Journal Prompts for Children: World Holidays (Part 1/2)
When students are bombarded with media and ideas from a particular culture, it can be difficult for them to understand the challenges faced by people in other societies. Though students might strive for empathy, they may struggle to accept alternate viewpoints and lifestyles.
Journaling can combat these problems, as guided prompts encourage students to expand their ideas and to consider the experiences of others. The writing process breaks down barriers at an individual level and allows each student to explore new thoughts on the page. Regular journal writing normalizes this practice and makes it easier for students to start thinking in broader terms.
In these 50 new journal prompts (25 here and 25 in part two), students are invited to explore holidays from around the world.
With holidays ranging from Hindu celebrations of Diwali to the Japanese Golden Week, kids will be exposed to a broad selection of cultures. Students will receive a brief introduction to the holiday along with a few questions to consider about its benefits and effects. However, teachers are also encouraged to supplement the journal prompts with other lessons. The holidays included here are rich with lessons and opportunities to teach students about other cultures and the importance of diversity.
Journal Prompts for Children Exploring Holidays Around the World
- Some states celebrate Native American Day or Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day. What do you think of this idea?
- Costa Rica celebrates “Day of the Culture” on the same day as Columbus Day to honor the way that African, American, Asian and European cultures came together. How does this promote cultural appreciation?
- Do you think Americans should continue to celebrate Columbus Day? Why or why not?
- Diwali, the festival of lights, is an important Hindu celebration that honors victory’s triumph over evil. What do you think of this celebration?
- Have you ever heard of Diwali or seen a Diwali celebration?
- Are there any holidays that you are familiar with that celebrate ideas similar to those of Diwali?
- How does light factor into other spiritual and religious holidays that you are familiar with?
- Europe Day celebrates peace, unity and other similar goals espoused by the European Union. What does this holiday teach people?
- Do we have similar holidays in America? What values could we celebrate?
- Why is it important to recognize unity between cultures and different ideas?
- International Women’s Day celebrates achievements by women and encourages people to respect and appreciate women and their struggles. Why is this an important holiday?
- How do events like International Women’s Day encourage people to be mindful of women’s struggles?
- Why isn’t there an International Men’s Day? How are women’s issues different than men’s?
- Chinese New Year celebrations sometimes include thorough house-cleanings to sweep away bad fortune and make way for good luck. How is this practice similar to New Year’s resolutions?
- During Chinese New Year celebrations, people also make an effort to forgive others and to wish people well. How could you incorporate this idea into your New Year’s celebrations?
- Kwanzaa is a holiday that celebrates African-American culture. Have you ever been to a Kwanzaa celebration? What do you know about the holiday?
- There are seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, family, purpose, creativity, and faith. How do these principles work together to create balance in the individual?
- Could you improve in any of these seven areas? How will you work to incorporate them into your life?
- Why is it significant that Kwanzaa is celebrated between Christmas and New Year’s?
- Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration also known as the “Festival of Lights.” Why are the candles on the menorah so important to the holiday?
- Have you ever celebrated Hanukkah? Do you know anyone who celebrates the holiday?
- Why do you think American culture focuses so much more heavily on Christmas than Hanukkah?
- Hanukkah celebrations last for eight nights. Why is each night of the holiday significant?
- Why aren’t other holidays celebrated for more than one night?
- During the month-long observance of Ramadan, Muslims fast during the day and pray more often in order to develop their spirituality. Have you ever observed Ramadan, or do you know anyone who observes the month?
Begin Exploring the World’s Holidays with your students today. They’ll be tomorrow’s leaders, and the values of cultural acceptance and celebration will serve our world in the future.