SHARING CULTURES THROUGH HOLIDAYS & FOOD
We all want our children to be well-rounded and aware of other people throughout the world. What better way to introduce your children to the variety of cultures than through Holidays and the food associated with them? Every culture in the world has their holidays and customs and food is almost always a part of them. A Holiday or Celebration occurs in almost every month of the year starting with January.
Chinese New Year’s usually occurs in January although sometimes it does occur in February. This year, 2012, it starts on January 23rd and is the Year of the Dragon. There are 12 Zodiac signs that signify each of 12 years in the Asian Culture. In addition, the Dragon has five different elements that are associated with it and give an added dimension to the Dragon personality. They are Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Metal.
In February there is Valentines and Groundhog Day. For most of us, Valentines is a day for Romance and anything with hearts on it is usually part of the celebration along with sweets and roses.
March brings in St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras in some cultures throughout the world. Easter also sometimes falls in March, though most of the time it comes in April.
April is the month in which Passover occurs in the Hebrew Calendar and is also usually the month in which Easter occurs. Passover and Easter are usually both around the same time and often overlap each other.
May brings in May Day which is still celebrated in some areas of the world. In Hawaii, May 1st is Lei Day. The second Sunday in May in the United States is Mother’s Day. In Mexico, the 5th of May is celebrated as Cinco de Mayo which is the day that the Mexican Army defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla. May is a wonderful month and is full of flowers and promises of summer to come.
June is the month of weddings and the third Sunday in June is Father’s Day.
July of course is the celebration of the Independence of the United States. Wonderful celebrations occur on the Fourth of July with picnics, festivals and fireworks. Bastille Day which occurs on July 14th in France is also a cause for celebration.
August is a wonderful summer month with vacations, picnics and beach outings. On August 12th in Thailand Mother’s Day is celebrated. The manufacturer’s make T-Shirts which are purchased by many people in Thailand. The theme for these shirts is ‘Love Mom’ and I am fortunate to have several of them which I received from my Thai based son and wife. August 12th has been chosen as Mother’s Day because this is the Queen’s Birthday. Someday when a new Monarch is reigning then Mother’s Day will change accordingly.
September in the United States is Labor Day which for many signifies the end of summer and the beginning of another work or school year. September 16th also Mexican Independence Day. Late September or early October is also the observance of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
October brings in All Hallows Eve or Halloween as it is known in Western Countries. The Day after Halloween is known as the ‘Dia del Muerte” or the Day of the Dead in many Latin based countries.
November brings in Veteran’s Day in the United States and of course Thanksgiving which is represented by Turkey Dinners and the pilgrims who created the first Thanksgiving Day in the United States.
December is probably the month most waited for by many people, especially children. During December we have Chanukah, The Festival of Lights and Christmas and Kwanza.
There are many more holidays celebrated throughout the world and in this series I will do
my best to cover them all. Most holidays are cause for celebration and celebration means food for at least 90% of the holidays or observances throughout the world.
Look monthly for our coverage of current holidays and the food customs that accompany them. The first one to look for will be the Lunar New Year which is observed in most Asian countries and is recognized
even in Western countries.
You can also read about the Year of the Dragon and gain a couple of recipes by going to http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Year-of-the-Dragon&id and reading my article on The Year of The Dragon.