With Thanksgiving fast approaching (next week!), I want to take a moment with this week’s newsletter both to recognize the upcoming holiday and acknowledge the amazing diversity of ethnic backgrounds here at iLearn Academy by writing about several other nations that celebrate something similar to the American Holiday. Some of these countries were influenced by the American Thanksgiving, and others have their own celebrations that are far older, but despite these superficial differences, each of the holidays below share a clearly recognizable common theme:taking a day out of the year to appreciate what we have.
Thanksgiving in China, Korea, Vietnam:
The Chinese holiday Chung Chiu translates to “Harvest Moon Festival”, the Korean holiday of Chuseok means “Autumn Eve”, and the Vietnamese holiday Têt-Trung-Thu is known as “The Children’s Festival”. Celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, this holiday oscillates between mid-September and early October, when the moon is at its fullest. This year, it was celebrated from 13-15 September. Originally celebrated during the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BCE), the festival today is centered around bringing family and friends together in a spirit of thankfulness to celebrate the changing of the seasons. A favorite food is mooncake, a small dessert typically filled with sweet bean paste or ground lotus seeds. A traditional pile of mooncakes is 13, to symbolize the 13 months of the lunar year. In some parts of China, there is a tradition that the senior person in the household cuts the cakes into pieces and distributes them to the family members, symbolizing family reunion.
Thanksgiving in Japan:
Like China, Korea, and Vietnam, Japan celebrates a similar Moon Festival, but they also celebrate a holiday on 23 November known as Kinrō Kansha no Hi, or Thanksgiving Labor day As you might expect, this holiday bears similarities to both the American Thanksgiving and Labor day. Though this holiday has roots in ancient harvest festivals, its modern form was established in 1948 as a way to celebrate changes in post-WWII Japan that included fundamental human rights and expanded workers’ rights. As such, the holiday focuses on peace, the environment, and human rights, and schoolchildren mark the day by making and distributing cards and small gifts to local Policemen, Firemen, and other laborers to show appreciation for their contributions to the country. In addition, companies recognize the accomplishments and dedication of their employees, and extended families get together for dinner.
Thanksgiving in India:
India is a land of many peoples and many traditions, so I reached out to one of our students and he provided an excellent explanation of two Indian holidays. With mild edits, I’ve included his words below: I can tell you about two of my favorite harvest festivals of India: Makarsankranti marks the first day of the sun’s transition into the Makara (Capricorn), which marks the end of Winter solstice and the beginning of longer days. it is celebrated throughout the country but most joyously in the Northern and Western parts. Specifically in the West (in the state of Gujarat - the state I come from), there are huge kite flying competitions and the terrace of every little house on the street is usually filled with people flying kites and trying to cut each other’s kite while enjoying loud music and traditional sweets. Many people also Pray and pay respects to the sun. Onam, is celebrated more in the Southern part of the country, specifically the state of Kerala (the most beautiful state in the country in my opinion, filled with serene backwaters and a calm environment). Onam is a harvest festival, but is also connected to various Hindu mythological stories, mainly marking the arrival of one of the 10 avatars (forms) of the Hindu god Vishnu. Highlights of the celebration include massive boat races in the backwaters. This is a team sport and beautiful to watch as a lot of people row the boat together. They also have a traditional dance form called Pulikali in which people dress up as tigers. People also make powdered color drawings called Rangolis in front of their houses, eat traditional food served in banana leaves, and compete in tug of war games. Onam is also New year for Malayali (people from Kerala) Hindus.
Tell Us About Your Traditions:
Sadly, there isn’t room in this newsletter to cover the traditions of all our students, so if you have any interesting holiday traditions, whether they come from another country, or are a unique way your family gives meaning to this season, please drop us a line at SeanStein@ilearnacademy.net. I’d love to compile your traditions into one document. Ask us about it next time you come in!
Get ready to stretch your brains! The answer will appear in our next newsletter, or, if you can’t wait that long, we’ll post it on our Facebook page next Wednesday! This is a great puzzle, as it has real-life application! You’ve just moved into a new house, and don’t yet know which switches correspond to which lights. There are three switches downstairs, and each corresponds to one of three light bulbs in the attic. You can turn the switches on and off and leave them in any position. How would you identify which switch corresponds to which light bulb, if you are only allowed one trip upstairs?
Stomp The Homework Monster!
Two constant concerns of busy parents are finding after-school care for their children and helping with the continuous stream of homework assignments they bring home, but between the two, we know you generally have to settle for child care. We believe we have a better answer: we’ll provide both! For one low price, your child will get homework help and supplementary education in the core subjects of Math, Reading, and Writing every week. By 6pm, homework will be complete, and your young student will be well-prepared for the next day at school. When you pick up your children, they will be ready for a relaxed evening, and you can be confident that their homework is complete, and well done. Give us a call or ask about it the next time you come in for tutoring!
Articles of Interest:
How Airships Could Return To Our Crowded Skies This week’s longread looks to the future, when a new generation of airships (think blimps and zeppelins) could transport humans and cargo around the globe. Any students interested in aerospace engineering could be well placed to contribute to the beginning of an exciting new industry! Should Learn Mainly Through Play Until Age Of Eight, Says Lego The title pretty much says it all, and perhaps you’re dubious about claims learning through play made by a toy company, but there is a lot of other research to support this position. What have you noticed about the ways your children learn through play?
23 Nov - First day of 10 week ACT course targeting 8 February test date. 23 Nov - This Day In History 26 Nov - Late registration deadline for 7 December SAT 28 Nov - Happy Thanksgiving! iLearn Academy Closed.
Glenbrook South Instrumental League (GBSIL) is hosting a Holiday Bazaar on December 7, from 10 am - 5 pm. (GBSIL is the not-for-profit parent support group for the band program at Glenbrook South High School. The show will feature booths filled with a variety of handmade, vintage, repurposed, and artisan wares.)
Speech and Debate Tournamentruns from Nov. 23-25 and is the largest high school tournament in the country. Thousands of students, coaches and judges come from all over the country. There are 15 events that take place over three days at GBN, GBS, Maple, Attea and the Renaissance North Shore.