December 7: Diwali
Diwali is known as the Festival of Lights and is a Hindu holiday; many people in India celebrate it even if they are of a different faith. We learned they use diyas, clay lamps, to ward off bad spirits and bring good luck into their houses. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight days and nights.
Project made: colored a Rangoli Design. These are usually made with colorful sand in front of families houses.
December 8: Hanukkah
We learned Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated for eight days because long, long ago after the Maccabees won the Jewish temple back from invaders, they were cleaning it and when they went to light the oil lamp there was only enough for one night’s worth of light. After praying to their god, the oil lasted for eight nights. On each night one of the nine candles is lit, signifying another day and different tradition to be celebrated during Hanukkah. There are nine candles in a menorah, because the middle candle is lit first to light the other candles. Then, the other eight candles are lit for the eight days of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is sometimes referred to as the Festival of Lights too.
Project made: Star of David
December 9: Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is a seven day African American holiday to celebrate their African heritage. On each day they celebrate one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, which are: unity, determination, responsibility, cooperation, building community, creativity, and faith. Each night a candle is lit on the kinara; there is one black candle in the middle, three red candles on the left and three green candles on the right. The candles are lit in a specific order from left to right with the black candle being first, then alternating one red, one green candle until they are all lit.
Project made: Kinara with the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa.
December 10: Eid-al-Fitr
Eid is a Muslim holiday that is celebrated for three days after Ramadan, which is a month of fasting during the day. Eid is determined by the visible sighting of the crescent moon of Shawwal, which is the 10th month of the lunar calendar. People will dress in their finest clothes, decorate their houses with lights, and attend street fairs, fireworks, play games, and dance. This children will receive Eidiyyah, a small amount of money, to spend on sweets at the street fairs. After attending the community festivities, many families will continue to celebrate in their homes by having a large meal.
Miss Peters also discussed one of her friends' family traditions with us. Her friend is a first generation American Indian, which means her parents moved here from India and she was born in America. Her friend has never been able to experience her two family holidays in India, so what they do in America is slightly different from what other Muslims do in India. What she and her family do is fast during Ramadan, only able to eat a date and some water after sunset and then breakfast between 2 and 3am. Both Eids (Eid-al-Fitr & Eid-al-Adha) are celebrated the same in their community by getting together with all of the Muslims or Islamic Society in their area to say the holiday prayer together and then have a large brunch together. Everyone congratulates each other and says "Eid Mubarak" (Happy Eid). During their holidays they get up really early, put on their finest clothes and do their morning prayers, before doing the holiday prayer with the other members of the Islamic Society in their area, and then saying their evening prayer called maghrib.
Project made: Glitter crescent moon and star.