This week officially begins the time when our classroom will learn about lots of different celebrations that happen this time of year. Several families have volunteered to come in and share something that is an important part of their seasonal tradition. Why is this important? There are several reasons I carve out time during this very busy time of year to do this. I’d like the students to know that creating and maintaining family traditions allows families to spend time together having fun, and often helps strengthen the family unit (and society as a whole). In the classroom, as we share the traditions that are important to us, we delight in the similarities, and learn from and respect the differences of different religious, cultural, and family cultures.
Whether the students celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or the Winter Solstice (or a combination of any of these), LIGHT seems to be the most common unifying and shared factor. As we head into the darkest part of the year, we take comfort in the fact that the days will soon grow longer, and that Spring will again come.
Today, Mila’s mom came in to bake with the children, and to share some stories about festivals of light and the solstice. We made two batches of St. Lucia bun dough (or Lussekatter), made tasty and yellow by the addition of an egg yolk and saffron. St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated mostly in Scandinavia, especially Sweden. St. Lucia was a young girl who was killed for her faith in the year 304. The most common story about her is that she would secretly bring food to persecuted Christians in Rome, and would wear candles on her head so that both hands would be free to carry. In the old “Julian” calendar, December 13th was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. Today, St. Lucia’s Day is celebrated by a girl (usually the oldest in the family) dressing in a white dress with a red sash, and a crown of candles on her head. She often serves her family the special golden buns we made today.
Please enjoy! And many, many thanks to Mila’s mom, Sylwia, for coming in this morning.
|Sylwia demonstrates the earth's trip around the sun.|
|Hard at work.|
|There was a lot of resting and rolling stages.|
|Ready for the oven!|