Cinco de Mayo Celebration and the Influence of Mexican Culture in the U.S.

Cinco de Mayo - Celebration of the Influence of Mexican Culture in the U.S. - Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes on Multicultural Kid BlogsPer a report on Business Insider, Mexicans are amongst the largest ancestry groups in the United States.  Mexicans come in 4th place with a whopping 31+ million Mexicans living in the US. With Germans, Black/African Americans, and Irish preceding in the first three places.

Contributions of the Mexican culture in the American culture are very palpable. We can find Mexican influences in our food, such as the creation of Tex-Mex, a cuisine that combines U.S. food products with culinary creations of Mexican-Americans influenced by Mexican cuisine. Did you know that nachos and flour tortillas are not Mexican, but a Tex-Mex creation very popular in the United States?

Who hasn’t seen a piñata at a birthday party? Birthday party celebrations with a piñata can be seen in almost every birthday party across the country, even in non-Mexican households. The piñata is a typical Mexican tradition, but has become a part of birthday traditions in the U.S.

 Mexico as well as many Latin American countries celebrate a girl’s 15th birthday with a  “Quinceañera” party, and it is very popular in the United States. The best part is that girls can pick either a “Quinceañera “(Mexican/Latin tradition) or a “Sweet 16″ (U.S. tradition).

Mexican culture also brings the Spanish language. The Spanish language is also gaining popularity as a 2nd or 3rd language to be learned in the United States. This is especially true as employers are seeking more and more English/Spanish bilingual employees.

We can also find a long list of well-known Mexican-Americans whose contributions to the arts, sports, literature, and entertainment have been noticeable. Such as, Freddy Sánchez and Oscar De La Hoya in sports; George Lopez and Anthony Quinn in the entertainment business; Pat Mora in children’s literature; Gilbert Luján in the arts; and last but not least, Jorge Ramos, a renowned journalist. These are just a few of many influential Mexican-Americans. You can see the full list here.

Thus, celebrating Cinco de Mayo has become a major holiday in the United States. It is also a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. It is observed nationwide in the United States on May 5th, and it commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

You can read more on the Battle of Puebla on Mommy Maestra’s website where she gives us a brief background, and an explanation on why we should celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Thinking about a lesson plan on Cinco de Mayo? Look no further, you can purchase A Bilingual Minibook on Cinco De Mayo.  It is perfect for 2nd grade through 5th grade, and homeschoolers.

Speaking of celebrations!  A group of multicultural moms share how they celebrate Cinco de Mayo with their families:

Becky from Kid World Citizen has a delicious recipe on Mexican enchiladas Suizas that will make your mouth water!

For a delicious dessert try this Mini Tres Leches by Mari from Inspired by Familia.  Add this dessert to your Cinco de Mayo menu, and it will be a hit with both grown-ups and children!

Making a simple paper piñata from Toddling In The Fast Lane is perfect for preschoolers, and a great conversation starter about Mexican culture.

Jennifer from The Good Long Road brings you painting a mural inspired by the children’s book Diego Rivera His World and Ours by Duncan Tonatiuh, and how about, eat, move, and draw activities from the children’s book  My Abuelita by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Yuri Morales. 

Mari from Inspired by Familia shares a wonderful post on celebrating beyond the sombreros and donkeys with a round-up of activities. My favorite is the make your own Mexican pyramid.

Cinco de Mayo Activities and Crafts beyond Sombreros and Donkeys

Another wonderful way to celebrate is by hosting a cultural play date in your homeFrances from Discovering The World Through Her Son’s Eyes shares the children’s book: Cinco de Mouse-o by Judy Cox and Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the Mexican Hat Dance by Alma F. Ada & F. Isabel Campoy paired with a Mexican flag craft, music, and food.

Carrie from Crafty Moms Share makes papel picado a Mexican folk art. This is a great activity to do with your children to decorate for Cinco de Mayo.

You can also make your own beautiful Mexican Folk Art bowlsMari from Inspired by Familia offers simple instructions to make this masterpiece at home.

permanent marker drawing on dishes

¡Feliz Día de Cinco de Mayo! 

Cheers to Mexican Culture, and its influence in the US!

Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes

Frances is a part-time blogger, mommy and wife of a beautiful multicultural familia.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a certification in Human Resources.  She blogs about  heritage, culture, bilingualism, multicultural children’s books, and discovering the world through her son’s eyes.  You can follow her at Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes.

Do you have a kid-centered post on Cinco de Mayo? Please feel free to link-up!

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Songkran: Happy Thai New Year! {Multilingual Mama}

Thailand celebrates three New Years: The Gregorian, The Chinese, and Songkran (or Thai New Year). When it comes to the first two New Years, I want nothing more than to sleep through the celebrations -or I would if I wasn’t systematically woken up by the crowds lighting rockets and dime-store fireworks, playing Russian roulette with their fingers’ future. But Songkran is different and no matter where I live, I want to celebrate this Thai Buddhist holiday.

