Turkish Culture for Children– fun facts, festivals

Festivals, Holidays and Celebrations

There are two types of holidays in Turkey: Milli Bayramlar (Festivals that mark the victories during the independence war after the WWI) and Dini Bayramlar (Festivals  that are related with religious traditions; namely, Ramazan Bayrami and Kurban Bayrami).

Ramazan Bayrami, also known as Eid-al Fitr, is celebrated at the end of Ramadan for 4 days. During Ramazan Bayrami, all family members get together, elderly are visited and little children are given candies. Whenever you visit someone’s home during Ramazan Bayrami, you can be assured you will be served some home-made baklava.

Kurban Bayrami, aka Eid-al Adha, is the commemoration of profit Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail for God. Traditionally, this festival is celebrated by most of the Turks and is the second major national holiday. During this festival, an animal is sacrificed and most of the meat is given to the poor, needy and the neighbors. Families and relatives gather and cook the meat all together while enjoying this celebration.

 

Japanese Culture for Children– fun facts, food, music, language, Nihongo 日本: Japanese Culture interesting Facts

Food

          Unlike most other countries, Japanese food must be beautifully displayed as well as tasty so Japanese cooks take great care in arranging food on the table. Rice, the primary dish, is prepared in many different ways. The Japanese eat rice cakes, rice crackers, and mix rice in various dishes with red beans, fish, and vegetables. Rice is often formed into balls, filled with fish, meat or a vegetable and then wrapped in dried seaweed. Called onigiri, they’re popular for lunches and snacks. Rice is also made into wine called sake.

The next most important foods are noodles and pickled dishes.  Noodle dishes are eaten for lunches and snacks. Japanese love pickled foods and they eat pickles at every meal. Also important are soybeans. Tofu, soybean curd, is used in many different ways including making donuts and ice cream. Miso, a paste for flavoring soup and marinating fish, is made from soy beans and rice. Soy is also made into a sauce.

A common breakfast in Japan is a bowl of rice, a bowl of miso soup, a pickled vegetable and a side dish of fish. Dinners are similar to breakfast but have three side dishes. Each side dish needs to be cooked a different way. Two foods unique to Japanese cuisine are sashimi and sushi. Both are made from raw seafood. But sashimi is eaten dipped in soy sauce and sushi is combined with rice.

Japan’s traditional beverage is green tea which may be served hot or cold. It is also canned and sold in stores like soft drinks are in the west.

Clothes

The traditional Japanese garment is the kimono which is worn by both men and women.  However, in modern Japan kimonos are usually reserved for special occasions although one may see elderly women wearing them. Younger men and women prefer western dress as it is less expensive and more comfortable.

A kimono is fastened with a long, wide sash called an obi.The obi is wrapped around the waist and tied in the back. Young girls and single women wear a special type of kimono called a furisode which has long sleeves, is made from colorful fabric and tied with a brightly colored obi. An informal kimono called a yukata is worn at the beach, and at hot springs. Young women and girls often wear gaily colored yukatas to summer festivals.

Plain, black kimonos are worn for funerals by both men and women. Although today black suits are also acceptable. Brides in traditional weddings wear intricately embroidered white kimonos with    ornate headpieces. The groom’s kimono is made of black silk embellished with the family crest.

Kimonos are worn with flat thonged sandals called zoris or wooden plat formed sandals called getas.  Zoris may be made from rice straw or lacquered wood. Getas are always constructed of wood with two slats of wood fastened to the underneath part of the sole, one near the heel and the other near the arch. The 4 to 5 centimeters high slats keep the geta soles from touching the ground. Zoris are for formal wear while getas are worn with yukatas.

Festivals, Holidays and Celebrations

           The two most important holiday celebrations in Japan are New Year’s and Bon Obon. New Year preparations begin in mid-December when everyone cleans and decorates their houses, offices and buildings in anticipation of a visit fromToshigami, the god who brings the blessings of the New Year. Businesses send New Year’s cards to their customers and individuals send them to everyone they know. These are taken to the post office in December to be held for delivery on January 1. People also exchange gifts and give money to children. During the last part of December forget-the-year parties (bounenkai) are hosted. However, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are spent quietly with the family. On New Year’s Eve they listen to the 108 tolls of the temple bells which cleanse us of all sins and bring new life. While Westerners stay up until midnight, Japanese get up early to see the first sunrise. They also eat noodles to bring good fortune in the coming year.  New Year’s Day includes a visit to a shrine and a special family dinner.

Obon is the Festival for the Dead usually celebrated in mid-August. It is a Japanese belief that the spirits of the deceased relatives come back to earth to visit their living families during this time. Houses are cleaned in preparation for the visits. Lanterns are hung in front of houses to welcome and guide the spirits. Families also visit the graves, where they pray and place offerings of flowers, food and drink. Community dances called Bon Odori are held. Here people erect a high wooden structure (yagura) which houses the musicians. The dancers dance in a circle around the yagura. When Obon ends, the people place floating lanterns in various bodies of water  to guide the spirits back home.

Famous Stories

A famous story is about a god called Okuninushi who had eighty brothers. They all wanted to marry the same princess and undertook a journey to visit her. The brothers encountered a rabbit without fur and in pain. They told the rabbit it could get well by bathing in salt water but this only worsened the pain. When Okuninushi met the rabbit, he told it to bathe in clear water. When this was successful, the rabbit, who was actually a god, rewarded Okuninushi by letting him marry the princess. Another popular children’s story is about a parrot that rewards his kind master with a prosperous life but punishes the mean wife after she cut the sparrow’s tongue.

 

Children’s Games

           Japanese children love to play kendema and it is encouraged in elementary school as a means of developing eye hand coordination. Kendema is played with a ball on a string that is attached to a stick and three cups. The object of the game is to toss the ball into the air and catch it either on the end of the stick or in one of the cups.

Teenagers love to play board games such as go and shogi. Both are similar to chess but more complex. Unlike chess, there is no good computer program for Go. However, various organizations have offered high monetary prizes to the first player who develops a program that will defeat a champion.

Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

The spoken language contains honorific endings that show respect. The type of respect depends upon one’s age, gender and social status. Employees must show respect to a supervisor, younger people must speak respectfully to their elders and women need to be more polite than men. There is also a neutral language to use with strangers when you don’t know their social status.

Bowing is another way of showing respect. When Japanese people are introduced they bow instead of shaking hands. At the beginning of classes in school, all students stand and bow to the teacher who bows in return but the students must bow lower.

Values

In Japanese society the group is more important than the individual. Harmony is an important value so the Japanese do not like confrontations. Japan has a hierarchal culture which means that everyone has a place and must respect those who are above them. For instance, a student in tenth grade in a Japanese school would address eleventh and twelfth grade students as senpai. Students in ninth grade and below would be kohai.

Fun Facts

           Japanese teenagers have been creating their own words and the new Japanese dictionaries contain five pages of these. This mostly involves shortening words or phrases. For instance kimochi ga warui which means disagreeable has been shortened to kimoi. And using the name of a business can mean inviting a friend to go there. For example, dotoru would be an invitation to visit a Doutour coffee shop, deniru takes you to Denny’s and makuru to McDonald’s.

 

Famous Places

             Mt. Fuji or Fujiyama is one of the most popular destinations in Japan for both Japanese and tourists. Japanese refer to Fujiyama as The Holy Mountain and its name indicates everlasting life.

Kyoto is a city noted for its historical sites.  Over fifteen of these have been classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Kamakura, a town close to Tokyo, is the home of the famous Great Buddha, a 44 foot high bronze statue weighing 100 tons. At one time it sat in a wooden temple however when a massive tsunami ravaged Kamakura in 1945 the temple washed out into the ocean so now the statue sits out in the open air.

Important Note: This article was written by a person who is familiar with Japanese culture based on his or her personal anecdotal observations. Additionally, there are quite a few generalizations to make the article easier to understand for the children. Dino Lingo does not accept any responsibility for errors, omissions or subjectivity in the content of this post.

We are wondering what you know about Japanese culture…Why don’t you tell us what you know by leaving a comment below? (make sure your comment is written in a language that can be understood by small children)

Learn more about Japan

Japanese lessons for kids

Japanese Culture for Children– fun facts, food, music, language, Nihongo 日本: Japanese Culture interesting Facts

updated.

Food

          Unlike most other countries, Japanese food must be beautifully displayed as well as tasty so Japanese cooks take great care in arranging food on the table. Rice, the primary dish, is prepared in many different ways. The Japanese eat rice cakes, rice crackers, and mix rice in various dishes with red beans, fish, and vegetables. Rice is often formed into balls, filled with fish, meat or a vegetable and then wrapped in dried seaweed. Called onigiri, they’re popular for lunches and snacks. Rice is also made into wine called sake.

The next most important foods are noodles and pickled dishes.  Noodle dishes are eaten for lunches and snacks. Japanese love pickled foods and they eat pickles at every meal. Also important are soybeans. Tofu, soybean curd, is used in many different ways including making donuts and ice cream. Miso, a paste for flavoring soup and marinating fish, is made from soy beans and rice. Soy is also made into a sauce.

A common breakfast in Japan is a bowl of rice, a bowl of miso soup, a pickled vegetable and a side dish of fish. Dinners are similar to breakfast but have three side dishes. Each side dish needs to be cooked a different way. Two foods unique to Japanese cuisine are sashimi and sushi. Both are made from raw seafood. But sashimi is eaten dipped in soy sauce and sushi is combined with rice.

Japan’s traditional beverage is green tea which may be served hot or cold. It is also canned and sold in stores like soft drinks are in the west.read more 

Clothes

The traditional Japanese garment is the kimono which is worn by both men and women.  However, in modern Japan kimonos are usually reserved for special occasions although one may see elderly women wearing them. Younger men and women prefer western dress as it is less expensive and more comfortable.

A kimono is fastened with a long, wide sash called an obi.The obi is wrapped around the waist and tied in the back. Young girls and single women wear a special type of kimono called a furisode which has long sleeves, is made from colorful fabric and tied with a brightly colored obi. An informal kimono called a yukata is worn at the beach, and at hot springs. Young women and girls often wear gaily colored yukatas to summer festivals.

