Posts Tagged ‘Bodhi Day’

SKS Spotlight: Winter Traditions

Candles <<br />> by Consumer Product Safety Commission via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter [Public Domain]

by Consumer Product Safety Commission via ProQuest SIRS Government Reporter [Public Domain]

The winter season has arrived, bringing with it a diverse array of winter holidays around the world, each reflecting the culture from which it came. Long-established elements of many winter traditions are fire and  light, which warm even the coldest and darkest months in much of the Northern Hemisphere. From flickering Hanukkah candles to Christmas trees decorated with lights; from the burning of the Yule log to the lighting of the Kwanzaa kinara, these winter celebrations incorporate light into the festivities. Some winter observances engender a sense of community: in China, the winter season is commemorated with lavish street festivals during the Lunar New Year; in Mexico, Las Posadas is commemorated with street parties and processions paying homage to Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. Some spiritual observations, including the Buddhist holiday Bodhi Day, are more meditative. Other winter holidays are celebrated with feasts, such as Santerian saints’ days or Baha’i faith’s spiritual observances. Learn more about worldwide winter observances and celebrations in SKS/SIRS Issues Researcher December Spotlight of the Month.

Winter Crafting

As a child, I loved doing arts and crafts. Give me markers, some paper, and glue, and I was one happy kid.

And doing crafts at school? Totally a bonus! I still remember the holiday-craft days in elementary school. We would take a break from work and revel in a laid-back classroom atmosphere of creativity, learning, and fun.

But that was 30 years ago. Things are a bit different in today’s public elementary schools. Lots of curriculum changes and even more testing means not much time for creative pursuits.


Handmade Christmas Ornaments
Photo by JamesDeMers, via Pixabay [Public Domain]

But what if you could weave crafts into your curriculum? What if students could really learn something while making art? Sounds great, right? Well, the winter season is chock-full of opportunities for learning about other cultures and their traditions and beliefs. And SIRS Discoverer is chock-full of crafts and appropriate information for classroom learning to go with them!

Buddhists all over the world celebrate Bodhi Day on December 8, in honor of the Buddha’s enlightenment that occurred while he was sitting under a Bodhi tree. Teach your students a bit about this holiday, and ask them to create their own Bodhi tree in its honor.

Or maybe you’d like to talk to your class about Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. Highlight the history and traditions of this celebration, and help your students make an easy Hanukkah candle out of an empty tissue paper roll, some tissue paper, and ribbon!

What about celebrating Chinese New Year with your students? The Year of the Ram starts on February 19. There’s a lot to learn about this festive holiday…and lots of cool crafts to do! I like this delightful plum tree. Pretty and very easy!

You can find all of these crafts and more on SIRS Discoverer. December’s Spotlight of the Month, Winter Holidays & Celebrations, features articles and Web sites on winter traditions around the world. Encourage your students to explore the different ways winter is celebrated across the globe.