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Multicultural Education: A Calendar of Ethnic Festivals and Celebrations

Deborah Peck

Contents of Curriculum Unit 82.05.03:

To Guide Entry

All human groups have traditional notions of time, the changing seasons, and celebrations. Many activities which encourage multicultural education can be based on the calendar. The calendar can be utilized as a resource around which to plan activities such as comparative studies of time concepts among various peoples such as the wide use of lunar and solar calendars, and recognition of the customs of celebration within nationality groups. Through studying the calendar variations and following a multicultural calendar, students can gain a broader understanding and become more aware of the events and time structures that shape the lives of other peoples.

This unit is intended for use in a Foreign Language Exploratory class for seventh and eighth graders. It is a continuation of a unit that I wrote on multicultural education in 1980 with the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. It is focused on a multicultural calendar of ethnic festivals and celebrations, dated from January 1982 through May 1982. I have further provided background information on several spring festivals around the world including: Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, Holi, Hina Matsuri, Tango-No Sekku, Durbar, Pesach.

The background information is written so that it can be read to students if the teacher chooses. This unit is not intended to be a comprehensive five month program, but rather a supplement to many other activities in the classroom. It is hoped that this unit will be used by educators of all disciplines and grade levels in order to help students develop a sensitivity to and understanding of other ethnic cultures.

This consciousness-raising can be accomplished through the study of a variety of multicultural areas including: family life and roles, foods, religion, recreation, folk crafts, and history. Among the activities that can be used in a Foreign Language classroom to stimulate learning and to promote appreciation of the many customs and festivals of differing cultures are: culture capsules, international cookbooks, international dinners, minidramas or skits, multicultural sports and games, films and slides, magazines, newspapers, guest speakers, international music, folktales, fables, and field trips. Celebrating holidays of major importance to the different groups in school can foster positive multicultural interactions and understandings among students and teachers. The following background information is designed to support multiethnic modes of celebration.


The stories of festivals around the world are rich and varied. They mark the cycles of time and are often an outline of what man has found important throughout his life. There are two basic themes in all festivals: they are expressions of joy and they are shared experiences. Festivals are not meant to be celebrated alone. This time of joy is meant to be celebrated in harmony with the larger community. Studying the various holidays around the world can be enlightening to student and teacher alike. Sharing celebrations of other peoples can enrich our lives and help us to understand our own beliefs better.

The origins of these festivals are ancient. Pagan celebrations, Judaic and Christian traditions, and history give us the reasons why we celebrate certain days. Clearly the first festivals originated in response to seasonal changes. Human survival was dependent on the pattern of the seasons, from spring to winter, from seedtime to harvest. The early festivals originated in celebration of this natural wonder. They give us an insight as to how early man saw life, the world, and the heavens. In order to ensure that the pattern of seasons would not fail, rites and ceremonies dedicated to the different gods were devised.

Spring, the season of hope

Whenever spring comes, people react as if it was a holiday. Everyone is happy that the cold and dreary winter is over. Spring holiday customs reflect this happiness in singing, dancing, flowers, presents, and jokes. Spring festivals are joyous occasions in celebration of the rebirth of nature. This time of rebirth has also been regarded as the beginning of the New Year. The earliest calendars were lists of festivals celebrating the natural changes of seasons. According to this natural cycle of events, the year began with Spring.

As with many holidays, spring festivals were originally celebrated as fertility rites. Earlier man’s society was agricultural and survival was dependent on fertility. Spring rituals were taken very seriously. If not, the people feared that the sun would not warm the earth and the plants would not grow. Ancient Romans had a festival in March, dedicated to Mars, the agricultural god and god of war. Priests of Mars, called Salii, or leapers, marched about the city dancing and clashing their swords and shields. This dancing was thought to help the newly planted grain grow. High leaps would make the grain grow tall. Ceres, the goddess of grain was offered cakes and a sacrificial sow so that she would protect the newly planted seeds.

A festival in honor of Flora, goddess of flowering plants was held at the end of April and in early May. Children wound garlands of spring flowers around columns in the temple of Flora as an offering. So began our first celebration of May Day.