Plain, black kimonos are worn for funerals by both men and women. Although today black suits are also acceptable. Brides in traditional weddings wear intricately embroidered white kimonos with    ornate headpieces. The groom’s kimono is made of black silk embellished with the family crest.

Kimonos are worn with flat thonged sandals called zoris or wooden plat formed sandals called getas.  Zoris may be made from rice straw or lacquered wood. Getas are always constructed of wood with two slats of wood fastened to the underneath part of the sole, one near the heel and the other near the arch. The 4 to 5 centimeters high slats keep the geta soles from touching the ground. Zoris are for formal wear while getas are worn with yukatas.read more 

Festivals, Holidays and Celebrations

           The two most important holiday celebrations in Japan are New Year’s and Bon Obon. New Year preparations begin in mid-December when everyone cleans and decorates their houses, offices and buildings in anticipation of a visit fromToshigami, the god who brings the blessings of the New Year. Businesses send New Year’s cards to their customers and individuals send them to everyone they know. These are taken to the post office in December to be held for delivery on January 1. People also exchange gifts and give money to children. During the last part of December forget-the-year parties (bounenkai) are hosted. However, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are spent quietly with the family. On New Year’s Eve they listen to the 108 tolls of the temple bells which cleanse us of all sins and bring new life. While Westerners stay up until midnight, Japanese get up early to see the first sunrise. They also eat noodles to bring good fortune in the coming year.  New Year’s Day includes a visit to a shrine and a special family dinner.

Obon is the Festival for the Dead usually celebrated in mid-August. It is a Japanese belief that the spirits of the deceased relatives come back to earth to visit their living families during this time. Houses are cleaned in preparation for the visits. Lanterns are hung in front of houses to welcome and guide the spirits. Families also visit the graves, where they pray and place offerings of flowers, food and drink. Community dances called Bon Odori are held. Here people erect a high wooden structure (yagura) which houses the musicians. The dancers dance in a circle around the yagura. When Obon ends, the people place floating lanterns in various bodies of water  to guide the spirits back home.read more 

Famous Stories

A famous story is about a god called Okuninushi who had eighty brothers. They all wanted to marry the same princess and undertook a journey to visit her. The brothers encountered a rabbit without fur and in pain. They told the rabbit it could get well by bathing in salt water but this only worsened the pain. When Okuninushi met the rabbit, he told it to bathe in clear water. When this was successful, the rabbit, who was actually a god, rewarded Okuninushi by letting him marry the princess. Another popular children’s story is about a parrot that rewards his kind master with a prosperous life but punishes the mean wife after she cut the sparrow’s tongue.

 click here to watch short Japanese stories.

Children’s Games

           Japanese children love to play kendema and it is encouraged in elementary school as a means of developing eye hand coordination. Kendema is played with a ball on a string that is attached to a stick and three cups. The object of the game is to toss the ball into the air and catch it either on the end of the stick or in one of the cups.

Teenagers love to play board games such as go and shogi. Both are similar to chess but more complex. Unlike chess, there is no good computer program for Go. However, various organizations have offered high monetary prizes to the first player who develops a program that will defeat a champion.read more  

Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

The spoken language contains honorific endings that show respect. The type of respect depends upon one’s age, gender and social status. Employees must show respect to a supervisor, younger people must speak respectfully to their elders and women need to be more polite than men. There is also a neutral language to use with strangers when you don’t know their social status.

Bowing is another way of showing respect. When Japanese people are introduced they bow instead of shaking hands. At the beginning of classes in school, all students stand and bow to the teacher who bows in return but the students must bow lower.read more 

Values

In Japanese society the group is more important than the individual. Harmony is an important value so the Japanese do not like confrontations. Japan has a hierarchal culture which means that everyone has a place and must respect those who are above them. For instance, a student in tenth grade in a Japanese school would address eleventh and twelfth grade students as senpai. Students in ninth grade and below would be kohai.

Fun Facts

           Japanese teenagers have been creating their own words and the new Japanese dictionaries contain five pages of these. This mostly involves shortening words or phrases. For instance kimochi ga warui which means disagreeable has been shortened to kimoi. And using the name of a business can mean inviting a friend to go there. For example, dotoru would be an invitation to visit a Doutour coffee shop, deniru takes you to Denny’s and makuru to McDonald’sread more 

 

Famous Places

             Mt. Fuji or Fujiyama is one of the most popular destinations in Japan for both Japanese and tourists. Japanese refer to Fujiyama as The Holy Mountain and its name indicates everlasting life.

Kyoto is a city noted for its historical sites.  Over fifteen of these have been classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Kamakura, a town close to Tokyo, is the home of the famous Great Buddha, a 44 foot high bronze statue weighing 100 tons. At one time it sat in a wooden temple however when a massive tsunami ravaged Kamakura in 1945 the temple washed out into the ocean so now the statue sits out in the open air.

Important Note: This article was written by a person who is familiar with Japanese culture based on his or her personal anecdotal observations. Additionally, there are quite a few generalizations to make the article easier to understand for the children. Dino Lingo does not accept any responsibility for errors, omissions or subjectivity in the content of this post.

We are wondering what you know about Japanese culture…Why don’t you tell us what you know by leaving a comment below? (make sure your comment is written in a language that can be understood by small children)

 

read more 

Polish culture for children – Polish Festivals and Holidays – Poland

DINOLINGO The most important holidays in Poland  are Christmas Eve and Easter. Christmas Eve, celebrated December 24th, is called Wigilia, and it celebrates the birth of Jesus. Traditionally, Poles put up a Christmas tree and decorate it with ornaments, stars, candy, and oranges, and presents are placed underneath it. The biggest meal of Christmas is eaten during Wigilia, and it contains no meat, but usually many fish dishes including carp and herring. The Christmas celebrations typically begin at the sighting of the first star in the sky (and the sun sets early in Poland in the winter, so the first star is usually seen around 3 p.m.), and families get together to eat and open presents. December 25th and 26th are considered the “second day of Christmas” and “third day of Christmas” and are celebrated with family get-togethers and holiday meals (this time containing meat). In many cities and villages, there is also usually a Christmas procession where people walk through the streets with candles, and end up in church to celebrate Mass.

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, and takes place on a Sunday in March or April. Easter is celebrated in Poland with the dyeing and painting of eggs (called pisanki) and an elaborate meal eaten with the family. A traditional cake called mazurek is made for Easter, and is a flat cake filled with chocolate or a caramel-like filling called kajmak. Common symbols of Easter are eggs, rabbits, and flowers.

The day after Easter is a children’s holiday called śmingus-dingus, in which children pour water on each other, often after planning an elaborate ambush or hiding out to surprise their siblings or friends with the water.

Another traditional holidays is All Saints’ Day (Dzień Wszystkich Świętych) on November 1, which celebrates the dead and people visit the graves of loved ones, leaving candles and flowers. In the evening, graveyards in Poland are lit up with candlelight and are eerily beautiful.

Polish lessons for kids

Italian Culture for Children – fun facts, food, music, language & Interesting facts about Italian Culture

Italian Food

Italian food is more than just Pasta and Pizza. Not only every region, but also, every small village has its own typical dishes, often made with ingredients that can be grown or found only in that area. From wild truffle sauce to wild pig salami sandwich, every little kiosk can be a pleasant surprise for your taste buds. Then, just when you thought the dinner was over, there is the Gelato (ice cream). Sold in cones or colourful tubs, you can get it to go, and for coffee, cappuccino and espresso coffee are just waiting for you on every street corner.
With such a wide variety of food, choosing is definitely the hardest part of any meal.
Just as the weather gets better from North to South, so do the pizza and gelato. The most authentic pizza can be eaten in Napoli were it was originally invented, while the tastiest gelato can be eaten in Sicily, even though, nowadays, Sicilian style ice- cream shops can be found everywhere.

Since the secret of Italian food is simplicity. When ordering pizza you should ask for a Margherita, this is only tomato and mozzarella. Even better is Buffalo mozzarella, which is a mozzarella made from the milk of buffalo, that only live in the South) When ordering a gelato just go for chocolate, cream, and seasonal fruit flavours. If the gelato maker (gelataio)  is good,  it doesn’t get any better than this.

ITALIANCULTURE-10-3

 Italian Clothes. Italian Fashion

In Italy, each region has a traditional costume, however, nowadays, people only wear traditional costume during special celebrations (these are often agricultural festivals such as the end of the harvest season) and historical parades.
Traditionally a woman’s costume consists of a long, wide dress, which must cover her ankles. This is worn with a tight bodice and a short a small waistcoat. Women usually wear a cap or a veil too. The fabric used and also the colour of the bodice and dress may denote the region she is from and also her status. Costumes made of silk were very common in Lombardia where the silk industry has flourished since the 16th Century. In the South, costumes were made out of wool or orbace as it is called in Sardinia.

Traditional men´s costumes were less elaborate.Usually consisting of tight pants tucked inside long boots. Obviously, white trousers dirtied easily and were, in the past, difficult to clean, so white pants were worn only on special days when farmers did not work, or worn by more affluent men who did not work on the land. They also wore a shirt with a tight waistcoat, often a vest or a jacket and a hat. The shape of the hat depended on the region. In the North people wore harder, more rigid hats, whereas, in the South, people wore a softer one such as a berretta.

Nowadays, however people dress much more casually.
Italy is famous all around the world for its fashion and style and tourists from all over come to shop and visit famous boutiques in Rome and Milan (such as Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Armani and many others). Fashion is not just a hobby for wealthy people since you can find some great clothes at street markets too. Sometimes real treasures can be found among the vendors of Porta Portese, a Sunday street market in Rome or La Montagnola (the Friday/ Saturday street market in Bologna) Also, these days, many second hand shops specialize in vintage clothing.

