Latin Traditional Music and Instruments – Latin Culture for kids

Folk music is different in each of the communities in the Latin area. Italian songs include many different styles to include ballads, lullabies and children’s songs, seasonal songs, life cycle songs and occupational songs. Solo singing is common with songs with 2-3 parts sung by a single performer. Religious songs are sometimes sung in Latin. The area is known to use a greater variety of folk instruments than in other parts of Italy.
The zampogna bagpipe is typically heard only at Christmas. Common instruments include the organetto- an accordion and clarinet and the violin. There are solo dances like the “flag dances” in which the dancer passes a town flag or pennant around the neck, through the legs, behind the back, often tossing it high in the air and catching it. These dances can also be done in groups or by solo dancers.

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Latin Etiquette – Latin Culture for kids

When you meet someone or leave from any gathering, you should wish the people present a good day or good evening.  Italians who are friends greet each other with a kiss, usually on the left cheek and then on the right.  When you meet a person for the first time, you should shake hands.

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Italy is full of churches.  In places of worship, it is necessary to dress appropriately.  Shorts, tank tops and sleeveless clothing are not considered the proper dress to give respect to these places. In addition, it is not polite to enter a church in the middle of a mass.

Table manners are formal. Rarely do Italians share food from their plates. Wine, beer, and other alcoholic drinks are almost always consumed as part of a meal.

Smoking has been banned in all public establishments.

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Flowers, chocolates, or a bottle of wine are appropriate hostess gifts when invited to dinner at someone’s home. Showing up on time is  always expected.

Latin Travel Destinations – Latin Culture for kids

You can visit a few of the smaller towns of the region, explore some of the medieval ruins, go hiking in the foothills and the mountains,  and even visit the churches and cathedrals to see their architecture. Recommended places to visit include:

La Riserva Naturale Monte Rufeno is a 7,000 acre nature reserve on the borders of Lazio, Umbria and Tuscany.

You can tour the Bullicame Hot Springs near Viterbo.  These hot springs are carved out of white clay.

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Lake Bolsena is the largest of the three volcanic lakes north of Rome.  You can tour the Collegiata di Santa Cristina Church and take an island ferry trip to Isola Bisentina where swimming and picnicking are welcomed.

The Gelateria Santa Cristina in Bolsena is one of Italy’s finest ice cream shops.  It was awarded the prestigious ice cream world cup in 2008.

Near Bolsena is the castle home Castello Ruspoli.  The gardens are unchanged since the 17th century.  Garden tours are available.

Civita di Bagnoregio is a main tourist draw.  You need to walk a pedestrian bridge to see the craft shops and tufa houses where Saint Bonaventure lived.

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Latin Festivals and Holidays – Latin Culture for kids

There are many festivals in and around the region.

Festa di Primavera is the Spring Festival.  There are a series of concerts planned each year and tours to churches, monuments and places of historical interest are organized.

Natalie di Roma is the Birth of Rome celebration.  It is held on April 21st each year to celebrate the founding of Rome in 753 B.C. by Romolo.  There are ceremonies, beauty contests, Roman feasts, traditional dancing, gladiator battles, parades and fireworks.

Sabaudia –Pasqua Degli Sportivi is a Sportsman’s Easter.  This annual event is a celebration of sportsmen and women who have performed extremely well during the year.  The event is attended by many athletes and coaches from the Province of Latina.  It ends with a mass in honor of the sports participants, the Annunziata Church in Sabaudia and an Easter blessing.

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There are additional festivals to celebrate such as the Festival of the Sea in Terracina held in July and the Annual Festival of Parks-Nature and Fitness held throughout all of the parks in Rieti. The Festa del Sole, a Sun Festival is also held in Rieti. The Festival of Ancient Flavors held in Frosinone in celebration of the Feast Day of Madonna dello Spirito Santo, the Resta Della S.S. Croce in Pastena to celebrate the Feast Day of St. Elena, I Misteri di Santa Cristina in Bolsena for the martyrdom of Saint Cristian and the Processione di Santa Rosa in Viterbo in honor of the town’s patron saint, Saint Rose, are some of the festivals that are the areas’s favorites.

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Latin History – Latin Culture for kids

The Italian word Lazio comes from the Latin word Latium.  Latini is the common language that’s spoken and passed on to the city state of Ancient Rome.  In Roman mythology, the tribe of the Latini took their name from King Latinus.  The larger territory of land occupied by the Latini was called Latium.  It was divided into several lands.  Emperor Augustus officially united almost all of the present day Italy into Italia with eleven regions.  Lazio with the present region of Campania to the southeast of Lazio and the seat of Neapolis became Region I.

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After the Gothic War in 533-544 and the Byzantine conquest, the region gained freedom.  Eventually the area was seized by the Roman Bishop.  There were a series of power struggles between lords and the Roman bishop until the 16th century.  In 1353-1367, the papacy regained control of Lazio.

Since the middle of the 16th century, the papacy politically unified Lazio with the Papal States. Lazio became a puppet state of the First French Republic under the forces of Napoleon.  It existed for a short time and then in 1809, Lazio was added to the French Empire.  It was returned in 1815 to the Pope.  On September 20, 1870 the capture of Rome during Pope Pius IX’s reign and France’s defeat at Sedan helped unite Italy.  Lazio became part of the Kingdom of Italy.

