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RE: Celebrations and Festivals

By: Hamida Pall - Updated: 17 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Celebrations Festivals Feasts Religion

Religious education provides for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the child. RE should help pupils to develop a positive attitude towards others and respect for their individual beliefs. In the twenty first century children are encountering more and more different beliefs and cultures both inside and outside of the classroom. This can present a great challenge to teachers in educating children about the diversity of practices and faith traditions of different pupils. Just as there are many different religions, some children will come from homes with no religious affiliation, and even though their beliefs and values do not stem directly from a religions tradition they are still to be respected and acknowledged.

What to Expect

At home, learning about different festivals and celebrations is an interesting way of learning about different cultures and their beliefs. Most parents begin with teaching their children about festivals, holidays, beliefs, symbols, places of pilgrimage and worship, art, culture and modern practices of their own religion. However, your child may have friends from different faith traditions that they may express an interest in finding out more about, or they may want to learn more about a faith they have heard about in school.

Some of the main faiths that your children may encounter or learn about in school are:

  • Christianity
  • Judaism
  • Islam
  • Hinduism
  • Sikhism
  • Buddhism.
Religious festivals and celebrations are important to every religion as they mark important times in people’s lives. In school, your child will be finding out about the religious beliefs behind particular festivals, and how people celebrate with food, clothes, stories and music.

When starting to look at religious festivals and celebrations at home you can discuss with your child the various events that they have celebrated throughout the year, for example birthdays, weddings, or a religious festival. Talk about who was involved, how the event was celebrated and the reason for celebration. You may have old photographs of different celebrations that you can show your child.

Resources

The Internet is a wonderful resource for learning about different faiths and their celebrations. Many books have also been published especially for children about religions and their feasts and festivals. Reading these stories together can help your child to understand more about the traditions and background to different festivals and celebrations. You may be able to find interesting stories about some of the following celebrations:
  • The Christian stories of Christmas and Easter
  • The Hindu festival of Diwali
  • The Buddhist festival of Wesak
  • The Sikh festival of Baisakhi
  • The Jewish festival of Purim
  • The Muslim festival of Id-ul-Adha
Talk about different festival foods used to celebrate particular festivals. You might even be able to find some recipes that you could try cooking together.

Music also plays an important part in religious celebrations. If your library has a ‘World Music’ section you may be able to find music from particular festivals or if you may be able to find some audio clips on the internet. Discuss the music with your child, the mood it evokes and the instruments played.

People often send greeting cards at times of festival and celebration. Research with your child the types of cards given at a particular celebration and the related symbols, colours and pictures. You could then help your child to design and decorate a card with the appropriate religious symbols and message.

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