December is a month full of holidays. How can teachers, especially in public schools, use these to their advantage? One way is to celebrate customs and holidays from around the world with students through a Winter Solstice festival. The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year when the sun is closest to the earth, occurs on the 21st of December. In ancient times, this was celebrated by various methods. Groups ranging from Germanic tribes to the Roman populace celebrated mid-winter festivals during our month of December. Of course today, three major holidays are celebrated in America during the month of December: Chanukah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. We can create our own festival allowing us to experience how other cultures celebrate these holidays.
Method of PresentationMany methods exist for creating this festival atmosphere. These range from simple classroom stations presented by groups of students about each culture to schoolwide activities that take place in a large auditorium/cafeteria and allow for more than just static presentations. Students can sing, cook, give powerpoint presentations, perform skits, and more. This is a great opportunity to have students work cooperatively in groups to gather information about holidays and customs.
Information and Resources for Winter Holidays
I hope that this information is useful in preparing your own 'winter solstice' festival or in simply presenting students with information about different cultures. I wish everyone happy holidays!