What *extra* holidays do you celebrate?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
What *extra* holidays do you celebrate?
21
Sun, 03-02-2008 - 7:18am

In reading "Growing up with Two Languages", I've been really enjoying a section about helping your children not only to be bilingual but bicultural as well. Thinking on that, I've decided to take a break from the "how do you say **" thread to do cultural sharing; of which language is just a part.


I've started files labeled "German cultural info", "Japanese cultural info" and "bilingual work". My first thing is to "find holidays that are celebrated in those cultures that aren't celebrated in US". I need to find out the date & traditions for "Children's Day", which I know used to be called "Boy's Day".


The fact I can share is that in Germany, the Christmas celebrations are more than just one day. I don't remember the other 2 important days (I'll be looking them up and putting them in the German file :D) but the thing that got me giggling was that the German kids put their socks up by the fireplace for Santa to file earlier in the month, like the 16th, but he still comes for Christmas day :D

Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 9yr old hydrogen molecule.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-06-2004
Wed, 03-05-2008 - 12:42am

I think this is such a great idea!

As the years pass, and I'm so far away from family, I've noticed that I've paid more attention to traditions or cultural celebrations. It's not that I'm very religious or superstitious, but I think it's a way for me to "preserve" or learn more about my cultures (thanks to which I've learnt different languages). I'm definitely planning to teach my children about them.

Joelle - I just thought. Maybe search online for blogs of US expat in Germany or Japan. Or of German/Japanese people living in the US. Some of them talk about differences of cultures or celebration of their holidays. You might be able to find more info. GL!

-Sophie




Bilingual Families


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Wed, 03-05-2008 - 8:17am

Well on German traditions, I'm only the 2nd generation of my family on my dad's side of the family born in the US, so it's easy for me to get info there. But yes, I've been meaning to get to blogs about Japan and such. There I have the boon of my ESL student. I was talking about Japanese culture a bit with her; she pronounced the Japanese words for Boy's Day and Girl's day for me and talked about the carp kites.


But I do want to study up more on the Bavaria region of Germany; that's where my grandma came from. Since she was only 3 when she came here, she's starting to forget but she still does have quite a few stories. I'm really hoping to get my German better and see if we can't go visit relatives in the Port Huron area. I'm not sure if any of the ones I remember speaking German as a kid are still alive, but it would be great to see if any other cousins managed to pass German. Out of my grandma's 4 children, only 1 (my Uncle Al) retained German. As far as I know, no one in my generation of our family kept German.


I definitely want Finn to have a better grasp of "where we came from" than I got. My upbringing was too monocultural American for my taste.

Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 9yr old hydrogen molecule.

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Love and Light, Joelle
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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2006
Wed, 03-05-2008 - 11:20pm

Hi Joelle! I think you are referring to St Nicholas Day. It's December 6, that's when German kids are expecting sweets from St Nick. I am not sure what other holidays are widely celebrated. In Cologne where my BIL family lives the Carnaval before Lent is really big. It's similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. In my husbands' family they are really big on Christmas, but it's not really celebrated for more than a day. The exchange of presents happens on 24th, but the rest is the same. Well, my BIL birthday is on Dec 25th, so there is an extra day of celebration, but for a different reason.


In my culture (Russian) there are some holidays that are important, like End of Winter celebration or May Day (by the way, it's also celebrated in Germany), but I don't think that we will be celebrating them as a family. I can tell you one American holiday that I wish we could skip - Valentine's Day. I have nothing against love, but I just find this holiday cheesy and somehow pressured.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Thu, 03-06-2008 - 7:31am

I agree on Valentine's day. We don't *do* it. With my son being homeschooled, there's no pressure to have those silly little cards and candy and such. And I don't like chocolate, except on the first day of my period until the Midol starts working lol


Yes, St. Nicholas' Day. Thanks, I'd started looking the other day online, but ugh, the German holiday sites tend to be a mess on contradictory info. I've been considering doing or at least studying Karnival, but not being Christian, it would feel weird to me, I think.


Does the Russian end of winter celebration have a name? I wouldn't be surprised if most cultures have such a holiday. I need to make plans to do something for the Spring Equinox. My ex is Wiccan and while we were together we agreed to raise my son Wiccan, but since we divorced, my ex hasn't done a thing in that regard and I haven't been Wiccan in years.

Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 9yr old hydrogen molecule.

Do you homeschool??? Please join me in chat!
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Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 11yr old hydrogen molecule.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2004
Fri, 03-07-2008 - 9:05am

Well I am living in Germany and can tell you the December ones. December 6th is St Nicholas Day. Children normally put their boots outside the door and they are filled with treats or (this is where it conflicts) I think something like switches or what we think of as coal...of course kids never get that anyway. When I was in 2nd grade we actually did this and other holiday celebrations in school. This one I remember because it


Lilypie Zweiter Ticker
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Fri, 03-07-2008 - 10:09am
danke :) I added your comments to my "German cultural stuff" file :D Of course, with an ex-dh and my family of origin living 2.5 hrs away, it might be tricky.
Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 9yr old hydrogen molecule.

Do you homeschool??? Please join me in chat!
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Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 11yr old hydrogen molecule.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-04-2003
Sun, 03-09-2008 - 3:28pm

Hmm, I know Finland has some holidays and important dates that are not celebrated in the US, it's just a matter of thinking what. :)

Holidays:
May Day/Vappu (May 1st) - Finland's labor day
On Vappu people drink like crazy. :( But we also drink Sima (a mead), quite often homemade and
MidSummer/Juhannus - Midsummer
Very huge thing here. Being so far north summer and day light are important. Big bonfires are lit all up and down the coast at midnight.

On Easter we get a 4 day weekend.. with Good Friday/Pitkäperjanti (long friday) and Easter Monday/2. pääsiäispöivä (2nd easter day)
For easter many of us eat Mämmi (a dark brown porridge made of water and sweetened rye malt) and we have witches around this time of the year. :)

Here's 2 links that explain the basics of many holidays:
http://www.prodanto.net/holidays.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_holidays_in_Finland

And...
By law, the Finnish flag must be flown from public buildings on the following days:

* February 28, day of Kalevala; the occasion is also celebrated as the Day of Finnish culture
* May 1, Vappu, the Day of Finnish Labour
* Second Sunday in May, Mother's Day
* June 4, birthday of Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland; the occasion is also celebrated as the Flag Day of the Finnish Defence Forces
* Saturday between June 20 and 26 June, Midsummer Day; the occasion is also celebrated as the Day of the Finnish Flag. The flag is hoisted on Midsummer eve and flown all night.
* December 6, Independence Day
* Days when Finland holds parliamentary and local elections, elections to the European Parliament, or a referendum
* The day the President of Finland is inaugurated
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_days_in_Finland
http://www.finnguide.fi/calendar/flagdays.asp


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Sun, 03-09-2008 - 8:50pm
wow thanks for the links and all that fascinating info. I'll have to show Finn your post when he gets home from his visit to my parents'; he finally admits that Finland is a real country, since we've been studying Scandanavia in geography, but he still gets all embarrassed about the name.
Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 9yr old hydrogen molecule.

Do you homeschool??? Please join me in chat!
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Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 11yr old hydrogen molecule.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2004
Mon, 03-10-2008 - 5:44am

Well the extra day of Christmas is pretty easy to celebrate. Here it is nice because it is a holiday and not a shopping day as in the US.


Easter seems to be fairly big here too, I see all the different eggs to hang on trees and such. Not sure if they do easter baskets. Though I think this is just a cute tradition and may end up doing it anyway. I will test it out with getting


Lilypie Zweiter Ticker
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-14-2003
Mon, 03-10-2008 - 8:07am

I don't remember anything about Easter baskets in Germany; even when I was little, my grandma who came here when she was 3 still talked about them as if they were some weird US creation.


We'll probably at least mark and/or talk about Unity Day. My family came from Bavaria, but all the members of our favorite German rock band came from the former east and I've talked with Finn about how the leader singer says something's differently than my grandma because of dialect.


Yup, it's interesting working out culture in a mixed family. I really wanted to get both German and Japanese culture going this year. I need to get books about Japanese Children's day soon since it's coming before any specifically German holidays

Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 9yr old hydrogen molecule.

Do you homeschool??? Please join me in chat!
Sunday night from 9-11pm EST in the Homeschooling Chatroom or join PST people from 9-11pm PST.

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Love and Light, Joelle
Homeschooling mom to a 11yr old hydrogen molecule.

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