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Posts Tagged ‘CultureGrams’

CultureGrams—Christmas Around the World

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A Colombian nativity scene
Image credit: Salym Fayad

As Christmas approaches, people all over the world are preparing for the holiday in their unique ways. Read about some distinctive Christmas traditions from Europe, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America below and visit CultureGrams holiday sections to find out more!

Argentina: Extended families gather on Christmas Eve for dinner, music, and often dancing. Candy is served just before midnight, when the fireworks displays begin. Gifts from Papá Noel (Father Christmas) are opened on Christmas Eve, while all other gifts are exchanged on Christmas Day. The singing of traditional Christmas carols by family members features prominently in Christmas celebrations.

Mozambique: Christmas is celebrated only by Christians. Church meetings are held in the morning; the afternoon is spent with family. A special meal is served and usually includes meat, fish, fried potatoes, rice, and cake. People celebrate with music and dancing. Some families exchange presents, but this is not a major part of the holiday. Family Day falls on the same day as Christmas and is celebrated by all Mozambicans. Celebrations intertwine with Christmas celebrations; the main difference is that non-Christians do not attend church on this day.

ArmeniaBecause Armenia was the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as the official state religion, many Armenians celebrate Christmas (Surb Tsnund) with a special solemnity. Christians attend church and participate in the Divine Liturgy (a church service) conducted by the chief bishop of the Armenian Apostolic Church. On Christmas Eve, families bring lit candles from the church into their homes to purify the homes from the power of darkness. A typical Christmas dinner for families includes fish and rice, served with raisins, dried fruits, and Armenian red wine.

Colombia: The nine nights before Christmas are called la novena, when family and friends gather to take part in traditional Christmas prayers, sing carols, and eat customary Christmas snacks such as natilla (similar to flan) and buñuelos (fried dough balls). Each night the novena is celebrated in a different home, and these events often turn into parties that include drinking and dancing. On Christmas Eve, families eat a large dinner, pray around the pesebre, and sing Christmas carols. At midnight, they exchange presents.

Tonga: On Christmas Eve, Sunday-school children may perform the story of Jesus’s birth for their families and walk around the perimeter of their communities singing Christmas carols. Meanwhile, older Tongans visit family members. Afterward, children go home, where they may receive a gift from their parents—this might be an inexpensive toy or balloons and candy. No matter what day of the week it falls on, Christmas day is treated as a Sunday; people refrain from outdoor activities (other than cooking) and businesses close. On Christmas morning, most people attend a church service. This is followed by a gathering of extended family for a special lunch of yams and roasted pigs.

SwedenAn important part of many Swedes’ modern Christmas celebrations is a television program called Kalle Ankas Jul, which is broadcast on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Each year since 1959, much of the country has gathered to watch this compilation of clips from different cartoons, whose ratings outperform nearly all other television events throughout the year. Santa Claus is called Jultomte—the “Christmas gnome.” The name Jultomte once referred to a fabled gnome who watched over Swedish homes during the year. In the modern tradition, he brings gifts for the children to the door on Christmas Eve. After Jultomte delivers the gifts, the family dances around the tree and sings carols.

CultureGrams Extremes Tables

Can you list the ten largest countries in the world? What about the smallest? Can you name the ten most populous countries? The ten countries with the youngest or oldest populations? Do you know which countries have the most women in parliament or the fewest internet users? What countries have the largest number of airports or the smallest number of physicians per 10,000 people. For answers to these and many other questions, check out CultureGrams Extremes Data Tables. These fascinating tables list top and bottom ten countries in a variety of categories. Links to the tables can be found in the lower portion of the left navigation bar on our Graphs and Tables page.

Extremes Table via ProQuest CultureGrams

But these top ten and bottom ten tables aren’t included merely as a source of geographical  and cultural trivia. They can also foster discussion and critical thinking. Students might be asked to think about why particular countries are on a specific Extremes table and what those countries have in common. For example, what do countries with a low population density have in common? What factors might result in certain countries having high or low life expectancy?