Songkran is often billed as Thailand’s water festival but that is a grossly inadequate description; it’s like calling Easter the egg holiday. Perhaps coloured eggs and baskets laden with chocolate bunnies are plastered everywhere for weeks on end but that isn’t the reason for the holiday. Same goes for water pistols and Songkran. That said, I recommend you buy waterproof pouches for phones and wallets as you will get SOAKED!

Our kids post-bucket of ice water pored over their heads while our open-truck hotel transfer was stopped at a red light:

Kids drenched with Water, Songkran in Thailand

The word Songkran is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning moving/changing and refers to the sun moving to a new constellation. So this actually happens 12 times a year. In Thailand’s case, the “Grand Songkran” is when the sun moves from Aries into Taurus and is considered the solar new year and a time for renewal. Unlike Easter whose date varies from year to year, the holiday is now pegged to April 13-15 which definitely simplifies planning to enjoy or avoid, as many do.

The origins of Songkran are about cleansing and renewal. Many of the rituals involve water. Here’s what we’ve learned so far. This list is not exhaustive:

  • Cleaning your house:  In addition to a deep thorough clean to rid your house of any bad spirits and negativity. Some will even set off rockets to chase away evil spirits. (New Years and fireworks seem to inherently go hand in hand).
  • Cleansing Buddha: One should clean any representations of Buddha with water —usually perfumed with flowers. You will see shrines set up all around town; even our local supermarket sets one up. They have will have a decorative bowl, usually with some intricate metal work, filled with water and flowers and a little cup to allow you to wash the Buddha and pay your respects.
  • Paying respect to your elders: This is done by sprinkling scented water on your elders’ hands. I have yet to witness this ritual, and I’ve read that it is falling out of practice. Perhaps it is happening in the privacy of people’s homes. Another facet is asking for elders’ blessings, which leads me to why you will see people with white faces.
  • Being marked with white paste/powder: As I’ve understood it, part of the Songkran tradition is when monks and elders mark the faces of those paying respect. It is considered a blessing and protection. Nowadays it can be a total free for all. In some places, people are respectful and will ask you before marking you —or drenching you— others, not so much. A cynical friend of mine called it an excuse to ‘grope’ you. Like so many big festivals, you have to embrace the good and avoid as much as possible the less appealing aspects.
  • Merit-making:  These take different forms but the most common merit making is bringing food, either to monks collecting alms, or directly to the temple. As with your elders, people will also wash the monks’ hands. People also bring sand to construct small Chedis, also knowns as stupas, which are ornamental pagodas used to house Buddhist relics and monks’ ashes.
Chedis shot by my friend Sarah Thompson.

Chedis, photographed by my friend Sarah Thompson.

  • Another merit-making activity I’ve read about is releasing any animals kept in captivity, usually birds. Thais do seem to love their caged birds. And all my neighbors still have their dogs so I am guessing this really does hold just for winged creatures. I also wasn’t brutally woken up by this one very loud – bordering on obnoxious – bird one family keeps behind our house. Sadly, these remain largely symbolic as I’ve already cycled past more caged birds, and we’ve barely turned the page on this year’s Songkran festivities.
  • Water: Nothing says so fresh and so clean as a good dousing of water. What likely started as a light sprinkling now can be someone with a garden hose, taking you down. It’s a good thing April is peak hot season and probably why this aspect was allowed to evolve to such extremes. I am going to go out on a limb here and state that ice-cubes are totally unnecessary. Also firing jets of waters at motorbikes is definitely going to help keep Thailand in poll position for global road fatalities.
  • Hawaiian shirts: If you’re anything like me and prone to missing the arrival of major holidays — Spot the person who just found out Easter is 2 days away — you’ll know Songkran is around the corner when in addition to water pistols, Hawaiian-styled shirts appear everywhere. And if people are wearing them, watch out, Songkran has kicked off!

One final bit of Songkran Lore: It wouldn’t be spring/Easter time without a good corpse story. There is a legend associated with this holiday. It’s about a god who made a bet with a young – some say arrogant boy – and lost. The price for losing was cutting off his head. The problem is that the head, being a god’s head and all, had some mighty powers. If it touched the ground, the earth would catch fire. On that same apocalyptic note, if left in the air — and I haven’t figured out how that happens — no rain would fall. Songkran also marks the end of the dry season and concerns around lack of water are apparent in this legend as should it drop into the sea, the oceans would dry up.

Conveniently the god had seven daughters – one for each day of the week – who take care of holding their father’s head.  Depending on which day Songkran falls, the appropriate daughter has to bring the head down and parade it through the streets. And here is our parade element coupled with beauty pageants to pick a woman to represent the daughter.

I love the traditional values of cleansing and respect found in Songkran, and we will continue to celebrate this with our children, though I plan on leaving out the god-head story for the time being. Of course, “water-wars” do happen and, as you saw from an earlier picture, many have a take no prisoner approach to who they target so it is best to be prepared.

Children with Water Pistols, Songkran, TailandHere’s one from the archive of my two banshees with their Mickey Mouse and Doraemon water pistols. Don’t let the cute cartoon characters lull you into a false sense of security. They are the Meridas of the water pistol world!

