Who doesn’t like a good holiday celebration? I know I do.
I often get questions in the contact center regarding different holidays.
- Does my child celebrate such and such a holiday?
- What are some holidays that are special to my child?
- To be sensitive to my child’s culture and customs, are there things I shouldn’t talk about?
- Should I only mention the tradition behind the celebration or can I also talk about the specific festivities?
The U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving is a good example. We are celebrating hospitality, God’s goodness, and how the kindness of strangers helped save a whole community.
It’s a great holiday and time with family, but how do we recognize it? Most of us over-eat, sit around watching football, and battle with strangers for parking spots and places in lines to buy stuff — which is hardly hospitable. And these customs would be difficult for a child in poverty to understand.
What about other holidays? Do you take your children trick-or-treating at Halloween? Do you hide eggs and eat Peeps at Easter?
Do you buy fireworks and light them up on Independence Day? These holidays are part of our culture and the way we celebrate is hard to avoid talking about.
So what do we tell our sponsored kids, Brett?
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Be sensitive to their culture and customs.
For example, yoga is predominantly a form of exercise here in the U.S., and many Americans now practice it without any spiritual implications. However, yoga is still very much a Hindu practice in Asia, and thus it would have a negative implication to people who know about yoga’s Hindu roots.
Halloween is a time to take our kids out and get free candy from generous neighbors, but in Latin American countries the spiritual association is prominent. It’s associated with the Day of the Dead and is often celebrated with altars built to dead relatives — something the evangelical Christian community stays away from.
Then should I not tell my sponsored child about holiday celebrations?
Talk about the time you spend with your family. You can share your life with the children you sponsor. Be honest and open, but be sensitive.
You can also rely on our great staff members working in each of our country offices to be sure all communication delivered to the children is culturally acceptable and appropriate.
Finally, if you are unsure if something you are going to send or something you are going to write should be included, ask us.