Category Archives: Kulture For Kids

Kulture for Kids – Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico Flag

This is my 5th week doing Kulture for Kids and it has been wonderful so far. This week we are learning about Puerto Rico.

ABOUT PUERTO RICO:

Puerto Rico World Map

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States. This means that US law governs the country, but they do not fall under our constitution and they do not have to pay US income tax. Many times territories are eventually let go and they become their own nations, like the Philippines. Puerto Rico is an Island in the Caribbean that was a Spanish territory before we obtained it after the Spanish-American War. Because the territory is not a state, she is overseen directly by the Federal Government.

FOOD IN PUERTO RICO:

Puerto Rico Food

Breakfast in Puerto Rico is usually quite simple. Maizena is like a slightly sweetened breakfast custard made from cornstarch that is sometimes eaten in the mornings. For Lunch and supper most times beans and rice can be served along with some type of stewed, grilled, or baked meat, like beef or chicken. Puerto Rican style Cazuela Chicken is seasoned with Cumin and Oregano and cooked in orange and lime juice.

PUERTO RICAN FOLK DRESS:

Puerto Rican Folk Dress

Puerto Rico, once a Spanish colony, and also a place where the Spanish brought with them the people from Africa, has a very rich mixed culture. The folk dress is a blend of both in some ways, though you can mainly see the dominate Spanish influence. These are some examples of folk dress in Puerto Rico, however there are many different varieties through out her villages and cities.

PUERTO RICAN LANGUAGE:

Puerto Rican Language

The official language of Puerto Rico is Spanish, but it is a bit different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. Over time people have made the language their own, so some words are different. Also, a lot of people in Puerto Rico also speak English now.

In Puerto Rico, even though some words may be different, they use the Spanish alphabet, which contains 29 letters. The Spanish alphabet has all the letters the English alphabet has, plus a few more that make special sounds.

Spanish Alphabet

 RELIGION IN PUERTO RICO:

Puerto Rico Religion

Most people in Puerto Rico are Christian, and of those, most are Roman Catholics. Catholicism was the main religion of the Spanish explorers and settlers, so they passed their religion onto the native inhabitants. This also means that many holidays in Puerto Rico are Christian ones and follow Catholic tradition.

TOYS AND GAMES IN PUERTO RICO:

Puerto Rico Toys And Games

Like children all over the world, Puerto Rican children play a lot of the same games and with the same toys. One very popular game in Puerto Rico is a game called “La Gallinita Ciega,” which means. “The Blind Little Hen.” This game was brought to Puerto Rico from the Spaniards. It is actually a very old game. Another game that is just like it comes from England, Scotland and Ireland, called “Blind Man’s Buff.”

The game is played outdoors or in a large room. The children make a big circle, and one person “The Blind Little Hen” is blindfolded and turned in a circle 3 times, then someone leads them into the middle of the circle. The hen then must find another person on the rim of the circle, and by gently touching the face, must identify the person in order to change places. The Hen is allowed to move around the circle until he/she guesses someone. The person identified then becomes “The Blind Little Hen.” No one must not speak and try not to laugh or the Blind Little Hen will guess who you are.

Read more about “The Blind Little Hen” and the history of the game HERE.

MUSIC IN PUERTO RICO:

Puerto Rico Music

One traditional style of music in Puerto Rico is Bomba. It is a mixture of Spanish, African and Native Taino music:

Another style, more recent, that has developed in the Caribbean, that also has strong Latin/Spanish and African influence, is Reggaeton. According to Wikipedia “Reggaeton blends musical influences of Jamaican dancehall and Trinidadian Soca with those of Latin America such as Salsa, Bomba, Latin American hip hop, and electronica. Vocals include rapping and singing, typically in Spanish.”

My children’s Godfather, Julio DrJay Colon, is a Recording Artist/Producer/Song Writer at KoneXion Latina Music. His music is an example of Puerto Rican Reggaeton. KoneXion Latina Music and VG Music Group won the 2013 Fox Music Award for Best Urban Music.