Author’s note: One of my babes was ill this year, limiting my photo-taking abilities. I’ve created a Songkran Pinterest board with some classic Songkran scenes described above.

Cordelia- Multilingual MamaBorn in New York back when subway graffiti was rife, Cordelia Newlin de Rojas mostly spends her time pondering, parenting, and writing. Franco-American, she spent her summers in the Loire indulging in heart-arresting foods. An eclectic background ranging from Japanese art and postal history to environmental social innovations and rigging dinghies has taken her to England, Turkey, Singapore and now Thailand, where she resides with her Mexican husband and their two daughters. She is attempting to raise and homeschool trilingual kids in Spanish, French and English with some Thai thrown in. She can also be found blogging at multilingualmama.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: The Birth of a Family

In honor of Multicultural Kid Blogger’s Virtual Baby Shower, the bloggers of MKB wanted to celebrate by showcasing the birth of our family. From marriage to adoption, the birth of one’s family is displayed in various ways. But one thing is certain, what makes us all complete is the unity and love that exists within family.

From our MKB family to yours…

multicultural kid bloggersVarya from Creative World of Varya displays how families are born and grow…

Our family was born in 2008 when we got married and had our first child. 6 years later, we are expecting baby # 3 and growing along with our children both emotionally and spiritually.

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Eolia of La Cité des Vents shows how families evolve…

We were already a family since the moment I gave birth to Gabriel, but with the arrival of Sophie, the dynamic changed… for the better! My son started to love his sister when we told him he was going to be a big brother, and it grew stronger when he met her three hours after she was born.

IMG_2076Olga of European Mama speaks of the beauty of family and her wonderful son…

Birth of a Family is a beautiful, wonderful topic and definitely one that I’d like to contribute to. Almost exactly a year ago, our son was born and he made our little family complete- so it’s birth of a family as it is supposed to be.

MeetingTonitoBecky of Kid World Citizen is a happy, beautiful example of the varying ways a family is birthed. From the womb or through adoption, the birth of her family evolves….

The day we met Tonito.

Rey's BirthKristen of Toddling in the Fast Lane describes the home water birth of her child…

Since I just gave birth that’s what I think of.  I was so glad to have my family around me as we welcomed a new member and a new phase in our lives.

RSV-prevention-dsm2012-1Vanessa of De Su Mama: Building a Multiracial Legacy says…

I always knew I would have two kids, and when my son was born looking so much like my husband, I felt completed. Like my family has just been born.

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Insights from an Adoptive Mom {Multicultural Kid Blogs Virtual Baby Shower}

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This post is part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Virtual Baby Shower.  For more information and to link up your own baby posts, see the end of this page.

On February 13, 2009, I held my daughter for the first time. She was born 2 days late, after an uneventful (but ridiculously long) labor and nine months of throwing up 15-20 times a day. She was a petite 7 lbs, healthy and beautiful — with her dad’s blue eyes and my long lashes.

On March 4, 2013, I held my son for the first time. At exactly nine months old, he came to us after spending the past 7 months alternating between a Congolese orphanage and hospital, where he was repeatedly treated for chronic malaria. He was just under 12 pounds — with the dimples, brown eyes and chocolate-colored skin of another. He was beautiful.

Insights from an Adoptive Mom: Africa to America {Multicultural Kid Blogs Virtual Baby Shower}The adoption journey was the hardest thing ever. I’m pretty sure any adoptive parent would tell you the same thing. I spent 7 months of my life as a Crazed Person — a Crazed Person pretending to get up to pee at 2 am only to sneak off and check my phone for e-mails from the Congolese embassy (it was 10 am Congo time, okay?), asking random strangers with baby boys how much they weighed and — if said stranger reported a weight similar to the latest update of my son’s stats — could I HOLD THEIR BABY (it’s true). It was the longest 7 months of my life while I was in it and now I think of it as this gigantic blur. I’m not even sure what happened during that 7 months. My 3-year-old pretty much got herself from age 3 to 4 on her own. I just remember doing a lot of paperwork, crying a lot, feeling sick with worry and reading The Connected Child.

I’m not sure why anyone who knew me during that time is still friends with me. But believe it or not — they are. I had the most amazing group of friends who walked with me during my life as a Crazy Person (Truth: I’m still crazy because now I’m PARENTING that kiddo I fought so hard to bring home). These friends prayed with and for me, cried with me, threw showers for our son, held fundraisers to help us with adoption costs, came to the airport at 3 in the morning to meet him, and then brought us meals for a month. For real.

Now that I’ve been an adoptive parent for 13 months, I am Wise and All-Knowing (insert sarcastic snort here). I’ve had plenty of failures, challenges mixed in with huge blessings and awesomeness, so I’m going to share with you, adoptive families and friends of adoptive families, what I’ve learned. So that you can be Wiser and More All-Knowing than I have been.

