This time of year goes by so darn quickly! I wake up one day and people are putting out their Halloween decorations, and then I blink and it's already the New Year! This time around, I'm taking it slowly by planning a little bit in advance and savor the moments.
I'm starting off by joining some dear blogging buddies for a little Holiday Blog Hop! We are taking you on a trip around the world to study different holiday celebrations and offer up some amazing FREEBIES for you and your classroom!
Well, my bags are packed and I'm headed to Spain! Are you coming?
Christmas, or Navidad, is a very festive time of year in Spain. Christmas celebrations begin on December 24th with Christmas Eve, and ends on January 6th with the Epiphany.
On Christmas Day, families generally spend most of the day between church, feast and more family celebrations. Special swing sets are set up and children and youths swing from them in celebration. Homes are decorated with Nacimientos. These are very detailed Nativity scenes depicting baby Jesus in the manger. Families also exchange presents on Christmas Day.
Santa is not the traditional bearer of gifts in Spain. Instead, children await the coming of the Magi, or kings for their gifts. On Dia de Los Reyes, or Day of the Kings, it is believed that the Magi travel through the countryside reenacting their journey to Bethlehem every year. On the eve of Dia de Los Reyes, children fill their shoes with straw, carrots and other food for the Magi's horses, and leave them out on their windowsills. In appreciation of their efforts, the children wake up to find their shoes are filled with small gifts and toys. Balthazar is typically the favorite king of children, as he is the one believed to leave the gifts.
Dia de Los Reyes, also called The Epiphany, is celebrated on January 6th. On this day, there are parades throughout different cities. Children also buy or make special pastries called Rascónes. A Rascón typically has a small toy or a figure of baby Jesus hidden inside. This marks the final day of the Christmas season in Spain.
One of my favorite books to introduce this topic is from Barnabas and Anabel Kindersley. This book highlights festivals and celebrations from all over the world, and can really engage children in a comparison of different cultures!
After introducing Christmas in Spain to my students, I like to give them the opportunity to process the information and make sense of it. One of my favorite ways to do this is by encouraging them to compare what they have learned to their own experiences. Use the activity below to help students organize their connections, and understand how Christmas in Spain is different from and similar to their own Christmas celebrations.
If you are following these activities from around the world, and would like to make passports with your students, here are some complimentary stamps to use!
An InLinkz Link-up