Great changes in these ancient spring rites and ceremonies took place with the advent of Christianity. The church abolished all pagan rites and ceremonies. Even though the form of many of these rituals changed, the people would not give them up. For most of man’s history, these rites had been a way of life. Consequently, the church had to adapt Christian festivals to fit the pagan rites and beliefs. Many of our religious festivals today have their roots in the rites and ceremonies of the distant past.

Today, spring celebrations include water and fire festivals, feasts and pageants complete with traditional foods, costumes, and music. Flowers are everywhere. Gifts and good wishes are exchanged during this time of generosity. People wear new clothes just as the earth decorates itself with new leaves and grasses.

Chinese New Year

The celebration of the lunar New Year 4680, Year of the Dog, is regarded to be the most important of all Chinese holidays. To Chinese people around the world, the New Year signifies a time of good will, of family gathering, the sharing of good wishes, love, hope, and good fortune.

The exact date of the New Year falls somewhere between January 21 and February 20 on the Gregorian calendar. Whereas the Western Zodiac follows a cycle of twelve months, the Chinese Zodiac is divided in a twelve-year cycle. Each year is designated an animal sign. The year’s character is destined by the attributes of its animal name. It is said that compatibility with other people is believed to be influenced by birth year. The Chinese therefore consult their astrological signs quite carefully when choosing a marriage partner.

Preparations for the holiday begin during the last few weeks of the old year. Special steamed and fried dumplings must be made. The house must be scrubbed thoroughly, to clean it of any ill luck or evil omens that remain from the old year.

A week before the first day of the New Year, the family bids farewell to the kitchen god. A picture of Tsao-Chun, god of the kitchen, has watched the family from his place on the wall. At the end of the year, he reports to the gods on the family’s behavior for the past year. To sweeten his thoughts, sweet cakes and fruits are offered to him. Sometimes a sticky sweet is given to him in efforts to keep his mouth shut. The family sends him on his journey to heaven by burning his picture. Tsao-Chun later returns on the eve of the New Year when the family hangs a new portrait of him on the kitchen wall.

On the eve of the New Year everyone bathes and dresses in new clothes to insure a fresh new start. The first feast of the holiday also begins on New Year’s eve. The family members gather to exchange good wishes and share in a meal of thanksgiving in gratitude for the blessings of the past year. The house is decorated with bowls of oranges, tangerines, and flowers. Sprigs of Cypress, the symbol of long life are displayed. Red papers on to which good wishes are written hang from the walls. The color red is the color of good fortune and happiness and it is believed to have power to exorcise evil.

The New Year’s day is greeted with the explosion of fire crackers. Guests arrive bringing gifts of fruits and sweets. They are offered dried melon seeds and candied fruits. The children are given red envelopes containing lucky new money. Food which has been prepared ahead of time is reheated and served. No one cooks on New Year’s day as it is considered bad luck to use knives or sharp instruments or to kill animals. One must try to avoid dropping dishes or punishing children. Only good words are to be spoken.

The lion dance is preformed on the first day of the New Year. The ornate lion’s head is made of papier-mache and his tail of bright colored silk. The lion stops before every house and dwelling. His presence assures the occupants that no evil spirit dares to enter. To entice and reward the lion for his visit, red envelopes containing gifts of money are hung from the windows. He leaps and dances to catch these presents.

The festivities culminate on the 15th day of the New Year with the Festival of Lanterns. On the eve of the first full moon of the year, decorated, lighted paper lanterns are hung from the houses and shops. A huge dragon made of bamboo, paper and silk is carried through the streets. The dragon, symbol of strength and goodness, leads a parade of lighted lanterns carried by men, women, and children.


Holi is India’s ancient welcome to spring festival. It is characterized by song, dance, fire, water, and an abundance of color. This two part festival bids farewell to winter with fire and ashes and welcomes spring with rejoicing. The Holi festival comes on the 15th day of the light half of the moon in Phalguna, which is late March or early April on the Gregorian calendar.

The week before Holi, young people set out to collect wood and scraps in preparation for the great bonfire. The celebration begins when the moon is high. Bonfires are lit and the dancing and singing to the beat of throbbing drums is heard everywhere. Special songs, plays, and dances retell the story of Lord Krisna’s adventures. Lord Krisna is the most celebrated hero of Hindu mythology. His youthful deeds were similar to those of Hercules. Water is poured on the embers at sunrise and everyone dips their fingers in the ashes and marks a sign on their forehead. These ashmarks represent the death of winter and are worn as a symbol of good luck.