For the adoptive families:

  • The wait is SO HARD. But you knew that already. Having a child in someone else’s care while you have no due date just plain stinks. It’s okay to be angry and mad and sad and frustrated. I really have no advice for how to get through this part because I was terrible at it. All I can tell you is that I GET IT. Solidarity.
  • I’m telling you this because I love you: the hard doesn’t end when your child gets home. You are parenting a child from a hard place — whether that child is 9 months old or 9 years old. Your precious little one may struggle with attachment and put up walls to protect himself from being abandoned again. Your child from another country may be completely FREAKED OUT by all these white people speaking a strange language in a strange house and may try to run away. Your malnourished baby may have serious food issues and scream and cry whenever you feed him, throwing up from stuffing himself too full but still clutching to the remaining piece of bread on his plate and sobbing hysterically. Seek out resources for your child in the form of attachment therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, English tutors, or WHATEVER else your child needs. They will help your child AND they will help equip you to parent your child.
  • You may struggle with attachment with your child and with Post Adoption Depression (it’s a real thing, friend). You may feel guilt and shame that you aren’t happier after the child you’ve been longing for for months or years is home with you. You may struggle to feel connected to a child who is resisting your love and attention. You may feel isolated and alone because you don’t have other friends who have adopted and they just don’t get it. Seek out those adoptive parents who get it. They may not live in your community, but there are plenty of Facebook, Yahoo and Google groups along with conferences and camps for adoptive families. It is so wonderfully refreshing and encouraging to meet other parents who can not only advise but also commiserate. Take time for yourself to do things you like to do. See a therapist if you need to work through your own grief and attachment challenges.
  • Part of becoming an adoptive parent means that you will grieve with and for your child’s losses. Our little boy came to us young and is ridiculously happy 99.99999% of the time. But every now and then there will be an event that triggers him — most recently a blood draw — and I will see in his eyes grief and pain and hollowness that is beyond his years and beyond anything I can describe. These moments pierce me through, and all I can do is hold him close and tell him how much I love him until the sadness subsides.
  • Be open in talking about adoption around and with all your kiddos. Read books that encourage dialogue about birth families and adoption. Honor your child’s birth mother and father on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
  •  Incorporate your child’s culture by celebrating holidays from his birth country, learning to cook a few native dishes and providing him with some keepsakes from home. Always speak of his birth country with respect.

For friends of adoptive families:

  • During your friend’s wait, please ask her about her child. Ask her to see the latest picture and give you the latest update. She’s an expectant mommy without the bulging belly to give her away — so she doesn’t get to talk about her “pregnancy” very much. Treat her like you would any other expectant mommy! Pray for her little one’s health, throw her a shower and bring her meals when her child comes home.
  • Remember that your friend is parenting a traumatized child. This is life-changing for her. She may take the first few months to “cocoon” in her house with her family as they work to attach to their new child. Her schedule may change. A LOT. She may suddenly parent differently in a way that seems indulgent to you but is actually necessary to help her child heal. Show her love and understanding, even if you don’t always get why she’s doing what she’s doing. Give her an extra measure of patience. And grace. Lots of grace.
  • Remember that your friend’s child is grieving the loss of his first family and perhaps his first country. Refrain from saying anything such as, “You’re so lucky to have a family!” or “You’re so lucky to be in America!” Try to use empowering statements such as, “Your parents are so lucky to have you!”
  • Help with respite, if you’re willing and able. It took almost seven months before I could take our son to the grocery store because viewing that much food in one place when he had once starved was simply too much to handle. I was so grateful to the friends who came and stayed with the kids during nap times so I could run to the grocery store.
  • If we have become an interracial family, we would love it if you could build diversity awareness in your own home. If you provide your children with multiracial dolls, books, toys and artwork, it helps our adopted kids feel more comfortable in your home and less like a novelty, while also instilling compassion and insight in your own children. Win-win.

To both adoptive parents and the friends who know them: though there are challenges and changes in your life, you will be so enriched and expanded through this process. Three years ago, I’m not sure that I could have told you much about the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now, I could prattle of the history, whip you up my favorite Congolese dishes and tell you all about which humanitarian organizations are doing fantastic and reputable work.

All because of a little boy that I’m blessed to call my son.

Africa to AmericaCarly Seifert is a piano teacher and mother of two kiddos (ages 5 and 1). She blogs at Africa to America, where she writes about adoption, multiculturalism, serving with her kids and anything else that strikes her fancy. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.

Multicultural Kid Blogs - Virtual Baby ShowerAt Multicultural Kid Blogs, we consider ourselves a (very large) extended family, and so today we are taking time to celebrate those members that are about to or have recently welcomed new little ones into their lives.  We are so happy for them!

Our Guests of Honor: We are thrilled to share in the joy of the following members as they welcome new little ones into their families: Melissa of Vibrant Wanderings, Annabelle of the piri-piri lexicon, Varya of Creative World of Varya, Carly of Africa to America, Jonathan of dad’s the way I like it, Kristen of Toddling in the Fast Lane, Juliette of The Art of Home Education, JJ of Simply Multicultural, and Kali of For the Love of Spanish.

The co-hosts of this blog hop, listed below, have each written posts related to baby showers or more generally about becoming parents, plus we’d love for you to link up yours below.

Also be sure to visit our Facebook page to leave your advice and well wishes for our guests of honor!

