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Friday, December 9, 2011

Holidays Around the World

Our family has enjoyed a new holiday tradition the last couple years.  We call it Holidays Around the World.  The kids love it and Scott and I have found it very interesting.  We sit down with the family after Thanksgiving and pick four or so countries we would like to learn about.  We read up on how they celebrate Christmas and how their festivities originated.  

I found a great website that makes the preparations a breeze...  Santas.net  It has a list of countries from around the world and details on each locations holiday traditions.  Some entries include recipes.  Once we pick the countries we are going to learn about that year, I search for one or two traditional recipes from that country that I think we can stomach {there are many we cannot :0}

Here is our list for this year.  I have also included the recipes we are going to attempt ;0)  Now if you are from or familiar with one of these countries and we are way of the mark, don't laugh.  I am doing the best this uneducated American can do :0)

Africa-
Since Africa eats a traditional meal similar to our Christmas feast, I chose to make some other traditional African food.  YASSA- a "delicious West African lemon-vinegar chicken dish".  It sounds fun.  You eat it with your hands right out of the pot!  What kid wouldn't LOVE that! They don't traditionally eat a lot of dessert so I think we will have fruit salad with whipped cream-one of the few things I found mentioned.

Brazil-
I think we might try Coxinha - Brazilian Chicken Croquettes or Feijoada (Meat Stew), some Brazilian Rice (with black bean of course), and maybe Grilled Pineapple or Banana Frita (Fried Bananas).  If we had some extra $$$ I would take the family to the Brazilian Steakhouse in Scottsdale.

Canada-
Well, I couldn't find a recipe for "Boulettes or small meatballs" specifically, so I think I will make my own meatball recipe and serve with creamy potato balls and gravy of some sort.  They say that Canadians put gravy on everything-even fries.  That is how you tell an American from a Canadian, if they ask for gravy on their fries.  For dessert we will try this recipe I found for Nanaimo Bars .

Germany-
Because I lived in Germany for a few years as a kid, we do this country every year.  That is partially because I know how to cook the food, part because my kids love the food, and part because I love their traditions.  We make the advent wreath, put shoes out for Nikolaustag {Dec. 6th}, and must sing a song or two in German.  *note*we usually miss Dec. 6th, but whatever day we decide is our "German day" we put our shoes out and do the whole thing on that one day.  I will usually make sausage and cabbage in the crockpot.  Last year we made Zwiebelkuchen {Onion Pie}.  The kids didn't think they would like it, but they DID!  Eli also loves when we make kartoffelkloesse {Potato Dumplings}, except I take the easy way out and buy them in a box, then just boil them.  I found a great recipe for Lebkuchen  {kind of like gingerbread} on allrecipes that we may try this year.

We also try to teach our kids about the traditions of other groups, hoping it will awake an awareness and respect of other's beliefs.

We spend one night learning about Hanukkah.  I found some great printables on Activity Village, but Scholastic has the most awesome printables to make the Hanukkah lesson more like a learning event.  You can find all their resources HERE.  Hanukkah starts on December 20th this year and goes to my birthday!  December 28th.  We cheat a little.  We do the whole Hanukkah celebration in one night.  We don't have Potato Latkes, we have like fish sticks and tatertots :0)  But, the kids have fun and we get to have a peak at what Hanukkah is like.

We do the same kind of thing with Kwanzaa.  Scholastic has fabulous resources for learning about Kwanzaa too.  You can check those out HERE.

Each place celebrates by showering the kids with candy and toys.  We just buy a bag or two of candy, use it for our activity day, then pour the remaining candy in a bowl and use if for the next culture night.  It is really a fun tradition that we look forward to for months in advance.  Start small, like with one country.  You can be lazy and modify like I do, to make the tradition manageable.  Your kids will remember it all of their lives.

1 comment:

  1. Tee Hee...I decided to post this even though I wrote part of it last year and left it as a draft. The problem was, when I finally got 'er done, I clicked "publish" and forgot to change the date from 2010 to 2011 :0) This post has been hanging around December of last year in the archive for the past couple days. Hee-He. Blogging blunder.

    Vanessa
    The Sew*er, The Caker, The CopyCat Maker

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