Making the Foreign Familiar: Attending Cultural Festivals & Celebrations

This post is another installment of my MTFF series. In this series I share the ways I am making the foreign familiar to my children. My goal is to help them develop a global perspective. My hope is that they realize both that the world is immense with so much to see and explore, filled with people who may look different or may do things differently AND that it's a small world after all -- that we are all human with similar needs and wants.

Please note, this post is written in partnership with Tea Collection and contains affiliate links. 

Another way we strive to make the foreign familiar in our household is by taking a peek into the heart of foreign cultures through their festivals and celebrations. We're pretty lucky living near Seattle because at the Seattle Center there is a festival celebrating a different culture at least once per month. The festivals are part of free cultural programming called Festál, which celebrates 20 years this year.

Here the children are posed in front of a garden artwork that is a sort of representation of the Festál calendar and shows all the cultures represented coming together.

Most recently, my family attended the Black Arts Festival. I know sometimes we think of "foreign" as cultures from other countries, but I think it's also very important for my American children to know and appreciate Black-American culture. At this particular festival, we got to appreciate some soul music, products from small Black-owned local businesses as well as a traveling Black history museum.

One of the most interesting parts of the traveling museum was finding out that some people claim the Olmecs were related to Africans based on these colossal sculptures that depict heads with facial features typically atributed to Africans. (A model of one of the colossal heads is shown above.)

Another highlight was learning about all the gadgets and tools that were invented, pantented, or improved upon by African Americans, such as the cell phone.

This summer is actually packed with lots of cultural events including the Arab Festival, Iranian Festival, BrasilFest, and Tibet Fest. Besides the events held at the Seattle Center, there are numerous other cultural festivals around town (with some events overlapping since event organizers seem to pack them all in during the summer when we actually get a break from the rain). One event I am looking forward to is the Bon Odori festival this coming weekend. It's a Japanese celebration for honoring one's ancestors. 

Probably the best celebration this summer is the one we just attended at our friends' home. They organized a typical "festa junina" with traditional music, food, and decor. I hope to share with you soon some photos of the Brazilian sweets we prepared and took to the party.

Now on to the outfits! Paloma is wearing the Yulara Baby Outfit. (Shop here.) Hunter is wearing the Bugging Out Graphic Tee and Wonga Patch Pocket Shorts. (Shop here and here.)

P.S. Here is a running list of the topics in my series on ways to make the foreign familiar:
1. Create crafts and child-friendly artwork inspired by different cultures from around the world. 
2. Learn about animals from around the world.
3. Expose children to foreign languages
4. Attend cultural festivals and celebrations. 

1 comment

  1. It amazes me how you are always on top of everything cool that is going on around here! I wish we had gone to the Bon Odori festival! I have good memories of the one I used to go to in my home town. And I'm very happy you enjoyed our Festa Junina! I'm hoping to make a tradition of it 😁


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