CultureGrams – Global Holiday Roundup
Holidays provide a great way to introduce students to the culture and history of a country. Observe a world holiday in your classroom by asking students to research the holiday’s origins or learn more about a particular aspect of the country.
Holiday Focus: Waitangi Day
New Zealanders celebrate their national day, Waitangi Day, on February 6. The holiday commemorates the day in 1840 when the Maori and British signed the Treaty of Waitangi, which allowed kawanatanga (governance) by the British monarch but granted the Maori legal protection and rights to perpetual ownership of their lands and resources. This event is considered the founding of New Zealand. The holiday is marked by cultural and sporting events as well as a demonstration at Waitangi by Maori activists.
World Holidays Featured This Month
Estonia – Vastlapäev – February 15
People go sledding and eat special foods; a long sledding ride indicates good luck with the fall harvest.
Barbados – Holetown Festival – Mid-February
A three-day event that celebrates the arrival of the first settlers to the island in 1627.
Guinea-Bissau – Carnaval – February (Prior to Ash Wednesday)
As in other countries where Carnaval is celebrated, traditional dancing, parades, and paper-mache masks are combined in several days of frenzied activity.
Guyana – Republic Day – February 23
Marks the date Guyana became the Cooperative Republic of Guyana in 1970. The holiday is also known as Mashramani, a word used by indigenous people for the celebration at the end of a cooperative project.
Mexico – Constitution Day – February 5
Celebrates Mexico’s 1917 Constitution. Also marks the beginning of Carnaval, the period of parties and parades before Lent.