Holidays in School

Today in the union, I was looking around for inspiration for my blog post and I saw these huge balloons with Happy Valentine’s Day written all over them and it hit me: holidays in education.

I remember in elementary school we would spend a day making our valentine’s bag with our name and decoration then on February 14th  (or the day closest to it) you would bring in a valentine’s card/candy for every one of your classmates. I had actually forgotten about this until I saw my aunt take a picture of my cousin’s bag of valentines. This really made me think. Why do we celebrate holidays and not give reasoning for it. We commercialize holidays most in elementary school. Teachers tell kids Valentine’s Day is the day of love and Christmas is when Santa comes. There is no reasoning behind this. Yes when you get into the actual meaning of the holidays, then how do we not cross the church is separate from state line.

Two weeks ago in class we discuss social justice and came up with four definitions, Siobhan, Beth, and Carlton wrote “The administration of laws and education that provide all people the same opportunities to succeed without prejudice or boundaries based on societal labels such as, race, gender, sexuality, religion, class, economic status…” By teaching certain holidays, mostly Christian holidays, the education system is creating an unequal system. I think that when someone leaves the 5th grade they should be able to recite the 7 days of Kwanzaa or talk about the history behind Hanukkah. Maybe all of the kids can learn these traditions of other religions thus becoming more cultural competent from a young age.

I also remember celebrating St Patrick ’s Day by all of the green and learning about leprechauns and the pot of gold hidden in the map. Society just ignores the main origin of the material and focuses on the ability to pinch those who wear no green.

I completely understand why teachers of all ages focus in on holidays as they near and especially at elementary ages that parent might not want their kids to be learning different tradition. Teachers should be able to bring up the Holiday’s true history. This is seem like a senseless idea which is so obvious to others but not to me. Discussing religious holidays in middle and high schools could cause controversial opinions in a classroom but if handled the right way, really interesting discussions could spring from kids interest piking. In class we talked about how we can incorporate more social justice into the school environments and as a group came up with ideas and examples. Instead creating an environment where you skip the newspaper and talk about favorite holidays and why. I repeat that I understand why this happens in America but I have also been reminded of the improvements that could and hopefully will continue to take place in the coming years.

Sorry if this post sounded a bit preachy but I thought it was an idea that at least deserved to be looked into.


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One Response to Holidays in School

  1. jhelms94 says:

    Holidays are a touchy subject, since most of them have something to do with religious affiliation. However, I totally agree with you on teaching students about Kwanzaa and Hanukkah and other “non-commercialized” holidays. I feel like students are deprived of cultural education, and this would be of great benefit for students of all ages. I remember in elementary school celebrating valentines day by making our huge boxes or envelopes, and picking out the coolest cards we could find and writing them all out. And having thanksgiving parties, and dressing up as indians and pilgrims. And for Christmas talking about santa and christmas trees and presents. However, even in middle and high school we didn’t talk about the history behind these holidays because it would be “too controversial.” Maybe if many different holidays from many cultures all over the world were integrated into the school system and celebrated, then talking about these holidays wouldn’t be a touchy, and controversial subject. This is yet another flaw in the system that is difficult to iron out and figure out the best way to go about it.


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