AGARRALA Y METE MANO

DANCING IN PUERTO RICO:

Puerto Rico Dance

Puerto Ricans, like most Latin Cultures are world renowned dancers. They have a very festive culture. Like their music, dancing styles are a mixture of Spanish, African and Taino.

Like Bomba music, Bomba the dance is a musical expression from the 17th Century West Africans that were brought to the Island by the Spanish to work the sugar plantations. The women’s lifting of the skirt to show their legs and/or slips is said to ridicule high society European ladies of the plantation owners and their way of dress. This dance of Bomba is more African than Spanish than the version we saw in the music section.

The original natives of Puerto Rico, were the Tainos Indians, known as the Arawak people.

This traditional dance is heavily Spanish influenced.

Now, in Modern Puerto Rico, most people are fused with all three cultures and have now become distinctly Puerto Rican.

EMANCIPATION DAY:

Emancipation Day Puerto Rico 3Emancipation Day Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans love to celebrate. There are all kinds of carnivals all through out the year. Like most nations that were built up by African slavery and/or indentured servitude a significant cause for joyous celebration is emancipation. Emancipation day is celebrated March 22 in Puerto Rico and it accompanies Puerto Rico’s Caribbean Carnival season. February-March is a time for much celebrations there.

EPIPHANY – 3 KINGS DAY:

Epiphany Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico celebrates almost all major holidays that are celebrated in the United States, but because Christianity in the main religion in Puerto Rico, specifically Roman Catholicism, Christian celebrations are most prominent. Epiphany, January 6th, is an important celebration there as it celebrates the Birth of Christ. The holiday symbolizes the 3 Kings from distant lands, who proclaimed the Christ Child was born to all the towns and villages that they passed through, as they followed the North Star to bring gifts to their King.

ART PROJECTS:

Maracas

Maracas Puerto Rico

Maracas are a common instrument used in Puerto Rican music. We will make some out of Easter eggs and plastic spoons.

Puerto Rican Carnival Mask

Carnival Mask Puerto Rico

Carnival is celebrated before the religious holiday of Lent in many Latin countries. Usually people take to the streets donning scary masks symbolizing a satirical contest between good and evil. We will make our own scary mask out of painted paper plates and construction paper.

Kulture for Kids – Romania and Moldova

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Romania-Moldova Flag

So this week we are doing Romania and Moldova together. Even though each is an independent country the people and culture are nearly the same. They eat the same foods, speak the same language, and mostly share the same religion.

ABOUT ROMANIA AND MOLDOVA:

Romania-Moldova Map

Romania is a country right on the outskirts of Western Europe and Moldova, her next door neighbor is on the edge of Eastern Europe. Both countries have been invaded throughout her history, mainly by the Ottoman Turks and then the Russians. Because of this, their cultures are fused with many colors. We will discuss different parts of this in this blog.

Today Romania and Moldova are independent countries. Romania last gained independence from Soviet occupation around 1958, but Moldova was a communist country with ties to the Soviet Union much later than that. The Romanian Revolution of 1989 was the only revolution that ended communism violently in the Eastern Bloc. Now Romania is a Semi-Presidential Republic.

With the fall of the USSR in 1991, Moldova became a independent country. Out of all the former Soviet territories prior to the fall of the USSR, Moldova is the still the poorest. She is actually considered the poorest country in Europe. Moldova is a Parliamentary Republic.

FOOD IN ROMANIA AND MOLDOVA:

Romanian-Moldovan Food

Both Romania and Moldova have struggled economically for a long time, but their food is sustaining, inexpensive, and tasty. In Europe we call this Peasant food, but it’s very delicious.

A typical breakfast is very simple and plain. One dish is called Mămăligă, which is a porridge made from yellow corn flour. Like most Eastern European countries, (even though Romania is not considered Eastern Europe), lunch is the main meal of the day. Usually some kind of meat is served. Ciorbă is a kind of meatball soup, that is stewed in vegetables, and vinegar or sauerkraut. Sarmale is a kind of vine leaf or cabbage roll that usually has some meat inside. This is commonly served at lunch or supper.

