Saturday, January 9, 2016

New Year Around the World

I'm Peruvian-American and my family has always had the best time celebrating New Year.  In Latin America, we have all sorts of crazy-fun customs and superstitions surrounding New Year! I decided to create a mini unit based on a few countries around the world and their traditions.  Turns out Latin Americans aren't the only ones with weird customs!


 The Greeks celebrate with a number of customs, but I thought the one we could translate best to Kindergarten world would be the smashing of the pomegranate! They say the first to cross the threshold of a house on New Year gets to smash a pomegranate.  The number of seeds that come out determines how lucky that family will be in the coming year!


In France, people eat something called King's Cake.  The cake sometimes has a plastic coin in the center.  The person who gets the coin is king for the day! I just bought some Sticky Buns from the grocery store and introduced that as King's Cake.  Inside one of them, I cut out a thin slice and stuck a plastic coin inside.  The kids had so much fun eating their way through the cake to see who would be king!

This little man got it! He wore a construction paper yellow crown the whole day :)


 In Denmark, the custom is to throw your old plates at the door for good luck.  We obviously couldn't do real plates so I chose a few kids to have fun throwing paper plates at the door.  Then everyone got to tear apart paper plates at their desks.  There really was no point to the tearing of the plates, but the kids LOVED IT.  Just goes to show how much fun kids are having if they're breaking stuff! :)

 The Danes also literally jump into the New Year at midnight by jumping off of chairs.  This one was a bit riskier, but what's life without a little risk?  The kids did great.

 Afterwards, of course, we debriefed about the traditions and talked about if they made sense to us.  The kids recorded their experiences during writing.

 I'm obviously biased, but this day if my favorite.  I set aside a whole day for Peruvian New Year. Wearing yellow is the big thing!!
 The kids also received a print out of grapes, which are supposed to bring you luck.  (For real, we all go under the table and eat 12 grapes at midnight.  In Kindergarten, I just make them pose for a picture).
 We also put pennies in our shoes for good fortune, and beans in our pocket to ensure 12 months of good food.

The last thing is to walk around the "block" (or in our case, the school) with a suitcase (or in our case, with backpacks).  You do this to ensure 12 months of good travel.  At the end, we got in our class photo!


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