Friday, January 20, 2012

Ask Me Anything: Holiday Storytelling

In this semi-regular feature on Witch Mom, I answer select questions from readers. There is always a box to the right of my blog posts if you would also like to ask a question, or click here. It could be about The Craft, parenting, pop culture, multi-religious education, homeschooling, or whatever! I cannot promise to answer each one, but I will read them!

A reader asks: "Do you have any Yule or Holiday stories that you like to tell your son?" 

Old Befana
My son loves books and grasps some stories pretty well, complicated concepts not so much yet. So far, in terms of educating my son on religion or ethics (or really anything other than colors, numbers, not hitting people, and the alphabet), we haven't gotten that far. Soon though- it will be very soon!

But are there stories that I plan on tell him? You bet! This time of year there are many holidays, and I want my son to learn about all of them. I am always looking for great children's books and stories to tell- and if you know of one for any of these holidays, please make a note in the comments.

For Chalikah, (this is a UU holiday that happens in early December) we will discuss the seven principles and how they apply to his life. what strikes me is how the seven UU principles are so parallel (in my mind) to the principles of Kwanzaa. He is going to be going to a UU church as a child and youth, and likely taking their OWL classes, too.

For Yule itself, we will talk about the rebirth of the sun as we stay up all night to watch it rise and give thanks. We will create stories that talk about equal parts day and night and how now the days will get a little longer each day. Since we will be homesteading and Rowan will be helping with that project and much of his schooling will start there, an agricultural calendar and story will take center stage.  Here is a nice story we may adapt.

The Chalikah my Sunday School class made.
For Christmas (which most of his relatives celebrate, either religiously or secularly), we will be telling him about Jesus and how this is his birthday celebration. (The conversation about Yule appropriation, how Jesus was likely born in September, and Mithras will wait until he is older).

For Hannukah, I will tell the story of the Jews' miracle of the lamp oil lasting and how it corresponds to the number of candles. His best friend is Jewish and we celebrate Hannukah with them.

For Kwanzaa, we will celebrate this holiday in our home. I love the principles of Kwanzaa and want to instill them in my child. We will be getting a kinara and the correct colored candles. 

For Twelfth Night Eve (what Christians re-appropriated and have renamed Epiphany Eve, January 5/January 6 morning), there is the legend of Old Befana. In Italy, it is she who delivers gifts to good girls and boys, flying through keyholes on her broom. Read more here about Befana and how she has been "Christianized".

What stories and themes do you tell your children over the winter holidays? Do you celebrate more than one holiday?

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