Now that the old year is gone and forgotten, the most uninhibited part of the celebration begins. Young people go into the streets carrying spray guns or bamboo blowpipes filled with brilliantly colored dyes or powders. Showers of colors burst forth hitting faces, hair, clothing—anything and everything within range! Anyone passing through the streets becomes a walking display of spring’s bright colors. The result is a joyful mess!

The origin of Holi is ancient eventhough its present characteristics were developed by the Mogul Emperor Akbar in the 16th century in an attempt to unify the people of India. When everyone is clothed in a rainbow of colors, all the people appear equal. Nobleman and peasant, Muslim and Hindu dance together around the festival fire and in the streets.

There is another ancient legend that says the bonfire of Holi celebrates the destruction of Holika, an ogress who snatched children from the villages each spring. In order to capture Holika, the villagers armed themselves with fagots and noisemskers. When Holika appeared, the people began shouting and pounding drums. When she hesitated, confused by the noise, the villagers threw the fagots around her and set them on fire. The fearful Holika was destroyed and everyone celebrated.

In various parts of India, Holi is known by different names, but the spirit of the celebration is the same. Color, music, dancing, and merriment bring the people of India together to celebrate and share in the joy of spring.

Hina Matsuri and Tango-No Sekku

On March 3, the Japanese celebrate a gala day called Hina Matsuri (Festival of Dolls). It is sometimes referred to as the Peach Festival. Little girls dress in their f nest kimonos and the house is decorated with fragant peach blossoms, symbol of gentle feminine qualities. The main part of the festival is each family’s display of heirloom dolls. The Hinu-ningyo (festival dolls) represent the Emperor and Empress and ladies of the imperial court. For this one day, the royal dolls rule over their loyal subjects. They receive guests very formally and tea is served. These collections of dolls become very valuable as they are exemplary of the history of the Japanese people in the costumes and furnishings of successive periods. Sometimes special houses are built in the garden to house the set of dolls and to safeguard them from earthquakes.

May 5 is the date of the Kite Festival in Japan called Tango-No Sekku. On that day the sky is filled with fish twisting and turning in the air. Boys of all ages meet in groups with kites of every description made with Japanese paper and bamboo. They fly from tall poles above the rooftops.

Large carps made of cloth or paper are an important feature of the festival. They are made with mouths wide open so the wind will come in and puff them up to handsome proportions. They are hung out to fly from poles, one for each boy in the house. The carp symbolizes strength and perserverance because every year it swims upstream and lays its eggs. It inspires Japanese boys to develop the ambition, strength, and will to overcome life’s obstacles.

Elaborate sets of warrior dolls or miniature suits of ancient armor are displayed in the home during the Boys’ Festival. These statues of important historical persons are used to illustrate good conduct and proper manners.

The Boys’ and Girls’ Festivals have existed for at least a thousand years and are hinted at in the legends of Japan. Some of the Hinu-ningyo have religious significance. In Chinese, the word for doll and idol are the same. Kites used by the Mandarin in the 3rd century B.C., have long been popular in Japan where they are given to children at temples as good luck charms for the future.


Ceremonial gatherings are traditionally held at the beginning of the rainy season in Ghana. This event is called a Durbar. It was the British who gave this African ceremony its Indian name.

This festival is characterized by brilliantly colored umbrellas which glorify each of the Ashanti chieftains. Everyone gathers at the Durbar ground as the Ashanti chieftains arrive to pay hommage to the paramount chief in the ancestral village. They are attired in traditional handwoven robes, carrying guilded canes of office. Each chief comes with his entourage of drummers, singers, followers, and most important, the court linguist. Ashanti chiefs do not speak directly to inferiors without an interpreter.

The moment of excitement comes when the paramount chief is carried into the Durbar ground on a palanquin. The air is filled with the sound of beating drums, chanting and singing. The great chief literally dances on his swaying litter, clothed in magnificent robes of silk and wool, woven with golden threads. Everyone is swept into the dancing rhythm. A feast of specially prepared foods adds to the celebration. The dancers will eat in order to regain their strength so that they may continue dancing. Rhythm and dance form the way of life in Africa.