Italian Festivals, Holidays and Celebrations

In Italy every village has its own little festival, often related to the typical food of the region, but the most well known are, probably the Truffles Festival of Alba and the Chocolate Festival of Turin (where Nutella was born) and Perugia (where Baci Perugina were invented).
Aside from food festivals, others very famous Italian celebrations include the Carnevale di Venezia (Venice Carnival) and the Palio di Siena. The Carnevale di Venezia is a weeklong event that harks back to the time of the renaissance, stirring memories of a long gone era.

Couples dressed in silk and lace and wearing masks, walk around the streets of the old town and through the squares (in Venetian dialect calli and campi) and pose in the most magical corner of the city for the pleasure of both tourists and professional photographers that come from all over the world just to take home some incredible shot.
The Palio di Siena is a horse race that dates back to the Middle Ages and it is still run following the ancient rules and traditions. Every horse in the race represents one of the downtown quarters and competition is fierce.  The jockeys ride bareback around the main city square. Many of them fall off, however, since in this race all the attention is on the horse, even a horse with no jockey ( cavallo scosso) can bring its quarter to victory.

ITALIAN CULTURE
Famous Italian Stories or Epics

Italy is full of history so every battlefield, castle, city tower and stone, basically carries its own story or some very peculiar legend. A very famous one is the legend of Azzurrina (the little blue one), the daughter of the Rossena Castle porter. She was called Azzurina because of her odd features: she was a beautiful little girl with exceptionally fair skin and long, blue hair. Because of her strange hair colour none of the other kids wanted to play with her, so she was often seen playing alone in the shadow of the castle courtyard. One day a sudden and heavy summer storm hit the valley and from that day she disappeared. All the castle was in despair because she was such a sweet little child that nobody could help but love her, and her parents spent the rest of their lives looking for her everywhere. They often asked the merchants that travelled the main road for news. Still today, when a summer storm puts an end to the warmest summer days, some people can still hear the sound of a child laughing and playing around the castle courtyard.

Italian Children’s Games

 

When I was in kindergarten, we played 1-2-3- stella (1-2-3-star) a very simple game that keep us entertained for hours at a time. One person is ‘it’ and has to stand facing a wall with his/her eyes closed and ‘it’ says out loud ´1-2-3- stella´. In the mean time all the other kids have to stand away from the wall (5 meters away was usually the starting point) and move quickly towards it, while ‘it’ is counting. Once the word ‘stella’ was said, ‘it’ could turn and open their eyes while the other kids had to stop and stand still in whatever position they were in when ‘it’ said ‘stella’ and turned. Anyone who couldn’t stand still had to go back to the starting point. The game ends when someone can touch the wall.
He/she is the winner.

Verbal and Nonverbal Communication in Italy

In Italy people talk as much with their hands as they do with their mouth. Many foreigners find that very charming and a bit funny, however it is true that Italian cannot fully express themselves without gestures.
This makes every conversation very theatrical and fun to watch.
When your hands move so much, you end up invading other people’s personal, hence, in Italian culture, as in many other Mediterranean cultures, people tend to maintain a short physical distance and touching each other (hands on shoulders, pats on the back) is pretty common even among people that barely know each other. Even greetings among strangers became a kissing affair and, the number of kisses on the cheek that make a greeting proper changes moving from the North (just one kiss or even just one shake of the hand among man who meet for the first time) to the South, where there might be 3 or 4 kisses on the cheek even between people who barely know each other.

Italian Values

 

Still nowadays, most Italian people consider themselves Catholics so Italy is full of old and, sometimes, new Catholics churches. The most important is, of course, the church of St. Peters, where the Pope lives and the body of St. Peter is supposedly buried.
In general Italian people are very close to their family and they often don’t leave their parent’s house until they are about 30 years old. Up to 40 years ago, people were actually only leaving home when they got married, but today things are different and once they graduate from high school or University, many young people move to another city (often a bigger city in the North such as Bologna, Milano or Torino) looking for better working or studying opportunities.

However, even when the kids have left, the mothers don’t stop cooking for them and a few times a year a package full of traditional homemade food will appear on the doorstep of a kid who is living too faraway to be able enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch every week.

Italian Fun Facts


Many Italian are highly superstitious so they try to spend the day in bed when Friday 17th comes around. They will change their path if a black cat crosses them, they never walk under a ladder and, when they spill salt, they throw a handful of it over their left shoulder using their right hand so to scare the little demon that stands behind them.Unlike many other cultures, for Italians the number 13 is a very lucky number and some people always wear a charm in the shape of a number 13, often paired with a little red corn (very similar to a red chili pepper). Golden charms like these are considered lucky and they are often given to young children as a present on the day of their baptism. Even though superstition is slowing disappearing, many people try not to sit 12 guests around their table (13 people at the table with the host) and, when this is unavoidable, they prepare the table for 14 anyway so to not have the night ruin by some unfortunate events they brought on themselves. 

Famous Places
Since Italy is full of history, almost every city has at least one famous place, so any travellers could choose for themselves where to go next. However, as a start, everyone should visit Rome at least once.
Rome, the capital of one of the most famous ancient empires can be considered a huge open-air museum.
Florence is the place where The Renaissance reached its highest peak of beauty and culture.
Venice, probably the most beautiful and romantic city in the world was once also one of the world’s most important trading cities.
Examples of Italian arts such as paintings and statues can, nowadays, be admired in many museum of the world, but nothing beats the magic of seeing a Michelangelo or a Leonardo Da Vinci in their place of origin, walking in the city where the artist lived and breathing the air that they breathed.

Italian Words

Learn simple words in Italian http://dinolingo.com/games/see-and-say-game/italian/animals.html

Test your Italian vocabulary http://dinolingo.com/games/quiz-game/italian.html

Beginner Italian memory game http://dinolingo.com/games/memory-game/italian.html

When in Rome: Beautiful Must -See Places of Rome.
The Pantheon
The Pantheon is a temple/church in Rome. It is absolutely beautiful and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every month. The original Pantheon was built in 27 BC-25 BC under the Roman Empire, during the third consulship of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, and his name is inscribed on the portico of the building. The inscription reads, M·AGRIPPA·L·F·COS·TERTIUM·FECIT, “Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, consul for the third time, built this.”

The building is circular with a portico of three ranks of granite Corinthian columns under a pediment opening into the rotunda, under a concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus), the Great Eye, open to the sky. The weight of the dome is concentrated on a ring of voussoirs 8.5 metres in diameter (almost 30 feet), which form the oculus. A rectangular structure links the portico with the rotunda. In the walls at the back of the portico were different sections for statues of Caesar, Augustus and Agrippa. The large bronze doors to the cella, once plated with gold, still remain, but the gold has gone. The pediment was decorated with a sculpture in bronze showing the Battle of the Titans, holes can still be seen where the clamps, which held the sculpture in place were fixed. It is adorned with paintings, and a garden.

Roman Colosseum.
The Colosseum’s name has long been thought to be derived from a colossus (a 130-foot or 40-metre statue) of Nero close by. The statue was later remodeled by Nero’s successors into the likeness of Sol or Apollo, the sun god, by adding the appropriate solar crown. Nero’s head was replaced several times by the head of succeeding emperors. At some time during the Middle Ages, the statue disappeared; people believe that since the statue was bronze, it was melted down for usage of other things. Evidence of its base may be found between the Colosseum and the nearby Temple of Roma and Venus.
The Coloseum is an arena, a huge and vast space of masonry walls and can be seen miles away because of its height and width. The Colosseum measures 48 meters high, 188 meters long, and 156 meters wide. There are 80 arches on each of the first three levels, making 240. The wooden arena floor was 86 meters by 54 meters, and covered by sand. Its elliptical shape kept the players from retreating to a corner, and allowed the spectators to be closer to the action than a circle would allow. Over 100,000 cubic meters of travertine stone was used in its construction.

Many plays and fights were viewed in this area.

The Temple of Venus and Rome 
This is the largest temple in Ancient Rome. It is located at the far east side of the Forum Romanum, near the Colosseum. It was dedicated to the goddesses Venus Felix (Venus the Bringer of Good Fortune) and Roma Aeterna (Eternal Rome). The designer was emperor Hadrian. Construction on the temple began in 121AD.
It was officially inaugurated by Hadrian in 135AD but the building wasn’t actually finished until 141AD under Antoninus Pius.
The building measured 110m in length and 53m in width. It was placed on a stage measuring 145m in length and 100m in width. The temple is made up of two main chambers (cellae), where the cult statue of the god was, in this case the statues of Venus, the goddess of love, and Roma, the goddess of Rome, both of them seated on a throne. The cellae were placed symmetrically back-to-back. Roma’s cella faced west, looking out over the Forum Romanum, Venus’ cella faced east, looking out over the Colosseum.

Pastiera di maccheroni AND MORE!!! Fun and Fast Italian Recipes for Kids
Pastiera di maccheroni
Ingredients: 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped, 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped, 9 ounces pancetta, cubed, 18 ounces ground pork, 2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary, 1 x 14 ounce can cherry tomatoes, Salt and pepper to taste, 2 3/4 cups (11 ounces) penne rigate, 4 large eggs, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Follow these steps …….
-In a large saucepan, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and sauté the onion and carrot for 5 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
-Add the pancetta with the ground pork and rosemary and cook, stirring continuously, until browned all over, about 5 minutes.
-Pour in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool to room temperature.
-Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and add to the meat sauce. Stir well and let cool.
-Preheat the oven to 350°F.
-Break the eggs into the pan of cooled pasta and sauce, then add the grated Parmesan. Mix together.
-Brush the remaining oil over the side and base of an 8 1/2-inch round nonstick baking dish with sides about 2 inches deep. Pour in the pasta mixture and spread out evenly.
-Cook in the center of the preheated oven for 20 minutes until crispy and set.
-Once cooked, let rest for 5 minute–it will be easier to cut and serve, as the layers will hold together. VOILA!!!!

Turkey Sausage & Tortellini in Creamy Tomato Basil Sauce
Ingredients: 1 pound Italian-style turkey sausage, casing removed, 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free), 1/2 cup water,1 can (about 14.5 ounces) diced, un-drained tomatoes, 1 pound frozen cheese-filled tortellini, 2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:
-Cook the sausage in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it’s well browned, stirring often to break up the meat.
-Pour off any fat. Stir the soup, water, tomatoes and tortellini in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes or until the tortellini is tender.
-Stir in the basil and serve with the cheese, if desired.

