Holiday Traditions Around the World

December is a month rich in celebrations, and MBTS Spanish lessons were no exception. We took this season of joy and festivity as an opportunity to learn about holiday traditions around the Spanish-speaking world, as well as to describe traditions we honor here in Cayman in the target language. 

Casa First and Second Years learned about the Mexican tradition of breaking open piñatas. Though this happens year round, it especially occurs in conjunction with Las Posadas in the days leading up to Christmas in Mexico. We learned the piñata song – ‘Dale, Dale, Dale,’ and colored our own bright and cheerful piñatas. In Toddler as well as in Casa we also learned Christmas songs in Spanish such as ‘Cascabel’ and ‘S-A-N-T-A.’

In Kindergarten through Grade 2, we learned about how to describe our Christmas trees and the decorations that can be found on them. We learned the story ‘Árbol de Navidad,’ acted it out, and created and labeled our own Christmas tree in Spanish. We also enjoyed singing Christmas songs in Spanish with our favorite being ‘Cascabel’.

In Grades 3 and 4, we learned about a New Year’s tradition which is recognized in Spain. We read the story ‘Javier y Las Doce Uvas,’ which is about a Spanish boy named Javier who celebrates New Year’s Eve in La Puerta del Sol in Madrid. He brings his twelve grapes with him, and when the clock strikes midnight, he eats one grape for every ‘campanada’ or chime of the clock. This is a very famous tradition and one that we were able to try ourselves during the lesson! We played last year’s broadcast of Nochevieja from Madrid, Spain on YouTube and ate one (half a grape) at each chime. The students were impressively fast chewers!

In Grades 5 and 6 we learned about a tradition that occurs in various Spanish-speaking countries, but predominantly, in Mexico. It is called ‘Las Tamaladas.’ Family and friends gather together for a days-long event of preparing and wrapping tamales. We recreated Las Tamaladas in the Spanish room, each student assembling and wrapping one tamal with a corn husk and one tamal with a banana leaf (fresh from our beautiful island of Cayman!) The students did a wonderful job. They later were able to eat what they prepared. The flavor reviews were mixed but it was a great experience! 

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