Tuesday, January 5, 2010


There are a dizzying array of celebrations in this world. Some mark a historical event from back in time like the birth of someone special, a temple or a throne being reclaimed or a country gaining independence. Some festivals mark a pattern in time itself like a new year, the harvest, the brightest moon or the shortest day. And there are many more reasons to celebrate: the last hurrah before lent or the first hurrah after fasting, the honoring of family members both present and past, and so on.

Well, I've been away celebrating a couple of these holidays with my husband and children. And now that I'm back and searching for interesting books again, I couldn’t resist Children Just Like Me: Celebrations! As can be expected from DK Publishing, this 63 page volume is chock full of quality photos and interesting information. With each spread you feel like you are meeting a child guide to tell you in their own words about a special holiday in their life. Along with a nearly foot high photo of the child are their quotes and other facts about the featured celebration.

I enjoyed learning about important days in other parts of the world of which I was previously unaware. Like the Zambian harvest festival called N’cwala, and two different dates in Japan. One is centered around girls and dolls, called Hina Matsuri, the other is a boy centered celebration, called Kodomono-hi. And I am totally inspired by a Hindu festival called Raksha Bandhan, that celebrates the love between brothers and sisters. Maybe, I'm thinking, I should get Ryan and Shannon to partake in this August festival. It originated over 500 years ago when sisters tied rakhis on their brothers’ wrists to protect them on the battlefield. On the day of Raksha (meaning “protection”) Bandhan (meaning “bond”), the siblings start out by praying for the safe keeping of each other. The sister blesses the brother with a holy mark. Then she ties the bracelet she has made on her brother's right wrist and he promises to protect her. They next give each other a piece of candy and after that the brother gives his sister a gift.

What a great overview of the world's celebrations!

Ages: 9 and up

Activity: Print out this 2010 calendar onto a legal size page. Can you correctly color the date of the holiday or the day that longer celebrations begin?

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