ROMANIAN AND MOLDOVAN FOLK DRESS:

Moldovan-Romanian Folk Dress

Romanian (right) and Moldovan (left) folk dress is very similar. They both incorporate beautiful embroidered patterns that vary by region. All the different styles pictured here and from different parts of Romania and Moldova. For example, I can tell that the Moldovan dress on the bottom left is near to the Moldovan-Ukrainian boarder as that type of embroidery pattern is very similar to the pattern found in Western Ukraine.

ROMANIAN AND MOLDOVAN LANGUAGE:

Romanian Language

Romanians and Moldovans both speak Romanian. When the Soviets were controlling their countries they tried to outlaw their own language and make them speak and write in Russian. This had a more lasting effect on Moldova, because the country was a part of the USSR for a long time. When the Soviet Union fell Moldova took for their national language Romanian. The main difference between Romanian in Moldova and Romanian in Romania was the writing. In Moldova they used the Cyrillic system of writing for awhile, and in Romania, they use the Roman system of writing. Today, however, Moldova has adapted the Roman system of writing.

It is not surprising that in both countries Russian is spoken by many people, though in Moldova it is much more common. Although Romanian has borrowed some Russian words (a Slavic language), Romanian also borrows words from French. Romanian language descends from Classical Latin. These are Romance languages and not related to Slavic. Some people jokingly refer to Romanians and Moldovans as Italians with Russian accents.

The Romanian alphabet has the same letters as ours, except there are extra accented letters that produce a different sound.

Romanian Alphabet

RELIGION IN ROMANIA AND MOLDOVA:

Romanian-Moldovan Religion

Islam and Judaism are present in Romania and Moldova, but most are Christians, specifically Orthodox Christians, which is a lot like Catholicism. The interesting thing is, is that usually countries that adopt the Cyrillic system of writing tend to be Orthodox, and those that adopt the Roman system, tend to be Catholics. This is not the case with Romania (and Moldova, as recently they changed their writing system to Roman).

TOYS AND GAMES IN ROMANIA AND MOLDOVA:

Romania-Moldova Toys

Like other children in the world, Romanian and Moldovan children love to play with dolls, cars and building blocks. It is also not uncommon for young children to learn to play instruments. Sports like Football (Soccer) are very popular there. The main difference would be is that much of Romanian/Moldovan living is in small apartments. Romanian and Moldovan children may not have as many toys as American children typically have. And those with houses, usually use their backyard space for gardens and growing fruits and vegetables. Children would therefore travel to play in community parks and playgrounds and invent street games more often than American children. During the communist era, people were very poor and children made their own toys out of pretty much anything they could find.

MUSIC IN ROMANIA AND MOLDOVA:

Bela Bartok

Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian Composer who is well known, loved, admired and respected in Romania. He was born in a place, which is now a part of Romania, but at the time of his birth is was a part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Bela Bartok was what we now call an Ethnomusicologist, which is a branch of Cultural Anthropology. During the Romantic Era and into the beginning of the Modern Era in music, internationalism and patriotism took center stage. As it became easier for people to travel and experience cultures, people began to embrace their culture and show it off proudly. Folk music and dance were popularized and became tourist attractions. Bartok was a composer who studied the folk music of his native land, his neighbors, and even those far away. His Romanian Folk Dance compositions are some of his most well known works:

Romania-Moldova Music

Traditional music in Romania and Moldova is a lot like what Bela Bartok recreated. Modern music however is very up beat and the kind of music you would hear at dance clubs. One popular song in Romania and Moldova became popular all around the world. The singers are from Moldova and the song is in Romanian:

DANCING IN ROMANIA AND MOLDOVA:

Romania-Moldova Dance

Traditional folk dance in Romania and Moldova are also very similar. Here is an example of each:

ROMANIA:

MOLDOVA:

ROMANIAN AND MOLDOVAN INDEPENDENCE:

Romania-Moldova Independence

The independence of Romania and Moldova are a cause for much celebration. It is a celebration of no longer being governed by a foreign peoples (in the case of Moldova) and the freedom against an oppressive communist regime (as in the case of Romania and Moldova). In Romania it is referred to as Constitution Day, in Moldova it’s celebrated like the birthday of the country.

GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA (EASTER):

Romania-Moldova Easter

Easter or Holy Pascha, is an important celebration to all Christians. To the Orthodox Christians like the Romanians and Moldovans, it is especially important. Not only is it a celebration for Christ’s resurrection, but is also a time to remember those loved ones who have died. In Eastern European culture, the decoration of eggs is very elaborate. Unlike here in the United States, the eggs are decorated for decoration, and the contents emptied out of the egg before hand. Through a process of dying and using wax, colorful and intricate designs are scratched into the egg.

ART PROJECTS:

Emboidery

Paper Plate Embroidery

In Romania and Moldova, embroidery adorns much of the folk costumes. Usually it is red in color, so we will make a red embroidered flower design on a paper plate. As I have very young children, we will use red yarn and a large blunt tipped tapestry needle, as they are still developing their fine motor skills. Make sure the paper plates are not too thin and if they have a design on the rim that will make them all the prettier. For children a lot older they can actually try to do an advanced Romanian pattern like the one bellow, using a real embroidery hoop, thread, and needles.

Romanian Embroidery

Painted Wooden Spoons

Romanian Spoons

Wooden spoons are often time very inexpensive and with a little paint, could make a really nice gift to hang in the Kitchen. These wooden spoons are hand painted in Romania and sold as tourists souvenirs. Some wooden spoons come with a hole already in the end so you can hang them, if not you can wrap twine at then end, leaving a loop to hang it from, and securing it with a bit of  glue.

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Kulture for Kids – Morocco

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Morocco Flag

My daughter is half Moroccan and when I was married to her father we traveled to Morocco several times. Morocco is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to so far. I love almost everything about Morocco. The sights, the food, the culture, the very nice people. Moroccan people are very very nice and they are true hosts. Their hospitality is some of the best in the world.

ABOUT MOROCCO:

Morocco World

Morocco is in North West Africa. If you travel to the Moroccan Mediterranean, it almost seems as if you can swim to Spain. In fact, historically, Morocco has had the influence of French, Spanish, African, and Arab culture. This blend has created a truly diverse people and a very rich culture. The Kingdom of Morocco is a Constitutional Monarchy. Morocco has both a King and Prime Minister. The crown passes to the King’s closest male relative, whereas the Prime Minister is elected. People from Morocco are called Moroccans.

MOROCCAN FOOD:

Moroccan Food

I must admit that I never tasted any dish in Morocco that I did not like. Everything is so delicious! Food and hospitality go hand in hand in Morocco. Every time you visit any Moroccan home you must eat something! (Even if you are still full from the house you just visited before.) I learned really quick to eat just a tiny bit of everything, because everywhere you go, you most likely will be offered more food. It’s polite to make sure you taste everything too, or you will hurt the hostesses feelings. Moroccan women are amazing cooks and it is an honor for them to show off their skills, especially to foreign visitors. Moroccan people are very proud of their cuisine, and they have every right to be.

Another interesting thing is that food is placed in big platters in the center of huge tables. Moroccan meal times are crowded. Family, friends, neighbors… a friend you just plucked off the street moments earlier… All will gather around the table to eat and chat. To eat Moroccan style is to eat with your hand (right hand) or use bread to scoop food or sauce. This is good though, because no one will know how much you really ate, because everyone is eating from the same plate. (This comes in handy when you have been eating too much all day and night. You can get away with having a few bites here and there.) 😉

A Moroccan breakfast many times consist of a Moroccan type of pancake (called Msemmen), honey, juice and tea. Actually Tea is served all the time during the day or night, and Moroccan tea is hot, sweet, and minty. Moroccan lunch can be a variety of things. Many times it is some kind of meat/veggie puree/sauce that you eat with bread. My favorite was these French baguette sandwiches that had some kind of seafood paste. Kind of like Tuna. We ate them on the beach, bought from vendors. The most famous Moroccan dish is couscous. It contains steamed veggies (carrots, squashes, and such), with some type of meat, served over couscous, which is like a kind of pasta called semolina. There are also sweet varieties that are made with dates, raisins, and cinnamon.