Arugula Pesto, Ricotta, and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza
Ingredients: Cornmeal, for dusting, 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese, 1 packed cup (1 ounce) arugula, Flour, for dusting, 1 (1-pound) ball store-bought pizza dough, Olive oil, for drizzling, 2 plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
How To:
-In a food processor, blend the ricotta, garlic, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add the smoked mozzarella and arugula. Pulse until just combined but still chunky.
-On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 14-inch circle, 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Spread the ricotta mixture on top, leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange the tomato slices on top and drizzle with olive oil.

Mama Mia! Homemade Italian Pizza Recipe for Parents to have fun with their Kids (Mama Mia part 2)
Ingredients: 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, divided 1/2 cup water (105 F to 115 F), 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can whole canned tomatoes, un-drained 1 medium onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves, crushed 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 small red bell pepper, cored and seeded 1/2 small green bell pepper, cored and seeded 4 fresh medium mushrooms, 1 3/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese , 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese , 1/3 cup sliced black olives, 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
Directions: -To proof yeast, sprinkle yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar over warm water in small bowl; stir until yeast is dissolved.
– Let stand 15 minutes or until mixture is bubbly.  (If yeast does not bubble, it is no longer active. Always check expiration date on yeast packet. Also, water that is too hot will kill the yeast; it is best to use a thermometer.)
- Place 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/4 tsp salt in medium bowl; stir in yeast mixture and 1 tbsp. oil, stirring until a smooth, soft dough forms.
- Place dough on lightly floured surface; flatten slightly.
- To knead dough, fold dough in half toward you and press dough away from you with heels of hands.
- Give dough a 1/4 turn and continue folding, pushing and turning.
- Continue kneading, using as much of the remaining flour as needed to form a stiff, elastic dough.
- Shape dough into a ball; place in a large greased bowl.
- Turn to grease entire surface.  Cover with clean kitchen towel and let dough rise in warm place 30 to 45 minutes until doubled in bulk.
- Press 2 fingertips about 1/2 inch into dough.  Dough is ready if indentations remain when fingers are removed.
- For sauce, finely chop tomatoes in can w/knife, reserving juice.
-Heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook 5 minutes or until soft.  Add garlic; cook 30 seconds more.  Add tomatoes and juice, tomato paste, oregano, basil, remaining 1/2 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt and black pepper
-Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Pour into small bowl; cool.
-Punch dough down. Knead briefly (as described in step 3) on lightly floured surface to distribute air bubbles; let dough stand 5 minutes more.
-Flatten dough into circle on lightly floured surface.  Roll out dough, starting at center and rolling to edges, into 10-inch circle.  Place circle in greased 12-inch pizza pan; stretch and pat dough out to edges of pan. Cover and let stand 15minutes.
-Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Cut bell peppers into 3/4-inch pieces. Wipe mushrooms clean w/damp kitchen towel and thinly slice (trim stems if desired).
-Mix mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses in small bowl. Spread sauce evenly over pizza dough.
-Sprinkle with 2/3 cheeses.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
-Then remove from oven and raise oven temp to 400°F (200°C).
- Arrange bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, and chicken on top of pizza. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, and bake at new oven temp for a further 10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted, and looks done.

Mama Mia!!! What you didn’t know about Pizza…….
No trace can be found of the inventor of pizza, because it was considered a meal for peasants in Italy. No person of higher rank would be caught eating it. Over centuries, it quickly became a household favorite comfort food.
Food historians have come to a unanimous decision that pizza- like dishes were eaten by many people in the Mediterranean including the Greeks and Egyptians. To our pizza -loving readers, did you know that modern pizza has been attributed to the baker Raffaele Esposito of Naples? In 1889, Esposito who owned a restaurant called the Pizzeria di Pietro baked what he called “pizza” especially for the visit of Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita. Gennaro Lombardi at 53rd and 3rd Spring Street in New York City in the United States of America opened the very first pizza shop here in 1905.
Why is pizza round? Actually, a lot of pizza comes in squares, but to save space, people would make pizza round so that it could fit into a box without compromising the actual food. Americans eat approximately 350 slices of pizza per second. And 36 percent of those pizza slices are pepperoni slices, making pepperoni the number one choice among pizza toppings in the United States. That’s a lot of pizza!!!

From the Electronic Battery to Buffalo Wings, Italian Inventors and Crazy Things!!!
Buffalo Chicken Wings——— Teressa Bellissimo———– 1964
Electric Battery————– Alessandro Volta———— 1800
Jacuzzi————— ——- Jacuzzi Brothers—————1968
Ice Cream Cone————— Italo Marcioni————–1896
Pretzels——————- Italian Monks————— Circa 610 AD
Thermometer————– Galileo Galilei—————-1593
Wheel Lock————– Leonardo da Vinci———–16th century
Telephone————— Antonio Meucci————–1871
Piano—————— Bartolomeo Cristofori—————-1709
Big Mac————— Jim Delligatti——————-1976
Catapult————— Dionysius the Elder of Syracuse————399 B.C.
Eyeglasses———— Salvino D’Armate————-1268-1264
Radio——————- Nikola Tesla———-1895
Scissors———- N/A———-1500 B.C.
Yo-Yo———— Romans——–N/A
Liposuction——— Dr. Giorgio Fischer——–1974
Cursive Handwriting Aldus Manutius——-N/A
Ambulance—— Mountain Troops——-1872
Carbon Paper—— Pellegrino Turri——–1806
20 Helicopter ——— Enrico Forlanini——–1877

Popular Children’s Literature of Italy
Aesop’s Fables (Dover Children’s Thrift Classics):
(Author- Aesop, Pat Stewart) Ages 4 to 8
-          The Adventures of Pinocchio: The Story of a Puppet.
(Author- Carlo Collodi, Iassen Ghiuselev)  Ages 9 to 12
-          Pompeii.
(Author- Peter Connolly) Ages 9 to 12
-          The Buried City of Pompeii: What It Was Like When Vesuvius Exploded (I Was There)
(Author: Shelley Tanaka, Greg Ruhl)
Ages  9 to 12
-          Vulca the Etruscan (Journey Through Time Series)
(Author: Roberta Angeletti, Beatrice Masini) Ages 8 to 12
-          Leonardo and the Flying Boy.
(Author: Laurence Anholt) Ages 8 to 14
-          Bravo, Zan Angelo!: A Commedia Dell’Arte Tale With Story & Picture.
(Author: Niki Daly) Age 10+
-          The Legend of Old Befana.
(Author: Tomie De Paola) Ages 4 to 10
-           Big Anthony: His Story.
(Author: Tomie De Paola) Ages 4 to 8
-          Opera Cat.
(Author: Tess Weaver, Andrea Wesson) Ages 4 to 8

Historical Figures of Italy: Painters, Hero’s, and More, for kids!!!
Donatello:
Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi) was born in 1386 and died on December 13, 1466. He was a famous sculptor and artist in Florence in the Early Renaissance period. Famous statues include Gattamelata, and David.
Columbus: 
Cristoforo Columbo (Christopher Columbus) was born in 1451 and died May 20, 1506. He was an explorer and trader who sailed to America, reaching it on October 12, 1492. His discovery initiated the colonization of the Americas.
Michelangelo:
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born March 6, 1475 and died February 18, 1564. Michael Angelo was a Renaissance sculptor, architect, painter and poet. Angelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, sculpted the famous David and Pieta, and designed the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Galileo:
Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer, astrologer, physicist, and philosopher closely associated with the scientific revolution. Galileo was born February 15, 1564 and died January 8, 1642. Galileo improved the telescope, observed various aspects of astronomy, developed the first and second laws of motion, and found proof to support Copernicanism. The conflict Galileo experienced with the Roman Catholic Church is seen as an example of the freedom of thought conflict.
Versace:
Gianni Versace created the Italian clothing business known as Versace in 1978. Donatella Versace with Santo Versace as CEO now heads “Versace”. As one of the world’s leading international fashion houses, Versace designs, markets and distributes luxury clothing, accessories, and fragrances, make up and home furnishings.
Roman Centurion:
Originally term for an officer commanding one hundred soldiers. As the rank developed several degrees of elevation, so did the number of men under the centurion’s command. These officers were chosen for their intelligence and courage in battle. They were expected to lead the charge as an example.
Niccolo Machiavelli: 
A highly placed bureaucrat and diplomat in the Florentine republic, whose writings over a wide range of topics gave us a penetrating view into renaissance culture and politics. For almost five hundred years, men in high places have been influenced and encouraged to follow his outline for power, as stated in his book Il Principe (The Prince), based somewhat on his familiarity with the notorious César Borgia.
Emperor Nero:
From 54 to 68 AD. Adopted by Emperor Claudius, he succeeded him upon his death. His reign was characterized by extravagance and tyranny. Morally weak and extremely sensual, he was guilty of many murders, including his own wife’s. He was accused of allowing the fire that destroyed two-thirds of Rome to burn. Nero escaped being overthrown by committing suicide.
Pope Alexander VI: 
A member of a dynasty of Spanish popes, he was seen as one of the “seven bad popes,” but he was no better or worse than others of his time. He bought his election to the papacy, practiced nepotism with his large family, and tried to strengthen the papacy through conquest of central Italy.
Cesare Borgia:
He was Machiavelli’s model for his ideal ruler, “The Prince.” He was very passionate about revenge and avenging murders.