Co-hosts

the piri-piri lexicon
Vibrant Wanderings
Creative World of Varya
La Cité des Vents
Spanish Playground
Dad’s the way I like it
Tiny Tapping Toes
All Done Monkey

 


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Multicultural Meal Plan: Greek Easter Menu {Marie’s Pastiche}

In 2012, our family virtually explored Greece for a year, learning about the culture in many ways, and especially through festivals and celebrations. Pascha, or Easter, is the most widely observed and most important religious holiday in Greece. With this Easter menu, we enjoyed the tastes and culture of Greece.

Greek Easter Dinner Menu: Multicultural Meal Plan {Marie's Pastiche}

The Easter season in Greece starts months earlier with Carnival celebrations, followed by 40 days of lent, culminating at the end of Holy Week with Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday marks the resurrection of Jesus, a chance for rebirth and a welcoming of warmer days. Breaking the 40 day fast of Lent starts at midnight on Easter Saturday, during a candlelit service. Families gather back home with lit candles to bless their homes, and then break the fast with magiritsa, Easter lamb soup, made of the offal (small intestine, heart, liver, kidneys)  removed from the lamb to be roasted for Easter Sunday.This midnight feast, enjoyed upon returning from church, includes Easter soup, cheese and tsoureki (a sweet bread). These are the foods that have been abstained from, and heartily enjoyed. You can find a recipe for magiritsa here.

Easter Sunday Dinner Menu

Greek Easter Dinner

Traditional roast of lamb. The main dish for Easter Sunday in Greece is lamb, most traditionally whole lamb roasted on a spit. To enjoy Easter lamb at home, roast a leg of lamb in traditional Greek manner with olive oil, lemon, garlic and oregano.

Roasted potatoes and sauteed asparagus. Great accompaniments to roast lamb are Greek roasted potatoes, baked with stock and lemon juice, and sauteed asparagus with lemon and garlic.

Tzatziki, warm pita, and Greek olives. Either as appetizers, or sides these are classic and popular in our household. Be sure to use Greek yogurt to make the tzatziki – it makes all the difference.

tsoureki

Tsoureki. Traditionally part of breaking the fast, Easter bread, a soft sweet bread, is an essential part of Pascha. This brioche is braided, either into a log or ring, with cooked red eggs tucked in. It is flavored with orange, aniseed or mahlepi (ground cherry pits).

easter dessert

Melopita For dessert, we enjoyed a Greek honey & ricotta cheese pie, a traditional Easter dessert from Sifnos. We also had sliced blood oranges drizzled with honey as a light and refreshing dessert.

Red Easter Eggs

greek easter egg game

Red dyed Easter eggs are an essential part of the Greek celebration of Easter. They are died a deep red to symbolize life and represent the blood of Christ. Traditionally dyed on Holy Thursday, these eggs are tucked into tsoureki, given as gifts, and used to play the traditional Easter game of Tsougrisma. To play this game, everyone has one red (hard boiled) egg. Find an opponent, and lightly tap the end of your egg against the end of your opponent’s egg. Continue with all gathered until one person’s egg is left without cracking – it is said this person will have good luck for a year. If you want to dye your eggs red, follow the instructions found here.

I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy a special Greek Easter celebration.

Multicultural Meal Plan Mondays on Multicultural Kid Blogs

You can also read other multicultural meal plans in this series.

You can also follow our Multicultural Cooking and Easter Around the World boards on Pinterest.

Multicultural Kid Blogger

Marie-Claude is the parent of two incredible girls. Over the years, they have immersed themselves virtually in various cultures. This year they have been exploring the cultures of West Africa, which is being chronicled on her blog at mariespastiche.blogspot.com.

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Easter Around the World

Easter Button
Easter (and the preceding “Holy Week”) is a Christian holiday remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus, with traditions dating back to pagan springtime festivals. Since it is celebrated in so many countries, we thought it would be interesting to look at Easter around the world. We asked our member bloggers- multicultural families who live in all corner of the world- to share how they will celebrate Easter this year. What an incredible response we got!

European Traditions:

The Egg TreeNatalie from Planet Smarty describes how her family makes a Northern European Easter tree every year.

Becky from Kid World Citizen shared a video she took in Andalucía, Spain during the Holy Week processions. Though the video is in Spanish, anyone can enjoy the impressive statues, costumes, and scenes.

Stephanie from InCulture Parent has a sweet Easter recipe for Italian cookies, and a Polish Easter craft called Palma Wycinanka (cut paper palm). She also shares the interesting Czech Easter tradition of “whipping” girls and women with a special braided pussy willow in an attempt to keep them healthy and fertile!

Anna from The Multicultural Kitchen shows us how her family celebrates their Spanish and Russian roots during Easter, with vytynanky, Juan Miro inspired eggs, and Spanish almond cake (yum!). She also writes about how Holy Week in Spain is celebrated.

Olena from Bilingual Kids Rock shared a nice description of Ukranian Holy Week, starting at Willow Sunday, and ending on Easter with pysanky eggs, special paska bread, baskets and egg battles.