MOROCCAN FOLK DRESS:

Moroccan Folk Dress

Although Morocco is accepting of modern western fashion, many Moroccans choose to wear traditional garments anyway. Sometimes they choose western/traditional randomly. Most Moroccans do dress conservatively as they are a Muslim people. Folk or traditional dress varies, as there are several different types of people in Morocco. Most Moroccans are from Moorish ancestors descended from Arabs, but many are also Berber as well.

Blue Men Morocco

In the Sahara region of Morocco are the Tuareg, who are a people from an ancient Berber tribe. Most of them still live nomadic lives in the Sahara desert. There are Tuareg (also called Blue Men, because of the blue head coverings they wear) in other North African countries too.

MOROCCAN LANGUAGE:

Moroccan Greetings

Moroccans all speak a Moroccan dialect of Arabic that is unique to Morocco. Although most Moroccans know classical Arabic because they are Muslim, they will only use it in everyday conversation if they are speaking with non-Moroccan Arabs. Berber Moroccans also speak the Berber dialect. All educated Moroccans speak, read, and write in French. Children begin to learn it immediately in schools. French is the official second language of Morocco. It is also the language of official government business and diplomacy. Many signs in Morocco are written in Arabic and French.

Moroccans are also great linguist. Young people, from the urban/suburban areas usually pick a 3rd, and sometimes 4th, language to study. Morocco is a big on tourism, the fact that many people speak a variety of languages, and they hang on to that traditional culture foreigners love to experience, makes them one of the biggest tourist countries in the world. Knowing many of their visitor’s languages also helps them to be more friendly to strangers. This probably has a lot to do with why Moroccans have a reputation for being friendly, warm, and welcoming. I met Moroccans who spoke (aside from their language and French) English, German, Spanish, and Italian as well.

Moroccan is written using the Arabic system of writing. It is also written/read from right to left.

Arabic Alphabet

MOROCCAN RELIGION:

Moroccan Religion

Even though there are a very small number of Christians and Jews in Morocco, Moroccans are mostly Muslim. Islam was the religion of the Umayyad conquerors of Syria, who spread into North Africa and then into Spain, in the 8th century. The Moors would not be pushed back down into North Africa and expelled from Spain until the Spanish Inquisition under Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile (the King and Queen of Spain during the Renaissance Era). Much of the Architecture in Morocco (Mosques and even homes) are still done in the Moorish style, and in lower Spain, the same Moorish architecture still exists.

TOYS AND GAMES IN MOROCCO:

Moroccan Toys and Games

Children in Morocco are like most children around the world. They love the same toys (building blocks, dolls, toy cars). However, Moroccan children love to play outdoors a lot, and they are very inventive and can make toys and games out of anything. You will notice that toys can be more expensive sometimes in Morocco than a lot of Western countries. One reason could be is that Moroccan children prefer to make their own toys and invent their own games. Children play together in packs there and there is a lot of things lying around for them to get into. There is way more group play there, than solitary play.  😉

MUSIC IN MOROCCO:

Moroccan Music

Music in Morocco is played by men and women, however usually the men play the traditional music, while the women dance. Traditional Moroccan music, usually consist of drums, some string instruments (usually bowed), and some woodwinds. The music is very tribal and rhythmic. Malhun music is unique to Morocco. It is a melodic poem and very traditional. It’s roots are traced all the way back to Andalusian classical music of their Moorish ancestors.

Moroccans love Western music and their musicians. Their own Modern music emulates these styles as well. Rai music is also popular in Morocco, which is a kind of pop/dance music unique to North Africa. Also some Moroccan musicians add the electronic dance vibe to their music. This artist blends Rai and electronic styles:

DANCING IN MOROCCO:

Moroccan Dance

Traditional dancing in Morocco, mostly preformed by women (though there are some dances for men), has many elements of Middle Eastern belly dancing. However, in Morocco it is typically a tribal style of belly dance. This dance, called Chaabi, is such a tribal style of dance:

GNAOUA WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL:

Music Festival Morocco

This music festival is held every summer in the city of Essaouria. Different styles of musicians and dancers, from traditional to modern to experimental, come together and share their art and culture with their fellow Moroccans, as well as any tourist who attend.

