Not surprisingly, I’m dedicating the last few lessons before our holiday break to talking about different holidays celebrated throughout the United States. Basically, I’m just focusing on the three bigs: Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa…or at least they were the first to come to my minds anyway.
Now, Christmas came easy. I’ve had a little experience with this strange day a couple times in my life. The last two lessons though, once for my night and once for my morning classes, I’ve spent talking about Hanukkah. Let’s be perfectly honest. I’m by no means an expert. At points I was simply happy to think I was pronouncing some of the words correctly–You try to explain what shammash, gelt, and gimmel is to a non-English speaking population.
Of course, equally as important, this also gave me the opportunity to learn more about Hanukkah, too. While it might not be vocabulary that my students will use often, lucky if rarely. I think it’s important for them to have a more diverse understanding of the holidays that are celebrated throughout the United States. While we’re not doing an in depth study, I think we all are leaving with a better idea about holidays that are rarely portrayed in media. Just think about how many Christmas trees you’ve seen on TV lately and then ask yourself when’s the last time you’ve seen a menorah.
While I know that there are more holidays from different cultures celebrated in the United States, I choose the ones that I think my students might encounter more often. It might not perfect choices, but at least it gives us something to talk about.