching, including:
- The history of the tradition or celebration
- When the celebration occurs – if it falls at a specific time, include the time of year or date, and the season
- The importance of the celebration
4. Once research is complete, bring students together. Ask each group to share their findings.
5. As a class, create a large calendar – either on chart paper or a computer. Organize and record all of the festivals and celebrations on the calendar. If a celebration does not fall on a specific date (a baptism or wedding, for example), include them at the bottom or on a separate chart. Students may add their own celebrations or traditions they developed in the first step.
6. As a class, discuss any patterns or observations - including similarities and differences - about the large celebrations calendar.
Frameworks & Standards
- Why are these celebrations significant to culture?
- What role to celebrations, festivals, traditions, and holidays play in our lives?
- What similarities and differences in th
Language Arts Standards
- NL.ENG.K-12.2 Understanding the human experience
- NL.ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
- NL.ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies
- NL.ENG.K-12.8 Developing research skills
- NL.ENG.K-12.9 Multi-cultural understanding
- NS.5-8.6 Personal and social perspectives
- NSS-G.K-12.1 The world in spatial terms
- NSS-G.K-12.2 Places and regions
- NSS-G.K-12.4 Human systems
- NSS-G.K-12.5 Environment and society
- NA.5-8.9 Understanding music in relation to history and culture.
Visual Arts Standards
- NA-VA.5-8.4 Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Make a picture book that includes an illustration of photo of each celebration or festival on one side with a paragraph summarizing the celebrations chart information and a map showing the location of the country on the other side.
Poster or Travel Brochure
Visually represent a country's celebration in a travel brochure or poster format with captions for each picture and category. Convince a friend or family member to visit that country to take part in the celebration in person.
Design a craft that younger students can make as a memento of each of the country's celebrations.
Develop ways to allow students to respectfully reenact some of the celebrations.