What is your favorite holiday? Why?
Do you think it's a good idea to invent random holidays? Or, do you think having too many random holidays makes all holidays seem less important? Explain your answer.
How do you think the world would be different if everyone celebrated a random holiday just for fun every day of the year? Why?
According to the article, random holidays may be consumer-oriented, meant to spread awareness about a certain issue or invented just for a laugh. In today's world, which of these reasons do you think is the best reason to celebrate a random holiday? Why?
- As a class, make a list of holidays. Encourage students to identify songs, dances, objects, rituals or traditions that are closely associated with each one. If you like, have students name something and challenge classmates guess which holiday it refers to. Guide students to recognize that these factors are what make each holiday unique.
- Remind students that the article identified three reasons people create new holidays. New holidays can be consumer-oriented, meant to spread awareness about a certain issue or invented just for a laugh. Discuss the pros and cons of each reason.
- Give students time to come up with an idea for their own new holiday. Instruct them to analyze the topic and the reason it would be celebrated. Based on the results, have students pick the perfect day to celebrate their new holiday.
- Encourage students to brainstorm a list of ways people could celebrate this new holiday. Assign or have students pick one item from the list. Give them time to draw, write or create in some other way an example of this item. Have students then write a brief summary explaining the item's role in celebrating the new holiday.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
Use this lesson from the Smithsonian’s History Explorer to help students discover America’s key symbols and holidays through short videos, mini-activities and practice questions related to U.S. history and civics for citizenship.
Song and dance are important parts of many holiday celebrations. Use these Smithsonian Folkways lessons to introduce students to some of the history, traditions and music of Spain.
Even when times are tough, people like to celebrate. Invite students to read this article from the National Museum of American history to see how one family managed to spread holiday cheer during the Great Depression.
In this Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum lesson, elementary students create hand-painted fruits and vegetables to hang in the Sukkah, a temporary shelter used during the Jewish Holiday, Sukkot.
A fair or carnival is a fun way for a community to celebrate. And one thing most fairs, carnivals and even amusement parks have is a carousel. In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students will design a carousel. They will work in collaborative groups, conduct research, develop a presentation, write a descriptive paragraph, evaluate design features and draw an artistic rendering of their ideas.
The ancient tradition of Vardavar attracts tourists to Armenia. But those who participate should bring a change of clothes. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn why.