MOROCCAN INDEPENDENCE DAY:

Independence Day Morocco

Morocco celebrates her independence on November 18th. This is a day for celebrating the return of the exiled king, Sultan Mohammed V and the end of the French Protectorate. The new king Mohammed VI, (grandson of the once exiled king, now resides in the royal palace in Rabat and wears the Sultan’s crown.) All Moroccans from all regions celebrate this holiday in much the same way. There are parades in the big cities, with vendors selling all kinds of traditional food and wares. In Rural areas, there is also feasting and dancing. Moroccans celebrate being Moroccan. The Moroccan flag is flown and is symbolic of the country’s freedom. The red is for the ruling dynasty, the green is for Islam, the star is the seal of Solomon- and its points, the five pillars of Islam.

ART PROJECTS:

Khamsa Hand Morocco

The Khamsa hand (or hand of Fatima) is something of a good luck/protection charm. Like most people, Moroccans are not without their superstitions. This hand is usually worn as jewelry or hung inside the house. The Khamsa hand can be traced all the way back to ancient Mesopotamia! People use the charm and ward against the “Evil Eye.” There are many reasons for gifting a Khamsa hand to a loved one. One reason is a gift for a newborn baby. My daughter’s grandmother gifted her with a gold Khamsa hand necklace after she was born.

Today the Khmasa hand is a tradition. The ancient meaning is to protect the baby from jealous Djinn. Djinn are creatures that are supernatural like Angels, but unlike Angels- like humans, they have free will to be good, evil, or indifferent. Some can be jealous and malicious, especially when a baby is born and everyone is saying how beautiful he/she is. Like in a lot of mythological stories, gods and supernatural creatures get annoyed when they are not in the center of attention.

Now the Khamsa hand has more symbolism related to Islam. For instance the five fingers symbolize the five pillars of Islam. Usually it is a symbol that represents blessings, power, and strength. Regarding a baby, it’s a hope for a healthy baby.

Khamsa hands are very beautifully decorated. You can print this one out on card stock, paint, or color it, cut it out and hang it.

Khamsa Hands

KHAMSA HAND DOCX

KHAMSA HAND PDF

KHAMSA HAND RTF

Moroccan Windows

Moroccan style of architecture is the same as Moorish architecture. The windows in Morocco are exquisite works of art. In this project, you can cut out the white areas inside the window, then use colored tissue paper behind it, to make a Moorish style stained glass window effect. Or, you can color it if you want.

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MOORISH WINDOW DOCX

MOORISH WINDOW PDF

MOORISH WINDOW RTF

Kulture for Kids – Italy

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Flag Italy

My husband, Mr. Secondi, is from a city in Italy called Pavia. It is in the Northern part of Italy, close to Milan. If you visit Italy one day and you travel to different regions, you will notice that they are all different- the people, the culture, the traditions. Just like here in the United States.

ABOUT ITALY:

Italy World

Italy is a small Mediterranean country in Western Europe that is shaped like a boot. Italy has a long and colorful history. Rome was once the seat of the vast Roman Empire. It is also the home of the Pope. Italy once became a Fascist Regime, but now she is a Constitutional Republic, and one of the many countries apart of the European Union. The people of Italy are called Italians.

ITALIAN FOOD:

Italian Food

Usually Italian breakfast is plain. Maybe it consist of some bread or pastry and a cappuccino (a foamy coffee drink). Italians are big coffee drinkers and they usually drink their coffee plain and strong. Espresso is the only true coffee to an Italian. You may have a pizza for lunch in Italy and it is nothing like pizza in America. The pizzas are smaller and more simple there, with usually a thin crust, sauce and a couple of toppings. Italian meals, especially dinners are served in several courses. Real Italian spaghetti (or any other pasta) would never be served with meat mixed in. The meat would be served in its own course. When my husband came to the United States, he did not recognize any of the food Americans called “Italian.” 🙂 🙂 🙂 Also, each region in Italy has it’s own signature cuisine. When you travel to new cities, you will taste new delicious recipes.

