Ahhh it’s that time of year everyone just loves: the winter holidays seem to bring out the best in people. That peppermint latte must put a spring in everyone’s step. Or perhaps it’s the sugar cookies, posole or the garland giving everyone the warm fuzzies. Whatever the cause, we all just love it, don’t we?
In addition to being a season of smiles and snuggly sweaters, the winter holidays give educators a chance to bring the world to their classroom. Today’s post, along with Katrina’s invaluable piece on celebrating multiculturalism during the holidays (click here to read!), will help you engage your classroom kids in meaningful and constructive conversation about holidays from around the world while munching on Bizcochitos! Click here for a recipe and a mini-history lesson of New Mexico’s State Cookie. Yes, we have a State Cookie, don’t be too jealous.
Las Posadas celebrates the journey Mary and Joseph took to find the inn in order to give birth to Jesus. A traditional Mexican (and New Mexican) holiday–a conglomerate of an ancient Aztec holiday and Roman Catholic beliefs–Las Posadas involve the whole community. Numerous actors (often times children) portray Mary and Joseph, angels and townspeople. Mary and Joseph go through town knocking on each door asking for shelter (posada); they are denied at every turn until they come to the designated house and are accepted as guests. The festivities begin! Singing, dancing, eating, hitting the piñata and reflecting on this centuries old cultural holiday.
- Scholastic has a great lesson plan on Las Posadas for grades Pre-K through K.
- Another great idea from Scholastic is to have your classroom kids write about their favorite holiday, what it means to them, how they celebrate it at home. If you have your kids present their favorite holidays to each other, or put them up in the classroom, it will garner a great discussion on cultural diversity. Maybe the lesson could be extended to having kids bring in something from home that signifies their favorite holiday tradition.
UPDATE: The two videos below are no longer available at the links we provided, we’re trying to see if we can find them somewhere else. For now, check out What are Las Posadas? This is how we celebrate in Los Angeles or The Other Side of the Tortilla for two other kid friendly Las Posadas videos.
- A quick little Disney YouTube video gives an easy-to-understand run-down of Las Posadas.
- And of course, an upbeat kids version of the song the processional sings, maybe fun to play while your kids are working on their favorite holiday writing!
As Katrina mentioned in her post, holidays give educators and parents a great framework in which to discuss variations and similarities among cultures. We don’t need to shy away from them simply because they have a religious connection; rather, we can focus on the culture behind various celebrations and how religion and culture are intertwined and ingrained.
-Enjoying Posole and Bizcochitos,
UPDATE: For those of you interested in more resources for teaching about Las Posadas, you may want to check out our other posts on the topic:
- ¡Mira, Look!
- En la Clase: Literature for Teaching About Las Posadas
- En la Clase: More Resources for Teaching about Las Posadas
Or click here to see all of our posts on Las Posadas.