All posts filed under: Celebrations

SOMOS LATINOS: Mis Fiestas / My Celebrations

There are many holidays in Latin America and each country has their own way of celebrating them. Jose’s parents came from Puerto Rico and they celebrate Three Kings Day. Valeria takes part in Bolivia’s Carnival. Cristobal from Ecuador celebrates the Day of the Dead. Zofía’s family were early Spanish settlers in the Southwest and they celebrate Las Posadas.

VIVA MEXICO: The Fiestas

Regional celebrations take various forms. Music, dance, fireworks, bullfights, parades, rodeos, contests, the bird-men, folk plays, historic battles are recreated with costumes and masks. Each town and region proclaims their own Saint’s Days which are celebrated with reenactments of events. Some are somber, others comical and wild, but all are very Mexican. 


The people in the small Colonial town of Olinda, Brazil, prepare for the annual five day festivities of carnival. Then music, dancing, and merrymaking burst out to fill the narrow streets with visitors and townsfolk, young and old alike.

Fiesta Fireworks

We meet Caren whose family makes the fireworks that the town explodes to celebrate their patron saint. At their workshop on the outskirts of town her father, uncle, and grandfather build toritos, bulls that are made of Papier-mâché and painted. Then they are covered with fireworks. Castles of fireworks are built in the town plaza and that night after the procession the fireworks light up the town as rockets are shot into the night sky exploding with color flowers of fire.

Let’s Dance

If you can speak, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance. All you have to do is kick, step, turn, hop, jump, reach, leap, and wiggle.

Barrio: José’s Neighborhood

José’s neighborhood is the Mission District in San Francisco. The book shows the blending of cultures such as Halloween becoming the Day of the Dead which is celebrated in schools, stores, and homes. It is a community that sings out it’s cultures and histories with murals, festivals. gardens, foods, holidays and birthday parties. 

Fiesta U.S.A

Four celebrations brought here by Hispanic immigrants to retain their traditions and to share them with their new neighbors. 


Throughout the year in cities and towns and on reservations across the United States and Canada, Native Americans gather to celebrate their heritage and culture. Suits and ties, jeans and tennis shoes give way to breastplates and bustles, leggings and moccasins. In a kaleidoscope of color and movement, men, women, and children step and spin to the driving beat of a drum. 

Pablo Remembers: The Fiesta of the Day of the Dead

On October 30, people everywhere in Mexico are busy preparing for the three-day fiesta of El Día de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. Bakers are baking the traditional pan de muertos, the bread of the dead. Candy makers are making sugar skulls. Children are cutting out cardboard skeletons. Farmers are harvesting marigolds, flowers of the dead. Families are building and decorating alters to honor loved ones who have died. 

Handtalk Birthday

Mary Beth is awakened by a light bulb flashing over her head. Someone’s at the door. Shuffling to the door in her nightgown and bunny slippers. She opens the door and SURPRISE! All her friends are there to celebrate her birthday. They sign and fingerspell HAPPY BIRTHDAY, give presents, eat goodies and cake, and are astonished by the birthday wish. 

The Glorious Fourth in Prairietown

It is July 4, 1836, and Prairietown, Indiana, is celebrating the biggest and most exuberant holiday of the year. This is the “Glorious Fourth”, and in Prairietown–and across the country–townfolk and strangers passing through have stopped their day-to-day lives to join together as Americans to commemorate their young nation’s birthday.

My Special Friend

The story of two boys, Doron and Jonathan, and their friendship that develops at synagogue each Shabbat morning. Jonathan has downs syndrome and finds doing some things hard. When Jonathon is invited to lead the congregation in singing he agrees. But when the time comes he turns to his friend Doron for help. The two boys together sing the “Adon Olam” and are congratulated by the entire congregation.