Ukrainskie pisankiCarrie at Crafty Moms wrote a very detailed and well-researched post on Easter traditions in Ukraine and Russia, with some excellent books that illustrate these two cultures. Both practice beautiful egg-decorating technique called pysanky in Ukraine and pisanki in Russia.

Easter in France Portugal Spain

Carrie also wrote a great piece on Easter in France, Spain, and Portugal, who share similar traditions.

Mary from Busy as a Bee in Paris shows us how her family celebrates Easter traditions in France. Phoebe shares a French recipe for brioche (a sweet bread) made specially for Easter and found mainly in the south of France.

Latin American Traditions:

Frances of Discovering the World through my Son’s Eyes created a twist on traditional cascarones for her Easter playdate. See pictures here of their fun day at the park celebrating Easter and spring!

I love Mari’s post on Mexican Cascarones (eggs filled with confetti) on Inspired by Family! She also has a delicious recipe for capirotada- Mexican Bread Pudding- traditionally enjoyed on Easter.

Jennifer of Spanish Playground created a fun, interactive Spanish game with plastic Easter eggs to get our kids speaking Spanish during the Easter egg hunt.

Antigua Guatemala Holy Week Alfombras- Kid World Citizen

Carrie at Crafty Moms shared another insightful post on the Easter traditions (specifically Holy Week) in Guatemala. Guatemala is famous for its “sawdust carpets:” amazing decorative designs made of sawdust, flowers, fruit, and more in the streets; they take hours to make.

Check out this incredible photo essay of pictures from these “alfombras” from Antigua, Guatemala posted by Becky of Kid World Citizen (as seen in photo at left).

Asia Easter Traditions:

Amanda (also known as Miss Panda Chinese!) shares some Mandarin language lessons to use during Easter.

United States/Canada Traditions:

41114easter-bunny-pancakewValerie from Glitter Muffins made these adorable bunny rabbit and Easter egg pancakes (English version). She also posted them in French!

Mari from Inspired by Family shared some cute Easter-inspired egg recipes, and a fluffy, feathered bunny and chick craft.

Lessons, Egg-Dyeing, Books, and more!

Easter Around the World Book Collage

Carrie at Crafty Moms shared a great Easter book list with multicultural characters.

Kim at Educator’s Spin On It shared a nice list of baby time Easter activities, and her co-creator Amanda shared a list of toddler Easter activities.

Frances from Discovering the World through my Son’s Eyes had an Easter playdate of crafts and egg-dyeing for her son, that would be perfect for preschoolers and kinders.

For kids a little bit older, Jody at Mud Hut Mama has a lovely Easter lesson plan for preschoolers, including math, science, and play. My favorite part has to be the creative way she decorated her eggs (see below)!Easter Eggs Gecko Eggs Mud Hut Mama

For kids in elementary school interested in reflecting on the meaning behind Easter, Mari from Inspired by Family has a great family Easter project.

Speaking of decorating eggs, Mary Anne from Mama Smiles has several posts: simple eggs, eggs decorated with melted crayon shavings.  She also shares a fun shaker egg craft.

Giselle of Kids Yoga Stories has some great yoga poses related to springtime and Easter.

Christi from Learning to be the Light discusses how her family celebrated the Hindu festival of Holi, on Easter Sunday.

Thanks for sharing everyone- I love seeing the different cultural aspects of Easter. Does your family have a special tradition? How do you celebrate Easter where you live? Share in the comments!

You can also follow our and Easter Around the World board on Pinterest!

Becky Morales

Becky Morales shares activities to teach kids global and cultural awareness at KidWorldCitizen.org. She also recently co-authored a book for parents and teachers called the Global Education Toolkit for Elementary Learners, with hundreds of activities and resources to expand young minds and go global. She is the mother of 4 active, multicultural, and bilingual kids who keep her busy and laughing.

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Big, Little World: Connecting and Connected – Earth Day Blog Hop

earthdayEarth Day always reminds me of just how big and small the world is. As I explore the globe and maps with my little ones and talk about caring for our environment, the world can seem so big. However, as I help my little ones understand that throwing trash on the ground here could mean that same trash ends up in an ocean on the other side of the world, all of the sudden we realize that the world is also small because we are all so interconnected. Helping my sons understand that caring for the Earth is a way to care for other people — even people far away — raises their awareness and interest in being global citizens and excites them even more about taking care of the planet. I love Theresa of Howling Healing Art‘s insight on connecting to others through Earth Day: 

I have always tried to teach my kids that helping the Earth could start in our own house and backyard, but is not limited to it. And so we travel to see other places, visit family in other countries and learn that all beings in the planet are interconnected; what we do here affects people on the other side of the world. If all children learn to believe this while growing up, Earth will have a brighter future.

Becky of Kid World Citizen has great ideas too:

We talk a lot about concrete ideas that WE can do as a family that will positively affect the world. We talk about: what comes in our house (especially where food comes from, buying in season, buying less, buying used, avoiding extra packaging), how we use energy (turning off lights, packing lunches in reusable baggies), what leaves our house as trash (or compost or recycling!). Our decisions and actions affect people – and wildlife – around the world. 