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Latin Cuisine – Latin Culture for kids

Vegetables are a very big part of everyone’s diet.  They are cooked with oil, herbs and garlic.  Sometimes anchovies are also added.  The meat dishes are usually a less quality beef and pork and are heavy and over-flavored.  Chicken, rabbit and snail are popular. Pasta, especially the larger types like bucatini and conchiglie, are most favored.  The pasta dish called spaghetti carbonara comes from this region, along with the pasta sauce arrabbiata. The word “arrabbiata” means angry because of the flakes of hot pepperoncino added to it.

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Latin Children’s Stories – Latin Culture for kids

The Romans believed in many different gods and goddesses.  Their collection of gods was called the Pantheon.  Latin stories were myths and legends about these figures.  The Roman gods were a mix of Latin and Greek. Some important gods and goddesses included Jupiter, Juno, Mars, Venus, Minerva, Neptune, Ceres, Vulcan, Diana, Bacchus, Mercury and Vesta.  Children read stories about hundreds of gods and goddesses.

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Latin Children’s Songs – Latin Culture for kids

Latin children’s songs were a combination of lullabies, chants, finger plays and rhymes.  The lyrics were about children’s toys and activities, about holidays and fun times.

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Dona Nobis Pacem

Dormi Fili, Dormi!

Lalla, Lalla, Lalla

Personet Hodie

Veni Veni Emmanuel

Give Us Peace

Sleep Son, Sleep!

Lalla, Lalla, Lalla (a lullaby)

This Day Resounds

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

The Latin Language and Alphabet – Latin Culture for kids

Latin is one of several languages that belong to the Italic branch of the Indo-European family languages. It is closely related to Celtic. Several modern Romance languages came from the Latin language to include French, Provencal, Italian, Sicilian, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Ladino, Romansh, Romanian, etc. In 753 B.C. the city of Rome was founded.  At this time, Latin was spoken by several thousand people in and near Rome.  It was spoken until the middle Republican Period.

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The Latin alphabet at this time was made from the Etruscan alphabet. The writing style later changed from writing right-to-left to left-to-right. Then, a new Classical Latin was developed and used by poets, those that gave speeches and historians.  This language was taught in the grammar and rhetoric schools in which the wealthier boys attended.  A separate spoken language existed at the same time.  Known as Vulgar Latin it was seldom written.  Various dialects of the language were also developed.

When the Roman Empire declined, Late Latin came about.  This is seen in the Christian writing of that time period. This language was easier to speak and spread to other parts of Europe. Many of the words changed their meanings and new vocabulary was added.  From this time until the middle ages, about the end of the 18th century, the majority of books were written in Latin.

Today, the largest organization that uses Latin is the Catholic Church.   Many organizations (states, provinces, countries, Armed Forces, etc.) have Latin mottos.  There are several websites maintained by those who want to keep the language alive.  Latin is taught in a lot of high schools and colleges in the Americas and in Europe.  The influence of Latin continues. The English language has about 50% of its vocabulary as Latinate.  Latin is still used in the creation of new words in modern languages.

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The number of letters in the Latin language has varied.  First there were only 21.  Later the letter G was added which was originally spelled C.  Z was not used.  Later, Y and Z were added into the alphabet. W was created from VV. J was added from the original I.  U was added from V.  Classical Latin did not include punctuation, small letters or spacing between words. So the Archaic Latin alphabet included A, B, C, D, E, F, Z, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, V and X.

Emperor Claudius, after the Roman conquest of Greece in the first century B.C., adopted the Greek letters Y and Z and placed them at the end of the alphabet. During this period, the alphabet had 23 letters as seen in this Classical Latin alphabet chart:

Classical Latin Alphabet










Latin name

á · ā

bé · bē

cé · cē

dé · dē

é · ē

ef · ef

gé · gē

há · hā

Latin pronunciation (IPA)


















Latin name


ká · kā

el · el

em · em

en · en

ó · ō

pé · pē

qv́ · qū

Latin pronunciation (IPA)

















Latin name

er · er

es · es

té · tē

v́ · ū

ex · ex

graeca ·ī Graeca

zéta · zēta

Latin pronunciation (IPA)








Common Latin Words and Phrases


Good Morning!

Good Evening!


How are you?

I’m fine.  Thanks!

And you?

Good/So so.

Thank you very much.

You are welcome.

Hey, friend!

What’s new?

Nothing much.

Good night.

See you later.

Good bye!

What’s your name?

My name is…

Nice to meet you!

Good Luck!

Happy Birthday!

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas!


Good/Bad/So so.


What time is it?

One, two, three

Four, five, six

Seven, eight, nine, ten





Quid agis?


Et tu?

Bene/Admodum bene.

Gratias multas.


Heus, amicus (male) or amica (female)!

Quid novi?

Nullum multum.




Quid est teum nomen?

Meum nomen…est.

Suave to cognoscere est!


Beatum Diem Natalem!

Annum Faustum!

Natalem Hilarem!


Bonum/Malum/Admodum bonum.


Quota hora est?

Unus, duo, tres

Quattuor, quinque, sex

Septem, octo, novem, decem

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