January 6, 2010

Hellig 3 Konger * Three King's Day * Armenian Christmas * Día de los Reyes Magos * Epiphany * Feast of the Three Kings * Heilige Drei Könige * La Paradura del Niño (The Parade of Baby Jesus) *Tirer Gâteau (Les rois) * Orthodox Christmas Eve * Nollaig Bheag (Little Christmas) * Twelfth Night

In many places and for many people, Christmas celebrations continue. For some, Christmas is finally here.

Many Eastern Orthodox churches (such as Russian Orthodox) celebrate Christmas according to the older Julian calendar—which makes tonight Christmas Eve.

The Armenian Church celebrates Jesus' bi
rth and baptism today—which makes this Christmas Day.

And Roman Catholic and other Christian groups celebrate today as the anniversary of Jesus being visited and gifted by three kings (although the Bible does not give the number of visitors, nor does it call them kings!).

The holiday traditions differ according to country. In Ireland, today is Little Christmas, also called Women's Christmas. The men of the family take on all household chores, and the women go out with other women friends and relatives (most restaurants and bars are flilled with women). Children give their mothers and grandmothers gifts...In the Netherlands and Belgium, children in groups of three wear costumes as they walk from house to house; they sing special songs and receive coins or candy at each door...Some Spanish and Mexican children wake up today to find gifts from the three kings in their shoes, which they'd laid out, ready, last night...Puerto Rican children left boxes of grass or hay under their beds last night for the three kings' camels, and woke up this morning to find the grass gone and gifts in its place...In the Philippines, three men on horseback visit many towns, giving out sweets and toys to all the children...

In many places where Epiphany or Three Kings Day is celebrated, there is special food and a family feast. People often make and eat King Cakes—and some lucky child finds a toy baby Jesus (or the substitute, a bean) in his or her cake and gets crowned King or Queen for the day.

In many nations, today marks the end of the Christmas season (the last of the 12 days of Christmas), and decorations will start to come down tomorrow, but in Louisiana, today marks the beginning--of Mardi Gras season, that is!

Different calendars, different religions, different peoples and places = different holiday traditions!

Make a scrapbook of your own family holiday traditions. Or collect the various traditions of the people in your community and share them all in a book. (You can use a copier to create multiple copies of the book.)

another idea: write about and photograph your own family's and community's traditions, put the pages into a binder, and then send it on to a “sister” school or homeschool group in another part of the country or world. Ask that school or group to add their own written descriptions and photos and send it on somewhere else. Be sure to include instructions that the shared holiday book be sent back to you (after, say, 10 schools or groups have added to the book).

Use a scrapbook bought at a crafts store or a “blank book” bought at a book store. You can even choose to make a hardbound book by hand! There are instructions here and a video how-to here.

Twelve Twelves for Twelfth Night

The number 12 is pretty special. Can you figure out what these “number statements” below mean?

EXAMPLE: “12 = P in a U S J“ means “12 People in a United States Jury.”

(The actual items are hopefully a little easier than that one, by the way.) Good luck!

(1) 12 = M in a Y

(2) 12 = E in a C (which we call a D)
(3) 12 x 12 = a G
(4) 12 = D of C
(5) 12 + 12 = H in a D
(6) 12 = S of the Z
(7) 12 + 1 = D in a B D

(8) 12 = T of I (Biblical reference)

Now see if you can figure out these scrambled movie titles:

(9) A C E E E L N O S T V W (2 words)

(10) A C D E E E H N O P R Z (“___ by the ___”)
(11) D D E I N O R T Y Z (2 words, with “The”)
(12) A E E E G L M N N R T V W Y (3 words)

(1) 12 Months in a Year (2) 12 Eggs in a Carton (which we call a Dozen) (3) 12 x 12 (or 144) is a Gross (4) 12 Days of Christmas (5) 12 + 12 (or 24) Hours in a Day (6) 12 Signs of the Zodiac (7) 12 + 1 (or 13) Doughnuts in a Baker's Dozen (8) 12 Tribes of Israel (9) OCEANS TWELVE (10) CHEAPER by the DOZEN (11) The DIRTY DOZEN (12) TWELVE ANGRY MEN

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