ITALIAN FOLK DRESS:

Italian Folk Dress

Although folk culture and traditions are becoming less and less important in Italy, people in the South still try to pass theirs down to each generation. It is a sad loss when these things begin to disappear.

ITALIAN LANGUAGE:

Italian Language

Italian language is a Romantic language related to Old Latin and apart of the Indo-European family. In writing they use the Roman Alphabet, just like we do in English, except their alphabet has only 21 letters! Can you find what letters they do not have that we do?

Italian Alphabet

ITALIAN RELIGION:

Italian Religion

Most Italians are Christian. As mentioned before, Italy is the home of the Pope who is the head Bishop in charge of the Roman Catholic Church. Italy is world renowned for their breathtakingly beautiful churches. This building pictured above is the very famous Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Vatican City is little City-State within the city of Rome. This is where the Pope lives.

TOYS AND GAMES IN ITALY:

Italian Toys

Italian children are just like most other children. They love to play with cars and dolls. Soccer (what the rest of the world knows as Football) is a very popular game/sport in Italy. Unfortunately they did not win the most recent World Cup. 😦

MUSIC IN ITALY:

Monteverdi

Claudio Monteverdi was one of Italy’s famous composers who created beautiful music during the Renaissance Era. During the Renaissance, Madrigals were very popular. A Madrigal is a secular piece of music (meaning non-religious), sometimes called a partsong, that is made for 4-8 different parts. Many times there is a soloist or main part, like this song by Monteverdi, Lamento Della Ninfa (The Nymph’s Lament):

Italian’s also enjoy music from around the world. Young people like American and British pop/rock music. They even have their own pop/rock music as well. Here is a popular Italian pop song:

DANCING IN ITALY:

Italian Dancers

Folk dancing in Italy is disappearing. It’s only still very popular in the South. This song and dance is called the Tarantella and it is from the Neapolitan part of Italy (Naples).

EPIPHANY-LA BEFANA:

La Befana

La Befana is the Good Witch of Italy, and like Santa Claus, she brings good children gifts. She comes on the Eve of the Epiphany (6th of January) and she fills socks and/or boots full of little toys and candies. She is symbolic of the wise men who brought the gifts to baby Jesus. This is the story of La Befana:

CARNEVALE DI VENEZIA:

Carnevale

There is a magnificent carnival festival in Venice, Italy. It begins on Shrove Tuesday (Fat Tuesday/Carnival Day), the day before Ash Wednesday, and it ends right before Lent begins (the Christian fasting holiday before Easter). It is famous for the masks and elaborate costumes.

ART PROJECTS:

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We made La Befana Lunch sack puppets. The dollar store did not have regular brown paper bag lunch sacks so we found some colored gift bags lol. I found some light blue/grey colored gift confetti for her hair and we had some scrap ribbon, buttons and plenty of construction paper around the house. We went out side and collected some dead stems w/ leaves from a tree outside for her broom.

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Our carnival masks were made out of paper plates, markers, glitter glue, and Popsicle sticks.

Kulture for Kids – Russia

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Flag Russia

Today was our first International Friday at my home daycare and the kids learned about Russia. I figured for the month of July I would start out with something I know well.

ABOUT RUSSIA:

Russia World

Russia is the largest country in the world and is actually on two continents (Europe and Asia). Russia is considered a Eurasian country and the people are categorized by language as Slavic. Russia was once a part of 3 continents before they sold the Territory of Alaska to the United States. Russia is a country that can be very cold and has basically two seasons, summer and winter. Summers are warm and humid, but winters can be cold an severe. In the subarctic tundra areas of Siberia it is cold most of the time.

Russia has been through a lot of changes throughout her history. She was once a vast Empire ruled by Kings, then she became a communist country, and now she is a federal constitutional republic with a president elected by the people (kind of lol).

