So, it’s still the holiday season, and guess what? More holidays! More traditions! More awkward small talk with your extended family you only see once a year! Today, we discuss a number of classic holidays, from religious to cultural to just plain fun; it’s amazing how many ways people celebrate during this season! Hey, it beats talking about finals again so let’s take a look!
Hanukkah! [ BM695.H3 F685 1999]
It’s a pop-up book! About Hanukkah! Alright, so it’s a kids book, and it’s informative and tells the story of Hanukkah, but look at the pictures! They`re so pretty and they pop up! So ok, the actual book tells the story of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Here’s the CliffsNotes version: Basically, around 2000 years ago, the Jewish homeland was being occupied by the Greek army, and even worse, the Greek army vandalized the sacred Jewish temples, threw out the Jewish worshippers, and sacrificed pigs on their altar. Which, to me, sounds pretty gross no matter your culture, but to the Jewish faith, it’s an especially big insult. So, tired of being oppressed, a guy named Judah Maccabee and a small group decided to fight back. Long story short, they kicked the Greeks out, and held a celebration in their temple. In this book, this story has a lot more details, and, more importantly, it’s full of great pictures! But the big moment is when they try to light the Menorah, and realize they only have enough oil for one day! And it will take days to run to ancient Walmart to get more! Luckily, a miracle happens, and the candle burned for eight days straight, until the Walmart run could come back with more oil. So yeah, the whole story is much cooler than a quick summary, so check it out- in pop-up form!
For some reason, it seems like if you want any good information on holidays, the best place to look is children’s literature with exclamation points in their titles. I guess they just work better with pretty pictures, I don’t know. Like in this book, which is talking about the many traditions of the African American holiday of Kwanzaa. It takes the reader step by step through the multiple-day celebration of African American culture and African heritage, complete with sayings, games, and pictures. Each chapter takes you through one of the 7 days of Kwanzaa, telling about each one’s meaning (unity, purpose, faith, creativity, etc.) and what everything they do symbolizes (candles, African sayings and songs, handmade gifts and books). This book also has a number of stories in it, both old African folk tales, and more modern real-life stories of great African Americans, along with lots of pictures. And at the end, it shows a number of Kwanzaa games, foods, and other fun things for kids to do. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of how Kwanzaa came to be, with its ties to the black power movement in the 1960s, this book sort of skips over a lot of the political stuff that came with the creation of this holiday, so it might not be for you. But if you’re interested more in the actual traditions and cultural ties to Africa and African American culture, this seems like a good place to start!
Dear lord does that sound like an exciting read! But honestly, as something of a history dork, I love learning about the lives of average people living in the past, or people living in different places. That includes how people celebrate their holidays! Unlike the previously mentioned kids’ books, this is pretty dry information about various holidays, but it’s still good reading. You can learn about the winter holidays of everyone from the ancient Norwegians, to the colonial Americans to the South Americans’ Moon Pie Festival. There are lots of discussions of traditions, histories, and cultures, which, while not super exciting, will give you lots of good information if you’re looking to learn more ways to celebrate! Not to mention this is a pretty nifty encyclopedia for that multicultural speech in CMST 101!
Well, looks like I’m signing off for 2012. It’s been a blast being your blogger, and I can’t wait to continue next year! Have a good break, and be sure to stop by the library (and my blog) when you get back! See you guys!