In the fall there are a lot of celebrations going on. I am not a huge fan of Halloween. Sorry, I know it is an extremely popular holiday, but I have never been a big fan of being scared, of walking around in the cold getting candy, and then I was also trick or treating in the era where you took your candy to the ER where they would x-ray it to make sure there wasn't a razor blade in your candy. Do you remember that period? There has to be other 80's people out there. I remember only going to people's houses I knew and then we still had to inspect all the candy. My kids have it easier. They seem to know more people around them than I did as a child. But still, it is not my favorite.
But, there are other great celebrations this time of year! At my kids' school, they don't celebrate Halloween either. They celebrate the Harvest and all the wonderful things and blessings that time of year brings. They do service activities all week at school and have treats and play some harvest games too. Those celebrations are on the 31st. I'll post about that then. Anyway, there are also two lesser known celebrations, that my kids get to participate in at school are Purim and the Monk Celebration.
In second grade, they learn about Monks. They learn about their lifestyles, what they learned, did, listened too, read...... Then to culminate their learning they have a celebration. The kids dress in Monk robes and walk quietly (since Monks don't speak) to a room where they write "The Lord is my Shepherd" on similar materials as the monks wrote on. The used quills, ink, wax, parchment, clay, and metal carving. Each word was on a different medium. While they worked, they listened to Gregorian Chants. They loved it. Staying quiet was pretty hard, but it was awesome.
Here is Maylin and her table working on the wax.
This time of year, at the Harvest, the Jewish people would celebrate Purim, which is the celebration of Queen Esther and how she stood up for them and saved their lives. They believe she was saved for that time, to do that great work or purpose. Many of their celebrations from Purim, are what are incorporated in our Halloween.
They had a man who had lived in Jerusalem for years, come and teach their traditions and the meaning behind the celebration. He taught Esther's great story. Then the kids actually got to do a celebration.
Each student got to make a mask. The Jewish people would use these masks in their parade. They also made noise makers for the parade. I was in charge of these crafts. We made masks from paper plates and lots of "accessories." The kids were creative. Most of the kids dressed up in what they had that represented that time period. The noise makers were two paper cups filled with beans and then taped together. They decorated those too.
Here is Kenzie with her Purim mask.
Her friends finished products. The paper in the picture represents the Esther scrolls that the people use in Purim. They have Esther's story on them and then for our class, their was a quote from one of our LDS prophets who talks about Esther and how, we too, like her are saved for our time for a great purpose. The scrolls were awesome.
The biggest part of Purim is when the Jewish people read the story of Esther as they parade through the streets wearing their masks and carrying their noise makers. One at the head of the parade carries a "Doll" of Haman.....the one who tried to have the Jews killed. He is hung from a stick. As the parade goes, the story of Esther is read aloud. When the name Haman is read, every one boos and hisses. When Esther and her Uncle Mordecai's name was read every one cheers. The students reenacted this parade around the school. The other kids in the other grades all came out and watched as they passed by. They got .pretty loud.
Here is their Haman.
The parade lead the kids to a room where we had a traditional Jewish lunch. We had cookies that are traditional to the Jewish celebration called Haman's hats or Haman's ears. They are in that shape and are filled with dates or apricot preserves. They had a Harvest soup, Challah bread, olives, nuts, raisins, dates and figs and a sweet treat made with poppy seeds. The decorations were amazing and the man (Dan Hone) that spoke had lots of true artifacts from the culture.
Here are some of the amazing things he brought.
After it was all done, and the kids were visiting, Kenzie and her friends played cups. Cute, cute kids. Glad she has great friends.