This year we in our school community we are trying something new. You may have noticed that our door postings are in English and Spanish. This a practice that we are doing to be inclusive for current and future families.That being said, we are reaching out to staff to share about a few Holiday celebrations. Below are blogs that different people shared on their family traditions. I hope you enjoy!
Chanukah - Bernice Wahle
Chanukah, Festival of Lights, is a widely celebrated Jewish holiday. It is a time for happy family gatherings around the menorah, for children’s songs and sizzling potato latkes (potato pancakes) and games of dreidel. For many of us, it brings back fond memories of childhood and renews our sense of Jewish identity.
Chanukah is a celebration, lasting eight days, in perpetual commemoration of victory over religious persecution. The miracle of Chanukah is a military victory by an ill-equipped army, and the oil in the lamp that was only enough to burn for one night, but lasted for eight.
The menorah, symbolizes the eight nights that the oil burned and at the candles of the menorah are kindled either in a front window or by a doorway. This teaches us that it is not enough to bring light into our own homes but we must spread the light and warmth to the outer environment. The Chanukah lights are more than simply a reminder of miracles in days gone by. They provide inspiration for us, to make this world a brighter place.
Christmas - Lisa Berry
In the Berry household we celebrate Christmas right after Thanksgiving. We put the Christmas tree up. We decorate the tree with bright and colorful ornaments with a shiny star on top. Then we plug in the tree and turn off all the lights and stand around with a cup of eggnog, listening to Nat King Cole "The Christmas Song." I respectfully understand everyone has different traditions and celebrations at this time of the year. With that being said, we also believe that in our celebration that Christmas is about the birth of Christ and we display a twenty- five year-old nativity scene in our home that we enjoy and adore.
It is my hope that everyone observes this season in a way that brings you and those you love great joy, peace and happiness!
Kwanzaa - Lisa Berry
Kwanzaa is a pan-African (defined as the belief that unity is vital to economic, social, and political progress and aims to unify and uplift people of African descent) holiday which celebrates family, community, and culture created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. It's observed from December 26 -January 1st.
Kwanzaa lasts for seven days, starting on December 26th. Each day is dedicated to a different principle, together known as Nguzo Saba and teaches values that we should practice every day, not just during the kwanzaa season.
A central symbol of Kwanzaa is the kinara, a candelabra that holds one black, three red, and three green candles. The kinara is placed over a straw mat (called a mkeka) during Kwanzaa, and the candles are lighted in a particular order until the final day when all seven candles are burned.
Day 1: Light the black, middle candle to honor umoja
Day 2: Light the innermost red candle to honor kujichagulia
Day 3: Light the innermost green candle to honor ujima
Day 4: Light the middle red candle to honor ujamaa
Day 5: Light the middle green candle to honor nia
Day 6: Light the outermost red candle to honor kuumba
Day 7: Light the outermost green candle to honor imani
Below is the meaning that is associated with each day.
Umoja or unity/we help each other
Kujichagulia or self-determination/ we decide things for ourselves
Ujima or collective work and responsibility/we work together to make life better
Ujamaa or cooperative economics/ we build and support our own businesses
Nia or purpose/ we have a reason for living
Kuumba or creativity/ we use our minds and hands to make things
Imani or faith/ we believe in ourselves, our ancestors and our future
Another Kwanzaa symbol is corn. One ear of corn is placed under the kinara to symbolize each child in a family
Traditionally. a feast is held on the sixth day and gifts are exchanged on the seventh day. Kwanzaa is a meaningful way to wrap up the year and reflect on important values. It is a chance to start the New Year with a sense of purpose, responsibility, self respect, and care for the community.
Happy Holidays and Have a wonderful winter break!