To the Ashanti, this is also the time when Nyame, the Sky-god, is preparing to send rain to the farmers and Asasa Ya, the mother Goddess Earth, is waiting to bring forth new life. Nyame represents the sun. He not only sends the rains but he is responsible for conquering the floods and providing cool drying winds during the heat of the rainy season. Throughout the Durbar, dancing and singing will be in praise of Nyame as well as the ruling chiefs. Durbar is a celebration in honor of all living things.


Spring in Palestine was a season worth celebrating. The spring festival which the Jews call Pesach (Passover) is based on two rites of the ancient Hebrews. Each spring Hebrew herdsmen would sacrifice a lamb to their god of fertility. They also celebrated the beginning of the spring barley harvest. A feast was held during which only unleavened bread was eaten. Just before the first harvest, a sheaf of grain was brought to the priest in the Temple. Both of these rites were held to assure the continuance of the flocks and the grain.

Today, this spring festival has come to be better known as the Festival of Freedom. For it was in this same season that the Jews were delivered from slavery in Egypt. It is the most beloved of all Jewish festivals. The word Pesach or Passover comes from the passing over or sparing of the Hebrews in Egypt when God smote the first-born of the Egyptians. Passover is celebrated for eight days: the first two days and the last two are observed as holy days when no work is done; the intervening days are semi-holidays.

The most distinctive feature of this holiday is the eating of matzah (unleavened bread) throughout the eight days. The unleavened “Bread of Affliction” is reminiscent of the hurried flight of the Jews from Egypt when they had to bake their bread without allowing time for it to rise. Since everything containing leavening is forbidden, special dishes, cooking utensils, and silver are used for the entire period.

A service known as the Seder (Hebrew for order) is held in Jewish homes at sundown on the first two evenings of Passover. The story of the exodus from Egypt is read from a special prayer book called Halggadah (recital). This narrative consists of prayers, psalms, folk songs, and rhymes which explain the ways in which “this night is different from all other nights”.

The various foods used as symbolsin the service are arranged on a special dish: a roasted lamb bone and a roasted egg, symbols of the sacrificial lamb and of renewed life and hope; Maror (a bitter herb) symbolizes the bitterness of slavery; Karpas (parsley) symbolizes the color of spring; salt water symbolizes the tears shed by slaves; Charoseth (a combination of nuts, apples, raisins, cinnamon, and wine) represents the clay out of which the slaves made bricks. Cups of wine and matzah complete the symbols used in the Seder.

One piece of the matzah (Afikomen Greek for dessert) is hidden from the children. Whomever finds it at the conclusion of the Seder receives a reward. A goblet of wine is always prepared for the Prophet Elijah, symbolic messenger of hope and faith. The door is left open so that his spirit may come in. The seder ends with riddles and games.

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Lesson Plans

No single discipline is sufficient to help students understand adequately the origins and significance of holidays with geographic, religious, mythical, and political dimensions. Some interdisciplinary activities might include:

A. Class Discussions
1. Discuss how customs and beliefs are passed from one generation to another. How are they transferred from one part of the world to another?
2. Compare and contrast holidays observed in Latin America and Europe and compare them to our customs of celebration. List common themes, similar customs, differences.
3. Discuss seasonal and human cycles and the holidays which correspond with these cycles.
4. Compare and contrast different kinds of calendars used around the world. How do different cultures measure a year?
5. Discuss ethnicity and nationality groups. Study ancestors and family trees.
B. Class Activities (Consult Bibliography)
1. Prepare ethnic foods or international dinners. Better Homes and Gardens March 1982 has a section on “Treasured Family Recipes for Spring Celebrations”.
2. Study ethnic music and dance.
3. Study foreign films and magazines.
4. Have guest speakers.
5. Decorate the classroom with visual signs for a multicultural focus.
6. Play some ethnic sports and games.
7. Study various fables from various lands.
C. Folk Crafts (Consult Bibliography)
1. Make simple folk crafts. (pinatas, posada clay figures, Chinese paper cut outs)
2. Make simple holiday decorations. (lanterns, masks, costumes)
3. Make simple folk instruments. (gourd, guiro, shofar)

