Holidays offer a gateway to find connections with cultures different from our own

Essay written by TNSM parent and D+CE member Rachel Lwin

Thadingyut is the Myanmar holiday honoring the end of the summer and the transition to the cool, dry season of southeast Asia, heralded by the full autumn moon. This year, it was on October 20, the day that I wrote this blog post! Like Halloween, Thadingyut is one of many celebrations of the end of the harvest in the northern hemisphere, a marking of the annual changing of the seasonal guard.

Last year our family skipped trick-or-treating and held a Halloween/Thandingyut celebration instead. We were homeschooling at that point, and as both the ringmaster of our little school and a Halloween enthusiast, I commanded the troops to spend an inordinate amount of time learning about the holiday and a couple other fall equinox celebrations around the northern hemisphere.

Halloween as we know it today, has roots in an ancient equinox celebration called Samhain. It is a time to commemorate the harvest and prepare for the impending season of darkness. Several of the equinox celebrations my kids and I read held a few common themes: the triumph of light over dark; feasting; giving thanks to or honoring others, living or dead; and community steadfastness in the face of adversity.

Holidays offer a gateway for our children to find connections with cultures and parts of the world different from our own. I’ve listed a handful of books in the Cincinnati Public Library collection that we all might find comfort and connection in as the light fades and we prepare for brighter, warmer days ahead.

Ages 3-6


Ages 6-9

Ages 9-12

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