Also, they could discuss the impact of a country being very high or low in a particular category. What impact does it have on a country if it has low public school enrollment or high life expectancy? What effect might an aging population have on a country? What about a very young population?

And another option might be to look at some of the tables and consider how certain data in the tables might be misinterpreted. If one looks at the countries with the highest public spending on education, does that mean that those populations are the best educated? Why or why not?

Although they make up only a small part of the CultureGrams database, the Extremes tables are a tool that will  yield valuable insights to those who are able to think critically about what is revealed in the numbers.

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Comoros

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

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Flag of Comoros via CultureGrams

The new Comoros report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about Comoros:

  • Comoros is one of the top two producers of vanilla in the world (second to Madagascar).
  • The name Comoros came from the Arabic word qamar, meaning “moon”
  • Arab slave traders used Comoros as a base for transporting African slaves as early as the 16th century.
  • Comoros has one of the largest populations of the coelacanth fish, once called a “living fossil” because it was thought to have become extinct more than 65 million years ago, until it was rediscovered in the 20th century.

Read about local Comorian games and sports, as well as musical instruments and styles, all in this colorful new report.

CultureGrams: New Kosovo Interviews Added!

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In November, we added interviews from Kosovo to our CultureGrams Interviews collection! There are four interviews, and each captures different viewpoints about life in Kosovo from people of various ages living in diverse parts of the country:

These interviews by country natives are not only interesting and fun to read, but they also give students insider knowledge into what life and culture in the country are really like.

Here’s an example from the interview with Blerona, in which she talks about what being a citizen of Kozovo means to her:

kosovobleronaBeing a citizen of my country means that I belong somewhere. I’m from Kosovo, a country that has suffered a lot from wars and poverty. There is a lot to fix here. I still believe that one day I will be truly proud of my country. For the moment, there is a lot of corruption here, and the youth have problems finding jobs. As a future student, I want my studies to not be worthless, and I want to be able to have good work prospects.

Find more interviews from countries all over the world in the CultureGrams Interviews gallery!

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: São Tomé and Príncipe

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

F;ag of São Tomé and Príncipe via CultureGrams

Flag of São Tomé and Príncipe via CultureGrams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new São Tomé and Príncipe report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some fascinating Did You Knows about São Tomé and Príncipe:

  • São Tomé and Príncipe is Africa’s second-smallest country by population.
  • The country’s islands are actually extinct (not active) volcanoes.
  • The island of São Tomé is located about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of the island of Príncipe.
  • São Tomé and Príncipe was one of the first African countries to grow cocoa, which was introduced by the Portuguese in the 18th century.

Find out about popular children’s games on the islands, read about traditional street plays, and discover what life is like as a kid, all in this colorful new report.

Training for Your ProQuest Resources

Libraries see surge in e-book demandDon’t forget that ProQuest provides free training.  Our Training and Consulting Partners team is available at any time to meet with you via a privately scheduled webinar.  Just email us to make an inquiry.  We also provide regularly scheduled public webinars.  You can contact our team to discuss your questions about ProQuest resources, and we are also happy to focus privately scheduled sessions on topic areas of particular interest to you. 

This is just one of the many benefits you derive from licensure to your ProQuest resources!

 

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: French Polynesia

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

Flag of French Polynesia

Flag of French Polynesia

The new French Polynesia report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about French Polynesia:

  • The English word tattoo comes from the Tahitian word tatau. Tattoos are considered signs of beauty in Polynesian culture.
  • Many Tahitians have a box outside their homes (similar to a mailbox) for daily bread delivery.
  • Va’a is a traditional sport in which people race pirogues (canoes) between islands.
  • French Polynesia is an overseas country of France, meaning it is self-governing but remains under greater French rule.

Find out about popular the traditional Heiva Festival, read about common French Polynesian foods, and discover what life is like as a kid, all in this colorful new report.