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1 New Year’s Day
____Ano Nobo—Cape Verdean New Year’s celebration
St. Basil’s Day—Greek Orthodox Feast day observed by Eastern Orthodox churches. Special St. Basil cakes are baked, each containing a coin.
3 Epiphany—Catholic (observed in some countries on this date)
5 Epiphany Fair—Rome, Italy A fair of toys, sweets, and presents takes place among the Bernini Fountains on the eve of the Twelfth Night.
____Twelfth Night Christian Evening before Epiphany
6 Three Kings’ Day—Puerto Rico, Latin America This is the traditional gift giving time during the Christmas season. On Three Kings’ Eve, children place shoes on the windowsill and boxes of grass and water under their beds in hopes of receiving gifts from the Three Kings.
Epiphany Greek Orthodox, Protestant, Roman Catholic Epiphany is the twelfth day after Christmas. This holiday commemorates three religious events: the visit of the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem; the miracle of changing water into wine at the marriage feast; the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist.
____The Feast of the Nativity and Theophany of Christ—Armenian
____In many cultures, the Christmas holidays end on this day.
7 Russian Orthodox Christmas
11 DeHosto’s Birthday—Puerto Rico Eugenio Maria de Hostos (1839-1903) Puerto Rican patriot and scholar.
14 Russian Orthodox New Year
15 Martin Luther King’s Birthday—Black civil rights leader and winner of Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
22 St. Vincent’s Feast Day—Spain Patron saint of wine growers. If the sun is out today, good wine crops can be expected according to legend.
25 Chinese and Korean New Year—(1/25-2/8) Chinese Lunar New Year begins the year 4680 of ancient Chinese calendar; designated as Year of the Dog.


1 St. Bridget of Ireland—Irish Catholic This beloved saint’s day has always been considered as the first day of spring and beginning of the new farming season.
2 Ground Hog Day—U.S.A., Canada
____Candlemas Day—Christian Commemorates presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the purification of Mary forty days after his birth. Candles are blessed on this day.
8 Lantern Festival Chinese Celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year ends with the festival of lanterns. Men, women, and children parade through the streets carrying lighted paper lanterns.
____Hamishah Asar Bishebat—Jewish Arbor Day
10 Mardi Gras Carnival—France (2/10-2/17)
12 Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday
14 St. Valentine’s Day—Canada, U.S.A., Europe Celebrates the festival of two saints of this name martyred by the Roman Emperor Claudius. Today it is celebrated as a festival of lovers.
15 George Washington’s Birthday observed
18 Sts. Vartanantz—Armenian Commemorates the Battle of Avarayr fought in 451 A.D. in defense of Armenian Christianity against Persian Zoroastrianism.
22 Lent begins—Armenian
____George Washington’s Birthday
23 Shrove Tuesday—Catholic The day before Ash Wednesday is called “Pancake Day” in England.
Mardi Gras (Carnival)—Catholic Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is the last feast before Lent. It is celebrated throughout Europe, Latin America, and parts of Canada and the U.S.A., specifically New Orleans.
24 Ash Wednesday—Christian Lent begins and lasts for forty days until Easter (not including Sundays).

MARCH, 1982

1 St. David’s Day—Welsh Celebrates patron saint of Wales. The Welsh wear the leek on this day.
Lent begins—Greek and Russian Orthodox
3 Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival)—Japan Spring festival for girls.
4 St. Casimir—Polish This feast honors St. Casimir the Prince, one of the King of Poland’s thirteen children who chose a religious life rather than being Poland’s ruler.
5 World Day of Prayer
8 International Women’s Day—A day honoring women, especially working women.
9 Purim—Jewish The Feast of Lots is the Jewish carnival of feasting and making merry. It celebrates the saving of the Jews through the death of Haman on the very day he selected by lot for their execution.
Holi—Hindu Spring festival in India.
12 Fallas de San Jose—Spain (3/12-3/19) Valencia’s week long festivities in honor of St. Joseph, father of Jesus and patron saint of carpenters.
17 St. Patrick’s Day—Irish Commemorates the patron saint of Ireland.
19 St. Joseph’s Day—Catholic Holy day recognizing the foster father of Jesus, patron of the Catholic church.
20 Vernal Equinox—The point at which the sun crosses the equator. Spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere.
21 Benito Pablo Juarez’ Birthday—(1806-1872) Mexican liberal statesman and national hero of Indian heritage.
International Day for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination—Anniversary of the killing of sixty-nine African demonstrators at Sharpeville, South Africa in 1960.
24 Global Understanding Day—Purpose: To foster mutual understanding and assistance among people of the world toward creative, peaceful co-existence.
25 Annunciation Day—Catholic, Greek Orthodox A church festival commemorating the message of the Angel Gabriel to Mary that she was to be the Mother of Christ.