Jennifer is a mom of two, as well as an independent filmmaker who has taught filmmaking to youth, most notably with her Spotlight On Hope Film Camp, a free film camp for Pediatric Cancer patients. She writes about her experiences with Wild Thing and Caterpillar at The Good Long Road with an emphasis on mindfulness, imagination, and creative activities related to her toddler and preschooler’s favorite children’s books. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Google+.

Multicultural Kid Blogs is excited to host this Earth Day Blog Hop, which runs throughout the month of April. Please link up activities that help children learn to care for the planet, and share your thoughts about why caring for the planet helps children learn to care for one another — as global citizens.

Remember, you can share in the comments or by linking up below!  You can also join the discussion in our Google + Community!

For some Earth Day inspiration including ideas for crafts and activities using recycled materials and much more, check out our Earth Day is Every Day Pinboard. Two other Pinterest favorites are Mommy Maestra’s Bilingual Earth Day Pinboard and Kids Yoga Stories’ Pinboard, Books: Earth Day.

You can also enjoy Daria Music’s Earth Day Music Craft e-Book for free in April, and there is a Very Special Earth Day Contest for kids of all abilities over at Wonder Baby sponsored by Daria Music. 


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Visions of Spring Around the World

We asked our MKB members from around the world what spring looks like where they live. From China to Costa Rica, these pictures were taken this week, showing us the different sides of spring.

Spring with cities Collage

Top row: Chicago, USA – Aimee of Raising World Citizens; Derby, UK – Rita of Multilingual Parenting; Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica – Leanna of All Done Monkey
Second row: Les Cabannes, France – Becky of La Famille Brown; Washington, USA – Amanda of Miss Panda Chinese; London, UK – Judith of Little Billingues
Third row: Milan, Italy – Galina of Trilingual Children; Borough of Carrickfergus, Ireland – Crystal of Crystals Tiny Treasures; Boston, USA – Giselle of Kids Yoga Stories;                                                                              Fourth row: Earltown, Canada – Marie of Marie’s Pastiche; Florida, USA – Amanda of The Educator’s Spin On It; Zhuhai, China – Varya of Creative World of Varya;                                                                                 Fifth row: Seattle, USA – Thereza of Howling Yoga Books; Bangor, Wales – Jonathan of Dads The Way I Like It; Keukenhof, Netherlands – Olga of The European Mama
What does spring look like in your part of the world?  We’d love to see your photos!  Share them on our Facebook page.
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Football’s World Cup – more than just a game

It may be over two months until the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but another World Cup is underway. The Streetchild World Cup has kicked off in Rio within the last week and will feature nine teams in the girls’ tournament and fifteen teams in the boys’ tournament. The competition has been set up with the aim of trying to ensure better treatment for street children around the world.

Football’s potential to raise awareness of wider global issues was a theme that Sheila Sjolseth focused on in her World Cup for Kids post Making meaningful connections with kids through sport. It is always heartening to hear of football teams and fans who have tried to help use their sport as a force for good. In Wales, where I live, a group of the national team’s supporters set up a charity called Gôl that has helped to raise funds to support underprivileged kids in several countries that the Welsh national team has visited. In 2009, a group of supporters drove from Wales to Azerbaijan to drop off donations to 20 different orphanages along the way.

Jonathan with former Wales international player John Hartson, in Aberystwyth (Wales), autumn 2010

Jonathan with former Wales international player John Hartson, in Aberystwyth (Wales), Autumn 2010

Last year, I also remember reading about how fans of German club Union Berlin raised 18,000 euros to help build a football pitch in a stony rural area of South Africa to which one of their fans had moved. One of the most uplifting elements of the story was reading that fans had donated time as well as money, and several had traveled out to South Africa to help with the work rather than going on a more conventional holiday.

As a student in Leeds, I got involved in several voluntary community projects that had links with the university where I was studying. In my first year, I helped with after school football practice at a school that was a short walk from the university campus. As a result of doing this, I was put in touch with an exciting project that was run at the city’s major team Leeds United.

World cup HJK Helsinki v Bangor, Finland, summer 2011

HJK Helsinki v Bangor, Finland, Summer 2011

For two years, I’d go down to the Elland Road stadium once or twice a week to act as a volunteer mentor at the Study Support Centre. Local school pupils would go there after school during the week and on Saturday mornings as part of a programme that aimed to boost literacy, numeracy and computer skills. The football club was a big draw for the kids and it was clear to me that they benefited from the facilities and support from those who ran the Study Support Centre.

During my time as a volunteer mentor, I learned that the contracts of the players at the club required them to spend a certain amount of time per month supporting community activities such as the Study Support Centre. To me, this seemed like a great way for a team to give something back to its local area and engage with its supporters.

World cup Bordeaux v PSG, France, November 2011

Bordeaux v PSG, France, November 2011

With working full time and being the parent of a son who is rapidly approaching his first birthday, I certainly don’t have as much time to devote to activities such as a voluntary work projects compared to when I was a student. However, one thing that I plan to do soon is to go through my clothes drawers and look out some old football kits that I have lying around. After doing a quick internet search, I recently discovered several charities that deliver old football kits to children in different countries around the world.

