Through work in this area the children will develop an interest in and curiosity about festivals and celebrations. They will discover how different people celebrate and begin to understand the richness and diversity of our culture. This lesson offers strong possibilities for home/school links and for the children to tell about their personal and family experiences.
As they work on this theme, the children will:
The children discuss the celebrations they have experienced in their own lives. Questions could be directed towards why they have these celebrations and what kinds of things happen at them. After this discussion, the children could listen to recordings of people talking about celebrations or listen to a story and look at pictures.
Buddhists around the world adapt their festivals to the cultures of different countries. For example the Buddhist New Year is at different times in different countries. Many Buddhist festivals happen at full moon. The wandering monks traditionally met at each full moon as a reminder of the rules of life. Some Buddhist festivals involve monks and the members of the Buddhist community. The monks chant sacred texts relevant to the festivals themes and their presence reminds the community of the goals of their beliefs. Lots of people to go the monasteries and temples to join with the monks for meditation, to listen to a sermon and to honour the Buddha with images with flowers, incense and lights. In Ireland, Buddhists often choose the Sunday nearest to the full moon so people aren't at work and can go to their nearest Buddhist Centre. Sometimes a celebration simply involves people from the Buddhist Community coming together for meditation and food.
Click here to read about the Festivals of Wesak and Kandy.
Sikh festivals are of two kinds. melas and gurpurbs. All days, except gurpurbs and melas, are of equal significance. Diwali is probably the most famous Hindu festival but it is a Sikh festival too.
Click here to learn more about Melas and Gurpurbs and about the Festival of Diwali.
There are two great festivals in the Christian tradition - Christmas and Easter.
Click here to learn more about Christmas and Easter.
Festivals don't figure as predominantly in Islam as in other religions. This could be because religion is already very much part of the everyday life of Muslims that there is no need for special celebrations. Followers of Islam pray 5 times a day, have a special way of dressing and have rules about diet and hygiene. There are however two festivals that are celebrated: Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr. These festivals are associated with the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and the ending of the fast of Ramadan. Both of the Eids are marked with prayers (additional to, but not differing from, regular daily devotions), a sermon, visiting friends and relatives, a celebratory meal and especially for children, the giving of presents and wearing of new clothes.
Click here to learn more about the Festivals of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr and Hajj.
Click here to download a crossword.
This website has been designed by Jennifer O'Connell. Comments welcomed by email.
The Project on Religions and Beliefs of Ireland was designed as part of Teachnet and you can view this and other Teachnet Projects by clicking here.