APRIL, 1982

1 April Fool’s Day—Canada, U.S.A.
2 International Children’s Book Day—Its purpose is to celebrate Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday.
4 Palm Sunday—Christian Commemorates Christ’s last entry into Jerusalem, when his way was covered with palms by the multitude.
5 Ch’ing Ming Festival—(Pure brightness Festival)-Chinese This is the day when town and country folks, with fresh flowers and fruit as sacrifices, visit the graves of their relatives and friends.
8 Pesach (Passover)—Jewish (4/8-4/15) An eight day holiday commemorating the Jews deliverance from slavery in Egypt.
9 Good Friday—Christian Culmination of the Lenten season, observed in commemoration of the crucifixion.
11 Easter—Christian Most joyous festival of the year, commemorating the resurrection of Christ.
____Palm Sunday—Greek and Russian Orthodox
13 Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday
14 Pan American Day—National holiday celebrated in all of Spanish America and in the U.S.A.
16 Good Friday—Greek and Russian Orthodox
18 Easter—Greek and Russian Orthodox
23 St. George’s Day—English Martyr and patron saint of England, hero of George and the Dragon legend.
24 Memorial Day for Armenian Martyrs
30 Arbor Day—U.S.A. Tree planter’s holiday

MAY, 1982

1 May Day (Labor Day)—The first day of May has been a festival of merrymaking, dancing, and flowers since ancient times. Now widely observed in Socialist countries as a workers’ holiday.
5 Cinco de Mayo—Mexico Commemorates the Mexican struggle for freedom against France and the emperor Maximilian.
____Children’s Day—Japan and Korea
____Tano (Day of the Swings)—Korean A spring festival celebrating the new planting season.
____Tango-No Sekku (Kite Festival)—Japan and China Spring festival for boys.
7 St. Stanislaus—Polish Commemorates the martyr bishop who was murdered by King Boleslaus.
9 Mother’s Day—Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Turkey, U.S.A.
11 Lag B’Omer—Jewish Youngest of all Jewish festivals which recalls the final desperate resistance and the courage of the leaders to re-establish Jewish national independence against the Romans in 135 A.D.
15 Armed Forces Day
____Race of the Candles—Gubbio, Italy A religious procession in local costumes.
20 Ascension—Christian The anniversary of Christ’s ascension into heaven forty days after his resurrection.
24 Victoria Day—Canada In honor of the sovereign’s birthday.
25 Africa Freedom Day—Members of the Organization for African Unity commemorate their independence from colonial rule.
27 Ascension—Greek and Russian Orthodox
28 Shavuoth (Feast of Weeks)—Jewish (5/28-5/29) Jewish holy day celebrates the giving of the Torah (the law) to Moses on Mt. Sinai.
30 Pentecost (WhitSunday)—Christian The seventh Sunday after Easter commemorating the descent of the Holy Ghost.
St. Joan of Arc Day—France, Canada French national heroine and martyr known as the “Maid of Orleans”. She led the French army against the invading English army.
31 Memorial Day—U.S.A.

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Dupuy, Trevor Nevitt. Holidays: Days of Significance for All Americans. New York: Franklin Watts, 1965.

Brief and concise essays written primarily for elementary school teachers.

Hazeltine, Mary Emogene. Anniversaries and Holidays: A Calendar of Days and How to Observe Them. Chicago: American Liberary Assoc., 1964.

Complete calendar of holidays celebrated around the world, including annotated bibliographies and index.

Ickis, Marguerite. The Book of Festival Holidsys. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1964.

———. The Book of Religious Holidays and Celebrations. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1966.

Historical and descriptive accounts of the major festival and religious holidays including ideas for games, decorations, pageants, feasts, dancing and folk singing.