 

Girls
ADRIANA: Feminine form of Latin Adrianus, Spanish Adrián, and Italian Adriano, all meaning “from Hadria.”
ALLEGRA: Italian name meaning “cheerful and lively.”
ANJELICA: Variant spelling of Italian Angelica, meaning “angelic.”
ELISABETTA: Italian form of Greek Elisabet, meaning “God is my oath.”
GABRIELLA: Feminine form of Italian Gabriele, meaning “man of God” or “warrior of God.”
GIOVANNA: Feminine form of Italian Giovanni, meaning “God is gracious.”
BALBINA: Little stammerer or stutterer, Also the name of a Catholic saint and early Roman martyr
ARIETTA:Small melody sung by a soloist; variant of Aria
CARMELA: Garden, orchard, vineyard; Mount Carmel in Israel is considered a paradise.
DONNALEE: Lady; from the respectful title Donna

Boys
ARSENIO: Italian and Spanish form of Latin Arsenius, meaning “virile.”
BERNARDINO: Pet form of Italian Bernardo, meaning “bold as a bear.”
CLEMENTE: Italian, Portuguese and Spanish form of Latin Clementius, meaning “gentle and merciful.”
DORIANO: Italian form of Latin Dorianus, meaning “of the Dorian tribe.”
ELIA: Italian form of Hebrew Eliyah, meaning “the Lord is my God.”
EMILIANO: Italian and Spanish form of Latin Æmilianus, meaning “rival.”
GERVASIO: Italian, Portuguese and Spanish form of Latin Gervasius, meaning “spear servant.”
GUIDO: Italian name derived from medieval Latin Wido, meaning “wide.”
JOVANNI: Italian form of Latin Johannes, meaning “God is gracious.”
LEONARDO: Italian, Portuguese and Spanish form of German Leonhard, meaning “lion-strong.”

italian lessons for kids

 

Arabic Culture for Children– fun facts, food, music, language & more

Food:

Arabic food is one of the most flavorful cuisines of the world. With a heavy Mediterranean influence, olives, dry fruits (like pine nuts, cashews, pistachios and dates), cheese and other milk products are a big part of many Arabic dishes.

Hummus is a popular side dish made of chickpeas eaten with pita bread called khubus. Baba Ghanush or Mutabbal is the same as hummus but with an added flavor of smoked eggplant.  Felafels are also fried chickpea dumplings that taste great with hummus. Chicken and lamb are the most popular forms of meat eaten by Arabs. Shawarma, a lean pita wrap filled with skewered meat pieces is an all-time favorite snack amongst the Arabs. Kebabs, rotisserie grilled whole chicken are some of the other main Arabic dishes that usually go well with rice and tomato puree. Flat breads called fatayar filled with choice of lebna (yogurt), zaater (oregano), jiben (cheese), dijaj (chicken) or leham (lamb) make a great meal. Arabs believe in eating their greens especially in the form of salad called tabouleh (similar to greek salad).

No cuisine is complete without sweets. Bakhlawa, a kind of pastry filled with layers of dry fruit and sweetened milk is a worldwide hit. Kenafa is also a special kind of fried pastry with baked cheese where as Umm Ali is a delicious Arabic bread pudding. Arabs are shaay (tea) and kahwa (coffee) drinkers and take one or the other after almost every meal throughout the day.

Clothes: 

Arab men usually wear a white (or brown or grey) one-piece cotton garment called the disdasha or thobe and a head cover known as the ghutra or smagh supported by a black ring namely the igal. Bisht is a long over coat worn over the disdasha on special occasions like weddings.

Arab women are traditionally dressed in an abaya, a simple long black maxi like dress with a headscarf called the hijab and sometimes even a face cover called the burkha or niqab. Mostly western gowns are worn for weddings. Most women like to dress up in bright colors with a lot of gold jewelry and shimmer. Children are usually seen wearing western outfits.

Festivals, holidays, Celebrations:

Eid is the biggest holiday celebration in the Arabic culture. It is the Arabic New Year that is celebrated with lots of food, sweets, exchange of gifts and shopping.

The holy month of Ramadan is celebrated by fasting without food and water all day for the entire month. During this time of the year businesses and shops remain closed all day and open in the evenings until after mid-night.

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 Famous Stories or Epics:

Aladdin and the Magic Lamp is one of the most famous folk tales of the Arab world. It is a story of a boy named Aladdin who comes across a magic lamp and is granted all his wishes by the genie, or Slave of the Lamp, that lives within. From food to a lovely palace and the King’s beautiful daughter as his bride, all of Aladdin’s wishes come true and finally he defeats the evil wizard and lives happily ever after. This story is a part of the Arabian Nights series.

Children’s Game:

Mancala is believed to be the oldest board game that is played using colored marbles or beads. It is played with six playing pits and one scoring pit. You begin with three marbles in each pit. The object of the game is to place all of your marbles in the scoring pit and capture your opponent’s marbles. It is an entertaining game played by children and families in the Arab world.

Verbal or nonverbal communication:

Arabs usually greet each other verbally with Salaam Alikum. Cheek-to-cheek kissing is a normal gesture of non-verbal greeting amongst friends of the same gender. Arab men and women usually maintain distance and do not display affection in public. However, style of greeting and communication varies from one Arab country to another.

Values:

Arab families like in many other cultures live together in one house. They are usually big sized families with many children. Arabs are known to be religious and God fearing people. They are warm and hospitable people who look after their guests very well.

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Fun facts:

World famous form of dance, belly dancing, originated in the Arab world. It is mostly performed by Arab women and involves movement of mainly the shoulders, belly and hips. One has to be quite flexible to perform belly dance. Women dress up in a special costume with a waist or belly chain for this dance.

Famous places:

One of the Seven Wonders of the World, The Egyptian Pyramids, are a must visit. They are the oldest and the most impressive tombs of the Pharaohs (rulers) of Egypt. Some of the biggest pyramids are found in Giza, Egypt.

Dubai is one of the most popular Arabian cities in the world. It’s known for it’s amazing architecture with the world’s only seven star hotel called Burj Al Arab situated here. Dubai is often called the land of opportunities. Many foreign immigrants live here. It is a great shopping and tourist destination.

Hand crafts

Arabs are known for their art and handicrafts. Hand woven Persian Silk rugs and carpets are world famous. Arabic furniture, antique jewelry, tea/coffee pots, calligraphic (a style of fancy lettering) wall art and incense burners (for fragrance) are examples of beautiful Arabic home décor items. Arabic henna is also a popular kind of tattoo body art mainly applied to hands in many designs.

Important Note: This article was written by a person who is familiar with Arabic culture based on his or her personal anecdotal observations. Additionally, there are quite a few generalizations to make the article easier to understand for the children. Dino Lingo does not accept any responsibility for errors, omissions or subjectivity in the content of this post.

We are wondering what you know about Arabic culture…Why don’t you tell us what you know by leaving a comment below? (make sure your comment is written in a language that can be understood by small children)

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Turkish Culture for Children– fun facts, clothes

Clothes

Just like any other developed country, modern Turks wear casual dresses in Western style. Traditionally though, Turkish clothes were similar to dresses in Caucasia and were made by cotton, silk and wool because of relatively cooler climate. The areas Turks lived in throughout the history are close to Silk Road, so this might also have contributed to the clothing culture. During the Ottoman Empire, some women wore “ferace” (gray or black one-piece fabric that covers most of the body) and some men wore “shalvar” (loose pants) and different headdresses based on their social status. The sultans had large white silk sash wound over the head and decorated with rubies and feathers called “kavuk”. There are local costumes that are mostly worn during the festivals and celebrations.

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French Culture for Children– fun facts, food, music, language & more

French Food

French restaurants are famous in all over the world for being elegant and expensive, but that is only a stereotype. In reality, in France, you can eat very well without spending a fortune. Just bread (baguettes have been invented there, hello!) is fantastic and super tasty even though it is made only with flour, water and a bit of salt.

France is the birthplace of crepes; on almost every street corner you will be able to find a small kiosk serving crepes. There are savoury crepes (with cheese and ham) or sweet ones (with chocolate cream, marmalade or just a bit of sugar). The smell in the air around those shops is so good that it’s difficult to pass by without stopping to get a bite.

France is the country of cheese and wine. Every little village produces its own wine and cheese and many are excellent. It will probably take a lifetime just to try all of them, but some people could say that that is a life worth living. A couple of the most famous French dishes are, ratatui  (ratatouille), a mix of garden vegetable such as zucchini, pepper, eggplants (made famous by the latest Disney cartoon) and French onion soup, a very tasty soup made from onion, bread and melted cheese.

FRENCHCULTURE-8-5

French Clothing

In France there is no national dress, but there are many traditional costumes that were inspired by the garments of people from the countryside. These are often worn during holidays and religious celebrations.  France has many regions (22), each with their own traditional dress.
Those costumes can be very different from one region to another. Women’s hats in particular vary greatly, from small straw hats to huge starched lace veils very similar to something a bride might wear. Women’s costumes mainly consist of a long, simple white dress with a wide, brightly coloured overdress, which may also be decorated. Over this is worn a lacy apron and a shawl that can be worn over the shoulders or across the chest. This is all topped off with a very complicated hairstyle.
Men´s costumes are much more simple, just trousers, shirt, jacket and a hat similar to ones worn by the local farmers on market day. The shirt is always white (made of silk or cotton depending on the person’s status) and the basic colour of the whole costume is a dark colour, such as blue, brown or black.

The 20th century brought a lot of change and very quickly the traditional dress fell out of use, only to be worn for special occasions such as performances, historical recreations or traditional music and dance shows.
Nowadays, everybody dresses much more casually. French fashion and style (together with the Italians) are famous all around the world and the names and addresses of the most important shopping centers in Paris (such as the Primtemps or Galerie Lafayette) are listed in all the city guides.

Still today, French fashion is signifies elegance and a high lifestyle and French brands (maison de mode) and designers (coutourier) such as Chanel, Yves St. Lauren and Lavin still dress royal families all across Europe.
Among these designers, one of the most famous is Coco Chanel, who, born in a small village in the countryside in 1883 created the brand Chanel, which, still today, epitomizes elegance and style. With her creations, she made women feel beautiful and comfortable, and she invented one of the world’s most famous perfumes, Chanel no. 5.
Fashion is not just a hobby for wealthy people and many quality pieces of clothing can be bought in the second hand markets (called Marché de pusses or Brick brack or Brocantes) open weekly or monthly in every city.