In the UK, groups such as Kits4Causes, Football4Africa and KitAid all collect football kits and equipment that they then redistribute to different organisations around the world who really need this sort of material. Netherlands-based Kits for the World does likewise. At at a time when so many footballers and supporters are about to converge on Brazil to celebrate football’s greatest tournament, it seems like an appropriate time to do a small gesture to help people around the world to enjoy football wherever they may be.

jonathan-ervineJonathan is the blogger behind Dad’s the Way I Like It.  He created his blog to reflect on his experiences as a dad and how dads are represented in society.  He lives in North West Wales with his wife, son and three chickens. Jonathan and his wife are raising their bilingually using both Welsh and English.  You can also find him on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

 

 

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Celebrating Passover

Passover Celebrations by Planet Smarty Pants for Multicultural Kid Blogs

Disclosure. Creative Commons Seder Plate” by Karen is licensed under CC BY 2.0. I am an Amazon associate and this post contains affiliate links. For full disclosure, please click here and thank you for supporting my blog!

 

Passover of My Childhood.

I was raised in an atheist family in the former Soviet Union. My grandparents on both sides were “true believers” in Communist Party and chose to raise their children completely non-religious. In fact, my paternal grandfather’s name was Moses, but he wouldn’t tell me what the name meant. I grew up thinking that it’s just a funny “old name” that is not in use any longer. Nevertheless, every spring my father’s Mom would get everyone together for a Passover dinner. Before that dinner, my Dad and I would drive to a tiny rundown building in Minsk with a strange name “synagogue”. There would be a line of people all coming there with the same purpose – to get matzah bread for Passover celebrations. It didn’t matter that my grandmother’s dinner featured regular bread and freely mixed milk and meat – it was still a holiday that was not celebrated by anyone else I knew and made me wonder about why we are special. It also made me wonder why the adults are saying, Next year in Jerusalem when I knew fully well that nobody was going anywhere any time soon.

Connecting to Our Roots

I came to US as an adult, and now we celebrate both Passover and Easter in our non-religious house as a way to connect to our roots and celebrate our heritage. I want my daughter to know that she has a Jewish part in her, just as she has an Orthodox Christian Russian part of my maternal grandmother and German heritage from her father who was raised Lutheran. My seven year old is really looking forward to Passover. When she is older, she will be free to choose whether she wants to become a Christian, a Jew, choose any of other religions of the world or stay an agnostic like us. In any case, I am hoping that she will still celebrate Passover as a holiday that connects her to her Jewish roots like it connected me in my childhood.

What Is Passover?

The Story of Passover

The Story of Passover is one of the best known stories from The Old Testament that came into even non-religious Western living rooms with the famous The Ten Commandments movie and with Disney’s The Prince of Egypt. The Story of Passover by David Adler gives a great overview of the story for younger children. You can also read a very short “executive summary” of the story on Passover for Kids.

How Is Passover Celebrated?

The most important part of Passover celebration is the feast on the first day of Passover called Seder. Seder means order, and the proper Seder includes 15 steps, where each step is steeped in tradition that was passed over for many generations. You can read more about 15 steps of proper Seder on Jewish Kids site.

A Seder Plate

A Seder PlateI have to say that since we are not a religious family, we don’t follow Haggadah (a special Passover book), we don’t do all these steps, and we don’t even have a proper Seder plate like the one pictured above. I guess on my next visit to Israel I might get one for us, but we are using a plain plate for now. There are several traditional foods on this plate reminding us of different parts of Passover story. Two bitter foods (horseradish and bitter herbs) is a reminder of bitter slavery in Egypt. Haroseth is a mixture of apples, chopped nuts and wine that has a texture of mortar that was used by slaves while building houses and palaces for the Egyptians. Parsley reminds us of rebirth and a roasted egg is a reference to other Jewish festivals and, yet again, to rebirth and new life. Finally, a lamb shank bone (or a beet root for vegetarian families) represents a lamb blood that was smeared on doorposts of the Israelites, so the Angel of Death would pass over their houses during the tenth plague.

Things We Love About Passover

For me Passover is a chance to get friends together for a special dinner that is not the same as usual weekend dinners in our house. It’s also a great chance to introduce our international smattering of friends to this part of my heritage.

My daughter really likes making and eating haroset. Her other favorite part of Passover celebrations is looking for Afikoman. Afikoman is a piece of flat matzah bread that is hidden early during Seder celebrations. Children are supposed to look for it later and get chocolate or small prizes for finding it. She is slightly concerned about Elijah’s visit – she keeps asking if Elijah is going to be visible if he comes or is he going to be a ghost, but she is really looking forward to Passover celebrations this year.

Natalie Photo

Natalie was born in Belarus and lives  in California with her German husband and one daughter. Natalie blogs at Planet Smarty Pants about playful literature-based activities and nurturing engaged thinkers through science, engineering, and math. She works full time for a big tech company in Silicon Valley. Follow Natalie at her blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.

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