Tag Archives: festival

Holi: The Indian Festival of Color

Wouldn’t you love to celebrate the coming of spring with a wild and exuberant festival where you didn’t have to behave and got to throw colored powder and perfume on people? Sounds like fun!

That’s the festival of Holi, an Indian holiday that is believed to commemorate the faithfulness of a young man, Prahlada, who continued to worship the god, Vishnu, even after he was ordered to stop by his father. His father commanded him and his aunt, Holika, into a fire that burnt up the aunt but spared Prahlada. The name Holi comes from the unlucky aunt.

Followers of Hinduism offer prayers on Holi and light bonfires to commemorate the story of Prahlada, as well.

The festival can last for a few days and it is generally seen as a time where people do not have to adhere to the strict social code in India but can relax and celebrate.

Although celebrations may vary by region, Holi is an important holiday in India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

2 Comments

Filed under Asia, Faith, Holiday, Learn

10 Things Kids Should Know About Diwali

Happy Diwali! Although most Americans are unfamiliar with the festival of Diwali, it is celebrated by millions of people around the world.

Here are ten things kids should know about Diwali:

1. Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs.

2. The holiday celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

3. One of the most popular interpretations of the holiday is that it commemorates the return of Lord Rama, who left his home and battled a ten-headed dragon. When he returned home after 14 years, villagers laid out lanterns to line the route.

4. Diwali means “row of light.”

5. Diwali is also a new year’s celebration.

6. To celebrate Diwali, observers go to temple and pray, light small clay lamps, wear new clothes, fireworks, and share delicious food with family and friends.

7. Diwali was first celebrated at the White House in 2003; in 2009, President Barack Obama participated in the White House Diwali celebration.

8. Diwali is one of the most important festivals for Hindus.

9. Diwali is celebrated for five days.

10. To wish a friend a happy holiday, you can say “Happy Diwali” in English or “Deepavali ki Shubhkamnayein” in Hindi.

Host your own celebration at home tonight by making Coconut Chicken and Vegetable Curry from Kitchen Explorers on PBS.

3 Comments

Filed under Asia, Faith

Donut Days: Festival from Jamaica

FestivalYou can make any day a festival with these fried corn fritters from Jamaica.

It’s said they got their name because they’re so good, it’s like having a festival in your mouth!

Festival are a great donut to eat with jerk spiced dishes from the Caribbean.

Play with the shape and you’ve got lots of variety in one little donut.

These donuts are the favorite so far of Chef Danielle from Cooking Clarified.

Check out her Festival recipe to see why.

1 Comment

Filed under Caribbean, Eat

The Festival of Purim

EstherPurim has been described as a Jewish mash-up of Halloween and Mardi Gras. The story of Purim is well-known to readers of the Old Testament. The Book of Esther tells how Esther, the Jewish wife of a Persian king, saved the Jewish people from the plot of an evil advisor to the king, named Haman. 

Haman had a grudge against Mordecai, who happened to be Esther’s cousin. Haman convinced the king to send out a decree that called on the rest of the kingdom to kill all the Jewish people. This decree would have included Esther but the king did not know she was Jewish.

Esther – knowing that the fickle king could easily have her killed – asked the Jewish people to fast for three days and then she went to the king and informed him that she was Jewish and that Mordecai was her cousin.

The king promised to give her anything she wanted. Haman was hanged for his evil plan and Mordecai became the king’s advisor in his place. Although it was too late to rescind the order to have the Jewish people killed, Mordecai amended the order so that the Jewish people could defend themselves. The following day the Jewish people celebrated and it is this celebration that is known today as Purim.

Jewish people typically observe Purim by publicly reading the story from the Book of Esther, giving to the poor, and sharing food. Some people produce plays, dress up in costumes, hold beauty contests, and have parades.

One popular food on Purim is a cookie called hamantaschen. It is translated to mean “Haman’s pockets” or “Haman’s ears,” and their triangle shape is said to mimic Haman’s triangle hat. Check back tomorrow for a post on this awesome – and fun – cookie.

1 Comment

Filed under Eat, Holiday

Hanukkah Books

One great way to celebrate this eight-day holiday with your family is by sharing a book a day (or night). Here are eight suggestions for Hanukkah books you can give as gifts or incorporate into your usual story time.

Light the Candles: A Hanukkah Lift-the-Flap Book by Joan Holub; illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath

The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes by Linda Glaser; illustrated by Nancy Cote
All About Hanukkah by Madeline Wikler, illustrated by Judyth Groner
Moishe’s Miracle: A Hanukkah Story by Laura Krauss Melmed; illustrated by David Slonim
Eight Winter Nights: A Family Hanukkah Book by Laura Krauss Melmed; illustrated by Elisabeth Schlossberg
Biscuit’s Hanukkah by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Pat Schories, and Mary O’Keefe Young
Hanukkah Moon by Deborah Da Costa; illustrated by Gosia Mosz
The Miracle Jar: A Hanukkah Story by Audrey Penn; illustrated by Lea Lyon

3 Comments

Filed under Holiday, Read

Thanksgiving Around the World

Thanksgiving

Photo UC Davis Health System

Few holidays have more of a food-focus than Thanksgiving.  

Ask any child what the most remarkable thing about Thanksgiving is and they’ll tell you it’s the quantity of food that is consumed around the dining room table, from the massive turkey to the creamy pumpkin pies.  

But it is important to remember that the real message of Thanksgiving – for harried parents and hungry kids – is gratitude, and gratitude is a common sentiment across cultures.  

While there may not be Pilgrims or cranberries fresh from a can, many nations have some sort of “thanksgiving” celebration in which they show their gratitude for a successful harvest. 

Pongal is a harvest festival in South India that celebrates the contributions of people, the sun, the rain, and even the cattle in providing a successful harvest.  

The Pongal Festival lasts for four days in mid-January.  On the first day, old clothes are thrown away or burned to indicate that a new life has begun.  

On the second day, rice or milk is boiled in new pots until it boils over.  This signifies the hope that the new harvest will produce plenty of food for everyone.  

On the third day, families wash and adorn their cows and buffalo to show their appreciation for the animals’ labor in producing a good harvest. 

Finally, on the fourth day families celebrate with a picnic.

In China and Vietnam, families celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, in September with a feast.  

The highlights of the meal are mooncakes, spongy cakes made from bean paste or lotus and imprinted with designs.  

The holiday is also marked by carrying lanterns and revering the moon.

Many people in Africa celebrate in late August when the first crop of the season, the yam, is harvested.  

People wear masks, often made from grass and leaves, listen to music, and dance.  

In Ghana, the celebration is called the Homowo Festival and it literally means “hooting at hunger.”

However and whenever you celebrate, it’s always worthwhile to give thanks and share with others. 

Moon Festival

IndoChina Oddyssey Tours

1 Comment

Filed under Africa, Asia, Eat, Holiday