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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Día de los Muertos, chez nous

"Day of the Dead, at our place" 
(affiliate links included, for convenience)
We always enjoy learning about different traditions and holidays from around the world (like this one). So, given that we spent years living just a stone's throw distance from Mexico, and that Kam's culture shares the same holiday, I don't know how Día de los Muertos, or "Day of the Dead," hasn't made our radar screen until now.

This year, thanks to a quirky looking book on prominent display at the local library, Día de los Muertos has made it to our house. Mag inherited Kam's inclination toward the cutsied-up macabre (think Jack Skellington and the like), and thus was captivated by The Dead Family Diaz, by P.J. Bracegirdle. This book instantly rocketed to the top of our short list of family faves, primarily for the visuals, but the story is equally amusing.

The Dead Family Diaz inspired us to delve deeper into the traditions of the día. We spent some time learning the vocabulary of the holiday, and even created and completed a few related worksheets, incorporating the fun theme into math and early literacy practice for Mag's dual language endeavor. (This kindergarten-level Spanish packet is available at my TpT store, here.)

Once familiar with the new vocab, Mag was also enthralled by Calavera Abecedario, by Jeanette Winter, although The Diaz storybook still tops my list.

Of course, the highlight of any event is the food, right? When frosting cookies for Halloween, we kept a few "calavera" (skull) cookies aside, which we frosted, Muertos-style, tonight, getting ready for the big day. We'll also head to a nearby Mexican grocer to pick up some "pan de muerto" (which we will eat, rather than leave at a cemetery), as well as indulging in horchata - recipe. Okay, I have no reason to believe horchata is part of the tradition of the day... or that it isn't, for that matter. We just like to include it in any Mexican-related event at our house. (We also love agua fresca -recipe-, but the MidWest fall weather puts one in more of an horchata mood.)

For a first Día de los Muertos celebration, I could almost leave it at books, food, and worksheets... but somehow crafts just seem to be calling out to be included.

I love the calavera sun catcher from Mari (remember her fab tooth fairy certificates from this post), and of course we'll be making some papel picado (seen at right). Photo released by Guillerminargp

el Próximo Año

We're having such a good time with Día de los Muertos this week that I can't fit it all in... so here's what I've already got in the line-up for next year:
I guess it's time to get a 2014 calendar, because I see a party taking shape already, 367 days in advance!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spanish Halloween FREEBIE!

With Mag getting full-day language immersion in school now, I have to admit that I appreciate no longer carrying the full burden of foreign language instruction. I do, however, enjoy supporting and supplementing her school exposure.

To get Mag (and myself!) ready for her first Halloween in her new second language, I created a fun new FREEBIE, complete with word wall cards, an "I have/Who has?" game, and word search with answer key.

This freebie is available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Clicking the image will take you right there.

Be sure to grab this now, because when Halloween is over, this freebie will disappear faster than a plastic pumpkin full of Kit Kats!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Global Travels of the Tooth Fairy

Tooth Fairy clip art by Lita Lita
Yowzers! My little Mag just lost her first tooth! Somehow I felt more prepared for her to go off to school than I felt for her to lose her first tooth.

Sure, Mag was all excited at the prospect of the Tooth Fairy (which we didn't necessarily intend to introduce, but pop culture and school made that decision for us)... but me?

You probably guessed it: my first thought was, "Hmm, wouldn't it be fun to hear how this is handled in other countries." So I asked a few blogofriends.

British expat Amanda at Expat Life With a Double Buggy shares that she was able maximize the legend by convincing her son that the Tooth Fairy doesn't enter messy rooms. Genius! Now living in the Netherlands, Amanda notes that the "Tandenfee" does exist, but "is not a universally Dutch phenomenon. Some use it, some don't."

A Bilingual Baby's Marta notes that in Spain, as in many countries, "it's not a fairy, but a little mouse. It's called el ratoncito Pérez." Apparently, in Mexico this little magic mouse leaves extra money for a front tooth.

Ute of Expat Since Birth says that, "In German speaking countries we also know the Zahnfee, but she comes from the American/UK tooth fairy. In Italy the 'fatina dei denti' does the same as in USA/UK."

Spanglish-House's Cecy has combined traditions, so her kids think that Tooth Fairy and Ratón Pérez are associated. Her eldest has developed his own tradition: leaving a tip to encourage them to come early. Wonder how the tooth characters divide the spoils?

Would you prefer to avoid the Tooth Fairy tradition in your household? Never fear, there are parts of the world that are free of all tooth-taking characters. Olena (Bilingual Kids Rock), Olga (The European Mama), and Natalie (After School for Smarty Pants) report that there is no such legend in Ukraine, Poland, Russia, or Belarus.

But if you have, by choice or by force, embraced some version of a tooth character tradition in your household, and would enjoy the chance to make it a multicultural event, Mari has some super cute Tooth Fairy Receipt printables, in several languages - yay! These are available at Inspired By Familia. Thanks for sharing, Mari!

Want to read about more tooth-loss traditions from around the world?

Kid World Citizen's Becky recommended a book that is now a family fave around here: Throw Your Tooth on the Roof: Tooth Traditions from Around the World.
This book is a must read for families who embrace the world. What a fun way to find out:
  • What country has a Rolling Calf who will take you away with your tooth if you're not careful? 
  • Which moms plate the tooth with silver and make it into a charm? 
  • Who asks the moon, a mouse, or a saint to replace their tooth? 
  • Which country has parents burying their children's teeth in university gardens?

Don't you just love how a single tooth can take you on a world tour?! Thanks, Global Moms, for all the info.
Any other great teeth legends out there?

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

Friday, October 18, 2013

It Is Time

Remember that moment in "The Lion King" movie? Simba has been away for years, hiding from the pain of his new reality. After a long and patient wait, Rafiki realizes that the moment has arrived to call Simba back to his rightful place in the world.

Three simple words emote the power of Rafiki's revelation: It Is Time.

I get the chills and feel inspired every time I hear Rafiki utter those simple, but powerful words, perhaps because we all reach that moment in our own lives, the moment when the retreat must end. When the world requires our return. When we know beyond a shadow of a doubt: It Is Time.

With that in mind, and Rafiki's words as my mantra, after a 2-month retreat, I feel the the blogging world calling, and moreso the Open-Wide World at large: It is time.