Festivals, holidays, celebrations in France

Beside Christmas and New Year’s Eve, one of the most important French holidays, especially for Parisians is the 14th of July. On this day, the French remember the event that began the French revolution. The event was the taking of the Bastille (14th July 1789). The Bastille was a very big prison in downtown Paris where political prisoners (mostly people that were opposing the king and his power) where kept. Following months of political crisis the citizens of Paris entered the Bastille and freed the prisoners. As mentioned, this is considered the beginning of the French revolution, a few months after this event King Louis XVI and the Queen, Maria Antoinette were arrested and the Republic was proclaimed. During this time the French national Song La Marseillaise (the song from Marseille) was composed and the motto ` Liberté, Fraternité and Egalité´ (Freedom, Brotherhood, Equality) become famous all around the world.
Still today, people have a party in the street to commemorate the event and a big parade is organized every year in Paris.

On the other hand, a much more Hollywood – style event takes place every year in the South of France: the Cannes Film Festival. For about a week, all the most important directors, actors and producers meet on la Croisette (the area of the city where the festival takes place) and present the new movies of the season. The winners get a small golden palm branch and become the person that every TV and magazine want to interview.

Famous French stories & epics

Among the most famous French legends we would like to remember those ones linked to a beautiful place situated in the Northern part of the country: Mont San Michel. This cliff over the Atlantic sea hosts a beautiful church dedicated to San Michel Angel. The difference between low and high tide in this region is so strong that every 6 hours the church gets completely isolated from the coast. So the place can be reached from the mainland only when the tide is low. It is a very unusual place to build a church, but the legends goes that, during the Middle Ages, a pregnant woman was taking advantage of the low tide for picking up mussels from the beach. Suddenly she went into labour. Incapable of moving, she began to pray to St. Michel Angel for help.

The water was rising but the Angel answered her prayer and she and the baby were saved. To remember this event a little altar was built where the miracle took place and many years later the bishop of Avranches financed the construction of the church that we can still visit today. However this decision was not a spontaneous one since the Angel appeared twice to the bishop in his dreams asking him to make a new church. Only when the Angel gave him some tangible and terrible sign of his power did the bishop agree to collect the money necessary for the work.

Another famous epic story known by all French is about 19 year-old Jeanne d’Arc (a.k.a. Jon D’arc) during the 100 Year wars. Because of her leadership and courage the French army won many wars but she eventually was captured by Burgundians and sadly burned alive in Roune, Normandy.

French Children’s games

A pretty common French outdoor game for children is `La semaine´(the week) that can be played by 2 or more children (but a kid can play it alone as well, especially if he/she wants to get better at it) with only the aid of a piece of charcoal and a stone.

With the charcoal the kids have to draw 7 squares (one following the other) on the ground naming them with the name of the day of the week.
Once that is done the first player throws the stone in the Monday box and if he misses it, it is the next player’s turn. If he/she throws on the correct square he/she has to hop on the square, pick up the stone, still standing on one foot, and jump back to the starting point.

The players have to do that at least 7 times (one for each square) and they have to go back to the beginning every time they make a mistake (for example they loose their balance and put their other foot down). The winner is the player that covers all squares and makes it back to the starting point.

 Verbal and nonverbal communication in France

In France greetings are a very important part of every social interaction. French people all shake hands with everybody they meet and they always do it twice, when they arrive and when they leave. Not doing so will be considered very impolite. On the other hand kissing on the cheeks is a standard greeting practice among family and friends. This can be done in private and in public meetings (called randez – vous) and the double kissing (one kiss per cheek) often starts on the right side.

French people are extremely proud of being French and they like to express some of their thoughts with some very typical gestures. Among them, the most common are the following:

  • ´very good´ (il est delicieux) : touch your fingers and thumb all together, kiss your fingertips, and then open your hand, as if tossing something in the air.
  • ´Í have finished´ (c´est fini) : cross your arms in front of your body, with your palms out, then move them out, while saying, “C’est fini.”
  • ´I promise it´(je le jure): place your hand on top of your head

For the same reason, French people are extremely protective over their language.

They don´t like to mix French with foreign words when they speak and they often translate them in a pretty funny way. For example the computer mouse, which is called mouse everywhere else in Europe, in France it became ´le souris´, which means mouse (the animal) in French. For the same reason, French radio cannot broadcast too much foreign music and a fixed ratio of French to foreign music has to be kept.

Music is not the only example. Their love for their country makes French people always choose French products over foreign ones even where kids’ entertainment is concerned. In fact, many families choose the Asterix and Obelix Village entertainment park (Asterix and Obelix are famous comics book characters created by a French author) over Euro Disney, even thought the two places are situated outside Paris and they are pretty close to each other.

French Values

French people open their hearts to foreigners only when they speak (or make an attempt to speak) their language. The French are very proud of being French and they cherish every part of their culture. Some people might say that the French always feel superior to everyone else since they think they have the best wine, the best cheese and the most beautiful women…

However, it is true that they appreciate their own comic books, their own heroes and their own music above everything else, and even though many differences exist between the history and the culture of each region, everyone considers themselves as French as everyone else.

They all share the same history and the same little rituals. On Sunday morning, they all walk with a newspaper and a large baguette under their arm.

When you see that, you can definitively be sure, you are in France

 

France Fun facts

As we were saying French cuisine is very famous all over the world, but not many people know that some of the ingredients of the most traditional foods are a bit unusual. In fact, in France, you can eat not only raw oyster, but also snails (not raw, but cooked) and rabbit. Moreover, one of the most famous French ingredients is the pate de fois gras, a creamy pâté made from the liver of an overfed duck. The pate de fois gras can be made and eaten in many different ways, and it is one of the traditional foods that people eat for Christmas Eve dinner.

In many homes, once the Christmas Eve dinner is finished and everybody goes to bed, the table is not tidied away, so if, during the night, the Holy family need to stop at the house for a short break they will get food and drinks for their trip.

For the same reason, back in the day, in many houses the fire was kept going all through Christmas night and this tradition inspired a very famous French Christmas cake the bùche de Noêl, which is nothing more than a very sweet version of a log waiting to be burned on the fire.

 

Famous places in France

Like Italy, France is full of history, so it is very difficult to choose which places to mention first. However, we cannot forget Paris, which is not only the capital and a very beautiful and extremely romantic city, but also the city of the Louvre, one of the most important museums in the world.

In the Louvre, people can admire beautiful examples of Roman and Greek art and many renaissance masterpieces such as Leonardo’s Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

An hour away from Paris, people can visit the Palace of Versailles built by Louis XI, who, in 1475, decide to build a palace to go to with his family every time he got tired of Paris and all his royal duties.

However, the king who made Versailles what it is today was Louis XIV. He decided to renovate the building and renew the gardens and he officially opened up the new residence with a huge weeklong party with a very intriguing theme, “ the pleasures of the enchanted island” (Les Plaisirs de l’Isle Enchantée ).

Moving South from Paris, we can find other very beautiful and important castles. The castles on the Loire Valley (Chateaux de la Loire) a complex of more than 300 castles that were built in the valley of the Loire River and transformed the area into a fairytale landscape that hosts thousands of visitors every year. Among those castles the most famous and the most visited are the Castel d´Amboise, Chaumont and Angers.

Important Note: This article was written by a person familiar with French culture based on his or her personal anecdotal observations. Additionally, there are quite a few generalizations to make the article easier to understand for the children. Dino Lingo does not accept any responsibility for errors, omissions or subjectivity in the content of this post.

French Words

Learn simple words in French http://dinolingo.com/games/see-and-say-game/french/animals.html

Test your French vocabulary http://dinolingo.com/games/quiz-game/french.html

Beginner French memory game http://dinolingo.com/games/memory-game/french.html

We are wondering what you know about French culture…why don’t you tell us what you know by leaving a comment below?

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French Culture for Children By DinoLingo Writer: Federica Galli
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More Quick Facts About France.

Geography and Nature

While France might look small compared to a country like Canada or the United States of America, it is the biggest country in the whole European Union. Also, France has a lot of land in other parts of the world, such as North America, South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Ocean. It might not be so bad to be the mayor of a town in the Caribbean, huh!

Population

France has the 20th largest population in the world, with about 65 million people. Almost 12 million of these people live in Paris alone, and the rest are spread out over the rest of the country.

 

Capital city & important cities

Paris is the capital of France, and it is also one of the most popular vacation spots in the world! Even though Paris is known for being a very expensive city to visit, it attracts about 45 million visitors each year! Some of the other major cities (and popular tourist spots) in Europe are Lyon, Marseille, and Nice (which sounds like this: “Nees”).

French Flag

The flag of France has a white stripe down the middle, with a blue stripe on one side   and a red stripe on the other. People who speak English usually call the French flag the “French tricolor” or even just “the tricolor.”

Food

French cuisine (which is the fancy way of saying “French food”) is considered to be some of the best food in the world! Food is a very important part of French life, and people come from all over the world to eat the French food. Some of France’s most famous foods are their wines and their cheeses, and their food has had a big influence on a lot of the food that Americans eat every day.

Music and Dance

France is known for being cultured (which is another way of saying that they are known for being fancy), and their long history of classical music is one of things that has come from this! France is one of the most important countries for classical music, and this has been a big part of their lifestyle for a long, long time.

Currency

For a long, long time the country of France used the franc for their money, but now they use the euro, which is the currency that almost all of Europe uses. The euro is the strongest currency in the whole world!

 

Basic French Words

 

French language

French is the only official language of France, and it is the language that almost everyone speaks, but there are some other languages that people speak as well. These are called “regional languages,” and they are languages that have been around in certain areas for a long, long time!

Common French Names, and their Meanings….Is it Yours?

- Stephanie: The name Stephanie is a girl’s name. Stephanie comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Stephanie is: The female version of the Greek name Stephan.

-Abella: The name Abella is a girl’s name. The name Abella comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Abella is: Breath.

-Julia: The name Julia is a girl’s name. The name Julia comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Julia is: Youthful.

-Nicole: The name Nicole is a girl’s name. The name Nicole comes from the French origin. In English the meaning of the name Nicole is: the feminine form of the boy name Nicholas.

