There are many holiday traditions celebrated around the world, and you can learn more about them with CultureGrams in GoWYLD.net. CultureGrams provides reliable and up-to-date cultural information on countries across the globe.
In the Netherlands, gift giving traditionally is associated with Saint Nicholas Eve (December 5). Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) arrives on a white horse and leaves gifts in kid’s shoes.
Kids in central and southern Mexico usually get their presents on January 6, which is Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings Day), instead of on Christmas Day. The kings, or wise men, are said to fly down from heaven and leave presents for the children.
Christmas in summer
For many New Zealanders, Christmas is a favorite holiday. Because the seasons are reversed from those in North America, Christmas falls during the summer. Many people go to the beach or have a barbecue. Desserts include Christmas pudding (steamed fruitcake drizzled with caramel or brandy sauce and served with cream) and pavlova (a meringue-like cake topped with cream and fresh fruit and served cold).
The Jewish festival of Chanukah (Hanukkah) lasts for eight days. Families place a menorah in the window, and each night they light one more candle so that on the last night nine candles burn. Special foods during Chanukah include latkes (fried potato patties) and sufganiyot — a kind of doughnut that is often filled with jelly or cream and sometimes covered in powdered sugar. Sfenj, Moroccan doughnuts, usually sprinkled with sugar, are also popular during Chanukah.
New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day is the most popular holiday in Russia. Almost everyone decorates a New Year tree and has a party. Grandfather Frost (like Santa Claus) leaves presents for children to find on New Year’s Day.
New Year’s is also the biggest holiday of the year in Moldova. Families clean and decorate their homes, putting lights around the windows. On New Year’s Eve, Moldovans prepare a traditional feast to share with friends and family. People set off fireworks at midnight, although some people celebrate Russian New Year at 11 p.m., when it is midnight in Moscow, Russia. Then they get to repeat the celebration one hour later when it is midnight in Moldova. To ring in the New Year, people say La multi ani (Happy New Year).
On New Year’s Day, people at the South Pole place a new geographic marker (a 12-foot pole sunk 8 feet into the ice) at exactly 90 degrees south latitude (the geographic coordinates of the South Pole), since the last year’s marker moves 30 feet (10 meters) with the ice sheet over the course of the year. The wintering crew at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station designs a new geographic marker during the previous year.
Find these holiday tidbits and more in CultureGrams through GoWYLD.net. This resource includes four editions: the World Edition (for junior high school students and up) and the Kids, U.S. States, and Canadian Provinces editions (for upper elementary school students). For these examples, select Kids Edition, then a country from the map or drop down menu. On the left side of each country page is the link to Holidays.
Also find a CultureGrams Country Bingo Sheet within the Teaching Activities PDF that is linked at the bottom of each page.
Access CultureGrams and other GoWYLD resources from your library or from anywhere with your Wyoming library card and PIN. For more information contact your local library or Chris Van Burgh, Database Instruction Librarian at the Wyoming State Library, email@example.com.