RUSSIAN FOOD:

Russian Food

A common Russian breakfast is quite plain. Many eat a piece of rye bread and drink tea. Russians are tea drinkers and not big coffee drinkers. Even in workplaces Russians take tea breaks, not coffee breaks. A typical lunch usually is some cold food, like Russian salad. Russian salad usually has potatoes, boiled eggs, pickles, little pieces of ham, and mayonnaise. It’s not like salad in the United States. A Russian dish for dinner is Stroganov. Stroganov is thin slices of beef sauteed with onions and mushrooms in a sauce made from sour cream. It is then served over egg noodles.

RUSSIAN FOLK DRESS:

Russian Folk Dress

People of Russia have many cultural differences. Aside from Russians, there are Tartars, Ukrainians, Bashkirs (who are from the people of Turkey), Cuvash people from Siberia (who are related to Mongolians), Chechens (a Muslim people from the Caucasus region), and also Jewish people. All these different people have their on culture, traditions, language, and folk dress. The Russian folk dress is typically like what is shown above.

RUSSIAN LANGUAGE:

Russian Language

Russian language is categorized as a Slavic Language of the Indo-European family. Their writing is Cyrillic and the Russian alphabet has 33 letters.

Russian Alphabet2

RUSSIAN RELIGION:

Russian Religion

Even though Christianity is the main religion of Russia, Judaism and Islam are also present. Most Russians are Orthodox Christians, which is a lot like Catholicism. The main difference is that the Orthodox Church has their doctrine in the Old Slavonic tongue and the Roman Catholic Church’s is in Old Latin. Most Slavic countries that use Cyrillic system writing are going to typically be Orthodox, and those that use Roman system of writing usually are Catholic. For example, Christianity in Russian/Cyrillic writing and Christianity in Latin/Roman writing:

Christianity

TOYS AND GAMES IN RUSSIA:

Russian Toys and Games

Even though Chess originated in India a long long time ago, Russian children and adults love to play it. Russians are even known to be quite good as well. Nesting Dolls (or Matryoshka) are little hollowed out hand painted wooden dolls. They usually come in sets of 8 or more. Children love to play with them, fitting one inside the other and lining them up side by side from biggest to smallest. Grandmas (Babushki) are even known to hide their buttons and sewing needles inside.

MUSIC IN RUSSIA:

Tchikovsky

Russians listen to a lot of music from around the world. They especially like American, British, and German pop, rock and hip-hop music. Some of the greatest composers in history were Russian. Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky was one of the these great composers. He is best known in America for the music from the Nutcracker, especially the Waltz of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

DANCING IN RUSSIA:

Russian Dance

Although ballet as we know it today originated in France, Russians took the art and perfected it. The strict Russian discipline of Russian Ballet schools is world renowned and many Western Dancers travel all the way to Russia just to study ballet at Russian Ballet schools. The Kirov (Mariinsky now) and Bolshoi Ballet companies are considered some of the best of the best.

Russian folk dances, like the Kalinka are famous for their spins and the low-high kicks that are actually very difficult to preform. Russian folk dance is very vigorous and takes a lot of stamina and core and lower body strength.

RUSSIAN NEW YEAR/CHRISTMAS:

Russian Holiday

When the communist took over the monarchy in Russia, one of the things they did was forbid Christmas. They did however allow the New Year celebrations. Over time New Years and Christmas were combined into one. Even though there is still a traditional Christmas day the real celebrations happen on New years. Children can even see Ded Moroz, (Father Frost/Santa) and Snegurochka, (The Snow Maiden).

Ded Moroz Snegurochka

THE STORY OF FATHER FROST (DED MOROZ) AND THE SNOW MAIDEN (SNEGUROCHKA):

Ded Moroz Snegurochka2

Snegurochka actually has her own story and origins. Click the link below to read her story.

THE STORY OF SNEGUROCHKA (THE SNOW MAIDEN)

ART PROJECTS:

DSC00005

Our Matryoshka are all dry and ready to go home. 🙂 We learned to say Hi and Bye in Russian too. 🙂

Bellow are links to print out some blank nesting dolls to color or paint. If you paint it’s best to use card stock:

5 NESTING DOLLS DOCX

5 NESTING DOLLS PDF

5 NESTING DOLLS RTF