Myers, Robert J. Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays. New York: Doubleday and Co., 1972.

Complete and thorough account of 45 widely observed holidays.

World Education Project. The Peoples of Connecticut Multicutural Ethnic Heritage Studies Series. Storrs: WEP, UCONN.

Burdette, Barbara. The Puerto Ricans: On the Island, On the Mainland, In Connecticut. (1976).

Gould, Sally Innis. The Jews: Their Origins, In America, In Connecticut. (1976).

Slominski, Lynda and Stanislaus A. Bleujwas. The Poles: In Their Homeland, In America, In Connecticut. (1979).

Stone, Frank A. The Irish: In Their Homeland, In America, In Connecticut. (1975).

———. Scots and Scotch Irish in Connecticut: A History. (1978).

Weibust, Patricia S. The Italians: In Their Homeland, In America, In Connecticut. (1976).

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Barth, Edna. Lilies, Rabbits, and Painted Eggs: The Story of the Easter Symbols. New York: Seabury Press 1975.

———. Shamrocks, Harps, and Shillelaghs: The Story of the St. Patrick’s Day Symbols. New York: Seabury Press 1977.

Two delightful books which explore the origins and customs of Easter and St. Patrick’s Day. Grade 4 and up.

Epstein, Sam and Beryl. A Holiday Book: Spring Holidays. Champaign , Ill.: Garrard Publishing Co., 1964.

Informative, easy to read, designed to help young readers understand why we celebrate certain days. Grade 3 and up.

Helfman, Elizabeth S. Celebrating Nature: Rites and Ceremonies Around the World. New York: Seabury Press, 1969.

Nature rites and ceremonies are described, compared, and interrelated. Grade 4 and up.

McSpadden, J. Walker. The Book of Holidays. New York: Crowell Co., 1958.

Easily readable account of how and why we celebrate holidays; including U.S., Foreign, and Jewish holidays. Grade 5 and up.

Musgrove, Margaret. Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions. New York: Dial Press, 1976.

Explains some traditions and customs of 26 African tribes. Grade 4 and up.

Nickerson, Betty. Celebrate the Sun: A Heritage of Festivals Interpreted through the Art of Children from Many Lands. Philadelphia: Lippiencott, 1969.

The story of festivals around the world, divided according to the seasons. Grade 5 and up.

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Brock, Virginia. Piñatas. Nashville: Abingon, 1966.

Interesting account of the origin of pinatas, including complete instructions and three short amusing stories. Grade 4-9.

Cooper, Terry Touff and Marilyn Ratner. Many Hands Cooking: An International Cookbook for Girls and Boys. New York: Easy to prepare recipes from 33 countries.

Hunter, Ilene and Marilyn Judson. Simple Folk Instruments to Make and to Play. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1917.

Collection of simple instruments for children to make, along with description of methods and materials.

Meilack, Dona Z. Papier-mache Artistry. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1971.

Good collection of crafts made from papier-mache.

Orlick, Terry. The Cooperative Sports and Games Book: Challenge without Competition. New York: Pantheon Books, 1978.

Excellent resource for teachers and parents, emphasizing team work and skill sharing. Over 100 games, some from around the world.

di Prima, Diane. Various Fables from Various Places. New York: G.P. Putnam Sons, 1960.

A collection of fables from 14 different peoples and cultures. Grade 7 and up.

Temko, Florence. Folk Crafts for World Friendship. Garden City: Doubleday and Co, Inc., 1976.

A colorful celebration of handicrafts from around the world. Excellent descriptions and illustrations for each method, origin, and customs relating to it. Informative, clearly written, and easy to follow for young readers.

U.S. Committee for Unicef. Publications and Educational Materials: Catalog 1981-1982. New York: UNICEF, 1981.

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14” high cardboard figures in the festival attire of their regions. Information is included on clothing depicted and the festival being celebrated.

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A trilingual game played like Bingo using basic foods. The game may be played in English, French, and Spanish.

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12” LP recordings featuring songs from 6 countries, sung by a children’s chorus.

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A calendar of children’s art listing dates for holidays of all the world’s religions, national holidays, and other celebrated days.

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An informative and educational card game developed by Unicef with messages about living conditions in both developed and less developed countries.

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