-Madeline: The name Madeline is a girl’s name. The name Madeline comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Madeline is: Diminutive of Madeleine: Woman of Magdala Tower.
-Sydney: The name Sydney is a boy’s name. The name Sydney comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Sydney is: Variant of Sidney: From Saint-Denis (place name). This name has recently become popular for girls as well as boys.
-Avery:The name Avery is a boy’s name. The name Avery comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Avery is: Rules with self-wisdom.

-Tristan: The name Tristan is a boy’s name. The name Tristan comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Tristan is: Tumult, outcry. From the Celtic name Tristan. In Arthurian legend Tristan was a Knight of the Round Table and tragic hero of the medieval tale Tristan and Isolde.
-Aubrey: The name Aubrey is a boy’s name. The name Aubrey comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Aubrey is: Blond ruler, elf ruler. From the Old French Auberi, a form of the Old German Alberich meaning elf ruler.  Although once common as a boy’s name, today it is almost exclusively given to girls.
-Mason: The name Mason is a boy’s name. The name Mason comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Mason is: Stone worker.

Historical Figures of France: Kings, Queens and more

William the Conqueror’s actual French name is Guillaume le Conquérant, and he was the Duke of Normandy, a large area of northern France.  He is an historical figure of France because in 1066 he took his army across the Channel, and killed the English King, Harold, and most of the English nobles in the Battle of Hastings. He conquered England and put his Norman followers as leaders. His knights built strong castles like Dover, and his bishops built fine cathedrals like Canterbury. For 300 years, the King of England and all the important people in the country spoke only French. Today, English still has thousands of words which come from French.

Claude Monet is an artist, the leading member of the Impressionist painters. His most famous painting is the “Water-lilies” which he painted in an elaborate garden he had made for himself.

Claude-Achille Debussy was a French composer whose work is often linked with the Impressionist painters. He is famous for piano pieces such as “Children’s Corner” and his orchestral work “The Afternoon of a Faun” (“L’apès-midi d’une faune”).
Alexandre Dumas wrote the two historically known adventure classics “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”.
Victor Hugo credited for the Disney film and video “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. The original novel was written by Victor Hugo and is known in France as “Notre Dame de Paris”.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is the author of “Le Petit Prince” a well known French children’s book.
Napoléon Bonaparte was a famous French general who became Emperor of France in the aftermath of the French Revolution. Napoleon was responsible for introducing measures, which form the basis of many of France’s institutions that still exist today, including an educational law to set up state grammar schools (lycés), which aimed to provide well-trained army officers and civil servants. During Napoleon’s reign France was constantly at war. Napoleon built a huge empire, so that by 1812 he controlled the greater part of Western Europe. Eventually he was defeated when France was invaded by Russian, Prussian, Austrian and British armies. Finally, Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba. He managed to escape and ruled France again for just a hundred days before being defeated by Wellington at Waterloo. He was sent as a prisoner to St. Helena, where he died in 1821.
Louis Blériot is credited as the French airman who became the first person to fly the English Channel. On 25 July 1909 he flew from Calais to Dover in 37 minutes.
Louis Braille is credited for inventing the system of raised dots which form letters for the visually impaired to read. Louis was blinded in an accident at the age of 4. He was sent to one of the first schools for blind boys in Paris, where they were taught simple skills to help them earn a living without begging. Without being able to read, it was difficult for blind people to have much education. The system is now used everywhere in the world.
Ferdinand de Lesseps is credited for building the Suez Canal – regarded at the time as the world’s greatest engineering triumph, and tried but failed to build a Panama Canal.

Popular Children’s Books of France, Separated by Age Groups

Ages 1 to 4:

-          Adele la Sauterelle

-          Adrien le Lapin

-          Benjamin le Lutin

-          Camille la Chenille

-          Cesar le Lizard

Ages 5 to 8:

-          Caroline a la Ferme (Probst, Pierre)

-          Babar a la Fete de Celesteville (Author: Brunhoff, Jean De)

-          Les Amis de Martine a la Maison (Author: Marlier, Marcel)

-          N 01 Petzi Construit son Bateau (Author: Hansen, Carla Et Vilh.)

-          Tom-Tom et Nana # 1et L’impossible Nana (Author: n/a)

Ages 9 to 11:

-          Alice a la Reserve des Oiseaux (Author: Quine, Caroline)

-          Bagarres du Petit Nicolas – Histoires inedites vol 8 (Sempe-Goscinny)

-          Dernier Seigneur (Le)   (Author: Milan Poche Histoire)

-          Atchoum! (Author: Seuil Jeunesse)

-          Petit Prince- cassette (version originale) (Author: Saint-Exupery, Antoine De)

Ages 12+

-          Hana Yori Dango t. 1 (Author: Kamio)

-          Harry Potter a l’ecole des Sorciers (Author: Rowling, J.K.)

-          Louison et M. Moliere (Author: Andersen, Hans Christian)

-          Je Suis un Garcon (Author: Arnaud, Cathrine)

-          Belle et la Bete (La) (Author: Folio Cadet)

French Inventions for Kids

  • AQUALUNG:Breathing apparatus that supplies oxygen to divers and allows them to stay underwater for several hours. Jacques-Yves Cousteau invented it in 1943.
  • BAROMETER:A device that measures air (barometric) pressure. It measures the weight of the column of air that extends from the instrument to the top of the atmosphere. There are two types of barometers commonly used today, mercury and aneroid (meaning “fluid less”). Earlier water barometers (also known as “storm glasses”) date from the 17th century. The Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli invented the mercury barometer.
  • BATTERY:A device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Each battery has two electrodes, an anode (the positive end) and a cathode (the negative end). An electrical circuit runs between these two electrodes, going through a chemical called an electrolyte (which can be either liquid or solid). This unit consisting of two electrodes is called a cell (often called a voltaic cell or pile). Alessandro Volta invented it.
  • BICYCLE:A wooden scooter-like contraption called a celerifere. Comte Mede de Sivrac of France invented it in about 1790.
  • ELECTRIC IRON:The electric iron was invented in 1882 by Henry W. Seeley
  • MAYONNAISE:Invented in France hundreds of years ago, probably in 1756 by the French chef working for the Duke de Richelieu, The first ready-made mayonnaise was sold in the US in 1905 at Richard Hellman’s deli in New York.
  • METER (and the METRIC SYSTEM):Invented in France. In 1790, the French National Assembly directed the Academy of Sciences of Paris to standardize the units of measurement. A committee from the Academy used a decimal system and defined the meter to be one 10-millionths of the distance from the equator to the Earth’s Pole (that is, the Earth’s circumference would be equal to 40 million meters). The committee included the mathematicians Jean Charles de Borda (1733-1799), Joseph-Louis Comte de Lagrange (1736-1813), Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827), Gaspard Monge (1746 -1818), and Marie Jean Antoine Nicholas Caritat, the Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794).
  • PENCIL:  Invented in 1564 when a huge graphite (black carbon) mine was discovered in England. The pure graphite was sawn into sheets and then cut into square rods. The graphite rods were inserted into hand-carved wooden holders, forming pencils
  • Free online French language games for kids

Check out Dino Lingo French for kids French for kids, DVDs, songs, books, flashcards, French alphabet posters

Some French phrases and words

 

Hispanic Culture for Children– fun facts, food, music, language & more

Hispania was the old name for the area of Spain, Portugal, Andorra and a little bit of France.  Today’s Hispanic cultures are those which were once ruled by the Spanish Empire.  This includes Spain, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Food

Each Hispanic country has famous local dishes but there are a few that are recognized around the world. Some of these don’t even require cooking.  In ceviche fish is covered in lemon or lime juice and the acid in the juice makes it ready to eat.  Gazpacho is a soup originally from Spain and is made from raw tomatoes and other vegetables.  Usually gazpacho is eaten in warm weather to help everyone cool down.  Cebollita is a dish of pickled onions from Nicaragua served on the side of meals.

Of course there are also foods that must be cooked!  Stuffed poblanos are a kind of chili pepper stuffed with black beans and cheese.  Tamales, a meal made from masa (a corn-based dough) stuffed with meats, cheeses, vegetables and chili peppers, is cooked in leaves.  Flan, a kind of Spanish custard made with caramel and vanilla, is a popular Hispanic dessert.

Clothes

Traditional Hispanic clothing is brightly colored.  It was almost always made of woven fabrics, sometimes with patterns woven right into it.  Wealthy people were able to make their clothes from silks and satins, and some men wore capes on their shoulders and sashes like belts.  Sometimes wealthy people even used gold and silver thread in their clothes.

Modern Hispanic clothing is like clothing worn all over the West.  Men prefer trousers and shorts, while women may wear these as well as skirts and dresses.  Hispanic clothing is still considered colorful and decorative.  Ruffles, on skirts, sleeves, even socks, are a common in women’s clothing.  Hispanics often “dress to impress” and like to wear clean, well made clothing.

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Festivals, Holidays, Celebrations

Most people in Hispanic countries are Catholic so the biggest holidays are religious.  Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus and is spent with family.  Christmas Eve is called “nochebuena” (“good night”) and ends with a Misa de Galla, or Midnight Mass.  The poinsettia flower is typically associated with Christmas in Hispanic communities.  Many countries also celebrate with fireworks and sparklers, as well as Christmas trees and presents.

Easter celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and ends Holy Week or Semana Santa.  During this week there can daily processions or walks, sometimes with participants carrying wooden crosses, and often a full Passion Play which re-enacts the suffering Jesus went through before his death.  In Spain parents give their children little figures carved out of chocolate on Easter Sunday.

Another well known Hispanic celebration is Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.  This holiday is celebrated on November 2.  Alters are built and the favorite foods, drinks, photographs and other items of dead relatives and friends are displayed.  People do this because they hope for visits by the souls of these friends and relatives.  Sugar skulls are common on Dia de los Muertos and so are chocolate coffins and skulls.

