dgraab , Parent asks:

What are some of the ways you help your children celebrate the religious diversity of their classmates and friends?

Or conversely, how do you help your child's friends understand or participate in your family's religious traditions?

This question springs from two comments received at the end of the Education.com article, "Help Your Child Celebrate Religious Diversity":

Both suggested expanding the religions/cultures discussed, so I thought JustAsk would be a great place for folks to share.
In Topics: Helping my child with social studies / history, Friendships and peer relationships, Family fun / holiday celebrations
> 60 days ago

Feb 9, 2010

Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
This is a great question and thank you for asking!  Often culture is defined by the elements that make a culture, including religion.  Thus, food, music, art, language and religious practices are all important.

I know that our family often invited neighborhood kids to celebrate holidays in our home that were not Christian based.  We were able to have friends of our children learn about the not so popular/ well known Jewish holidays such as Purim or Sukkot by simply inviting them over and discussing the meaning of the holidays through fun conversation over a meal.  We would play music from groups that were singing in Hebrew or other non-English languages about our holidays to set the theme/ tone.

Thank again for asking-

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of SigningFamilies.com
Host of Learning and Laughter (http://toginet.com)

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Additional Answers (1)

dgraab , Parent writes:
I'll start by sharing about our family's experiences in this regard.

We attend cultural events on a regular basis, and this includes the religious ceremonies of our Balinese friends. For instance, we've attended the blessing ceremony of one of my daughter's friends when he was a baby, in his father's family compound in the mountains of Bali. We have toured Balinese religious temples, and have witnessed a Balinese ceremony for a home too. In each of these cases, we asked the friends who invited us about proper dress and etiquette. While we don't participate in their religious practice and can't eat the ceremonial pig, we are happy to support them by attending their event and gifting (as appropriate).

Back in the United States, we've been invited and have attended church events for Christmas and (unfortunately) funerals. We approached these events in the same way: we learned the appropriate dress and behavior before attending, and did not participate in the prayer or religious tradition (such as taking alter bread and water). Instead, we were there to show support for our family and friends, and learn about or appreciate their religious practice.

With regard to sharing our religious traditions with our daughter's friends, once a year we participate in Ramadan and the Eid ul-Fitri celebration at the end of the month-long fast. There's a big event at the San Francisco cultural center for Indonesians, and we invite our friends to join us for that celebration. The beginning of the event includes group prayer, and typically our friends skip that part and instead come for the feasting and festivities afterward. This includes receiving Muslim greetings by dozens of people as you arrive and mingle, and as much as possible, we try to share the words (and their meaning) with our friends beforehand, to help them feel comfortable.

I'm looking forward to hearing from other parents and families about how you celebrate religious diversity too.
> 60 days ago

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