CultureGrams—Teaching Activities: Understanding Election Results

Did you know that CultureGrams offers almost 80 free teaching activities to its subscribers? If you don’t have access to CultureGrams, enjoy this free teaching activity today and sign up for a free trial of the product to access more.

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CultureGrams USA map

Understanding Election Results

Grade level: K–5

Objective: Students will learn about the Electoral College while understanding the numerical basis for election results and
practicing various computations.

Common Core State Standards Initiative: Anchor Standards for Reading: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7. Integrate and evaluate content presented
in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

Time Requirement
Preparation: 40 minutes
In-class: 2 hours, two different days; less, if some is done as homework

Materials: CultureGrams States Edition

Instructions
1. Begin by handing out a printout of the PDF outline map of the U.S. to each student, along with coloring utensils. Give the students a list of which states voted for Mitt Romney (color red) in the
2012 presidential election and which states voted for Barack Obama (color blue) and have them color in the map accordingly.
2. When the students are done, tell them that the country was split fairly evenly in this election, with 51% of the nation voting for Obama and 47% voting for Romney. Yet, from looking at the amount of red on the election map, they might think that far more people voted for Romney. Talk about how the Electoral College works, explaining that each state gets a number of electoral votes based on its total number of senators and representatives, the latter of which is based on population.
3. Using this formula (senators + representatives = electoral votes), have the students use the information in the Government section of the CultureGrams States Edition to fill in their map with the numbers of electoral votes each state has. Compare the sum of the blue states’ electoral votes and those of the red states. Are they closer than the map makes them appear?
4. Explain to students that, typically, it is thought that states that are home to large urban populations (and are therefore more densely populated) tend to be democrat, while those home to rural populations (and therefore more sparsely populated) tend to be republican. Have students test this assumption using the Create-Your-Own-Table function in the States Edition. Have students create tables that display the population densities (population per sq. mi.) for both red and blue states. Using this data, have them create and compare averages for each group. What do their findings prove?

Questions for further discussion
1. Why might more densely populated states vote democratic, while more sparsely populated ones vote
republican?
2. The Electoral College has come under fire as being out of date and unfair. Do the students agree?
Why or why not?

Extension activity
Provide electoral maps for several past presidential elections. As they compare the maps, they should note which states should be classified as “swing states”; that is, which states alternate between voting for republican and democratic candidates.

CultureGrams Scavenger Hunt

Are you looking for an engaging way to help your students learn about the countries of the world? We just want to remind you that we’ve put together a scavenger hunt that will help them do that, and students will become familiar with some of the content and features available in the CultureGrams World Edition as well. The activity requires students (either individually or in groups) to answer a series of questions on an assigned country by “scavenging” through the product. And in the process, they learn about some of our standard CultureGrams categories, plus features like the Currency Converter, Data Tables, Famous People, Photos, and Recipes.

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CultureGrams World Edition via ProQuest

Most of the questions are factual in nature, but there are critical thinking questions as well. The scavenger hunt can be an activity that you use on its own or it can be a way to teach students how to use CultureGrams for country research as preparation for working on their own.

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CultureGrams Scavenger Hunt via ProQuest

Check it out by clicking here. Enjoy!

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Equatorial Guinea

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

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Flag of Equatorial Guinea

The new Equatorial Guinea report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about Equatorial Guinea:

  • In the Fang culture, many pregnant women take herbal baths to protect themselves from evil spirits.
  • Equatorial Guinea is the only country in Africa with Spanish as an official language.
  • When Portuguese explorers first found the island of Bioko, they named it Formosa, which means “beautiful.”
  • The islands of Bioko and Annobón are actually located closer to other countries like Cameroon and São Tomé and Príncipe than they are to Equatorial Guinea’s mainland.

Find out about popular foods and snacks in Equatorial Guinea, read about Bonko Dancers, and discover what life is like as a kid, all in this colorful new report.