Famous Stories Or Epics

La Llorona is a folktale which originated in Mexico but spread to many other Hispanic countries.  La Llorona means “The Weeping Woman” and tells the story of a woman named Maria who drowned her children in order to be with her true love, but he rejected her and she killed herself.  When she got to Heaven Maria was asked where her children were and because she didn’t know, she wasn’t allowed to enter.  Parents now tell their children that Maria, the Weeping Woman, is still looking for her children so they must be careful about being out after dark or flaunting expensive items for fear that she will snatch them up!  Others believe that if you hear the Weeping Woman crying, it means death will come soon.

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Children’s Game

Escondidas is a traditional children’s game like Hide And Seek.  This game works best with five or more players.  One child is chosen to be “it” and this person closes his or her eyes and counts to a set number 10, 30, 60 or even 100.  As that child is counting the other players run and hide.  When the count is finished the player who is “it” sets out to find the hidden players.  The player who is found first becomes “it” for the next round.

Verbal Or Nonverbal Communication

In Spanish you can choose to use more formal words, and most people do this until the person they are speaking to invites them to become informal.  Older people are always greeted first, and people are addressed by their last names until they give permission for their first names to be used.  Meals are social events with a lot of chatting and more important business or news shared later on.  Saying “please” (por favor) and “thank you” (gracias) is very important in Hispanic countries.

When they first meet many Hispanics shake hands but later men may hug each other and women kiss each other on the cheek or even on both cheeks.  People stand much closer together in Hispanic countries and might think that someone is being rude if they move further away.  There is also a lot more flexibility about time in Hispanic cultures, so being right on time is not necessary.  Some people show up about 30 minutes after the time stated on invitations so there is no reason to worry about being a little late!

Values

            Hispanic cultures value family, respect, sacrifice and hard work.  Hispanic families tend to be very close, and loyalty to the family and placing the good of the family ahead of your own success is important.  Working hard and making sacrifices for the good of others is also valued, and some people think it is the only way to make a better future.

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Fun Facts

Most Hispanics are known as fun loving people, and one party game that developed in Mexico was the piñata.  This is a cardboard shape decorated with colored paper and filled with candy, small toys and other treats.  The piñata is hoisted into the air and players are blind-folded and allowed to hit the piñata with sticks.  When the piñata breaks open everyone gets to enjoy the surprises which spill out. 

Many Hispanic girls are thrown a quinceañera on their fifteenth birthdays.  This party tells the world that the girl is now a young woman.  The birthday girl dresses up in a ball gown, has her hair and make-up done, and often dances for the first time at her party.  Some girls also arrive at the party in flat shoes only to change into high heels during the fun.

Famous Places

Hispanic countries are home to some of the most interesting places in the world.  The Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain is a fortress that was built in the 14th century.  It was made out of red clay and is known for its beautiful tiles.  The Panama Canal was made between 1904 and 1914 and joins the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  Patagonia, a region in Argentina and Chile, is known to some as “the ending point of the world” and includes scenery like mountains and glaciers.  Machu Pichu, “the lost city of the Incas”, is in Peru and believed to have been an estate for an Incan emperor.

Important Note: This article was written by a person who is familiar with Hispanic culture based on his or her personal anecdotal observations. Additionally, there are quite a few generalizations to make the article easier to understand for the children. Dino Lingo does not accept any responsibility for errors, omissions or subjectivity in the content of this post.

We are wondering what you know about Hispanic culture…Why don’t you tell us what you know by leaving a comment below? (make sure your comment is written in a language that can be understood by small children)

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Korean Culture for Children– fun facts, food, music, language & more

Food

            In some ways Korean food is similar to Japanese and Chinese cuisine. They all eat rice daily. However, there is one dish unique to Korea and that is kimchi. Koreans pickle vegetables rather than cook them. The pickled vegetables are called kimchi which Koreans eat every day. It may be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Any vegetable may be pickled but the ones most often used are cucumbers, cabbage and turnips. When pickled, vegetables lose their natural flavor and taste like the seasoning. Many different seasonings are used. The most popular are fish sauces, onion, chili, garlic, and ginger.

Rice cakes, called Deok, are made for special occasions. Recipes, shapes and colors differ throughout the country. Cakes also vary according to the occasion. Square cakes dipped in bean flour are often made for weddings and important birthdays such as the first or sixtieth.

Korean teens appreciate pizza and Coke however they are likely to choose prawn crackers (shrimp flavored) over Doritos and they enjoy different types of tea drinks. Teas are canned and bottled just as sodas are in the West.read more

Clothing

          Traditionally, the color and type of clothing worn by Koreans depended upon their place in society. The common people generally wore white. But they might dress up in colorful clothes for special occasions such as festivals and weddings. Members of the upper class and royalty usually dressed in bright colors. Certain colors, such as gold, could only be worn by royal families.

The traditional style outfit was the hanbok. A woman’s hanbok had a blouse, called a chogori, and a very full skirt. The blouse tied at the waist and had long, full sleeves. The skirt or chi’mu reached to the ankles. Numerous petticoats might be worn underneath to increase the fullness. The chi’mu was fastened by tying across the chest just under the arms. The men’s chogori tended to be longer than the women’s and was styled more like a tunic. Instead of a skirt, men wore baggy trousers called paji.

Today most Koreans wear typical Western attire although they dress conservatively and favor darker colors. Levis are very popular with men and women. The hanbok is reserved for ceremonial occasions and is sometimes worn by the older generation.read more

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Festivals, Holidays and Celebrations

          All Korean holidays are based on the lunar calendar. The two most important are Seolnal and Chuseok. Chuseok, also known as the Harvest Moon Festival, is a time for thanksgiving and honoring one’s ancestors. In the morning, the family gathers around the ancestral shrine to participate in memorial rites showing respect to the ancestors. Afterwards they share songpyeon, a rice cake made from beans, adzuki, chestnuts, jujube and other grains. They may play a game called Gama Fight. Here, two teams play. Each team has a sedan chair equipped with four wheels. The object of the game is for one team to either capture or destroy the other team’s chair. Yut is another popular New Year’s game. Everyone eats rice soup since this will bring them good fortune in the year to come. Families also visit the ancestral graves and pay their respects. There is music and dancing while people sing songs asking for good fortune. Children also make promises to obey their elders all year.read more

Famous Stories

          Perhaps the most famous Korean story is The Tale of Chunnhyang. It is a popular love story that has been made into various films and TV shows. Yi Mongryong is the son of a prosperous, upper class family. He meets and immediately falls in love with Sung Chunnhyang who is beneath him socially but very beautiful. He wants to propose marriage but before he can do this, he must first go to Hanyang and take a government exam. While he is away, a local and corrupt government official, Bhyn Hak-do also wants to be with Sung. Sung will have nothing to do with Bhyn. As a result, she is tortured. Later, Mongryong, having passed his government exam, returns. He discovers what Byun has done and immediately punishes him. He then rescues his sweetheart and they are married.read more

Children’s Games

Many Korean games are played with sticks and stones. Gonggi is played with small stones about the size of a grape. The stones are laid on a flat surface. A player picks one up and tosses it into the air from the palm of the hand. Then the player must immediately turn over the palm and catch the stone on the back of the hand. The game can be made more challenging by tossing more than one stone at a time.

Girls like to play a stone game similar to jacks. Small stones are placed on a flat surface and a ball is tossed into the air. The object is to pick up as many stones as possible prior to catching the ball.

Yut is a popular board game for the Lunar New Year celebration. Four players or even teams can play. There are four sticks, each with a curved side and a flat side, along with a board. The sticks are tossed into the air at each turn. The results control the number of spaces a player can move on the board. The first player or team to make it all the way around the board wins the game.read more

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Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

          Koreans once used Chinese characters for writing. However, in the 15th century they developed a national writing system called Hangui that is still used today. Korean words have special endings to use when speaking to an elder or one to whom you owe respect. These endings are called honorifics.

In Korea, never motion people to come toward you with the palm of your hand facing upwards. This gesture is used to command a dog so it is rude to use it with people. To signal a person to approach you extend your arm with the palm facing downward and wave your hand. Left handed people might find it difficult to live in Korea as one must always remember to use the right hand to give something to someone. Dishes at the dining table are always passed with the right hand. Like most Asian nations, Koreans avoid touching so hugging is not acceptable.read more

Values

          Koreans need to be very careful not to behave in a way that would embarrass their family. Children are expected to work hard in school and respect their teachers. Women do not have equal rights in Korean society as they might in other cultures. Men and boys are considered more important than girls. Korean female teenagers complain to each other about having to help with the cooking and housework while their brothers do nothing around the house. Older people are highly respected. Koreans also show great respect to their ancestors who have passed on.

Workers are expected to obey their boss however the boss should never scold the worker in the presence of others. It is crucial in Korean society to avoid embarrassing someone or hurting their feelings.

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Fun Facts

          Korea, once a unified nation, is now divided into two separate countries, the Republic of Korea in the south and the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea in the north. They are separated by a strip of land called the Demilitarized Zone or DMZ.

Four is considered a very unlucky number in Korea. Sometimes in buildings, floors are numbered 1, 2, 3, and 5. The number four is skipped and the fifth floor is really the fourth floor.

When you visit a Korean home, you should always remove your shoes at the entrance.

Scientists at Seoul National University in South Korea created the world’s first cloned dog. It was an Afghan hound named Snuppy.read more

Famous Places

One of Korea’s most famous places is truly magical for the young in years and the young at heart. Everland Resort is a theme park complete with a race track, zoo, and water park. Everland is home to the T Express. Measuring 5,838 feet in length, it is the longest wooden roller coaster on Planet Earth. Its 77 foot drop also makes it the steepest of the world’s coasters. The park has four other coasters, one with a speed of 52 miles per hour.

The Everland Speedway hosts many professional racing events. But what it may be most loved for is the opportunity for thrill seekers with no racing training to be race drivers for an hour or so.

Important Note: This article was written by a person who is familiar with Korean culture based on his or her personal anecdotal observations. Additionally, there are quite a few generalizations to make the article easier to understand for the children. Dino Lingo does not accept any responsibility for errors, omissions or subjectivity in the content of this post.

We are wondering what you know about Korean culture…Why don’t you tell us what you know by leaving a comment below? (make sure your comment is written in a language that can be understood by small children)

Read more