May 5, 2020

Happy Cinco de Mayo, Mexico!

Within Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza’s unlikely victory occurred, although other parts of the country also take part in the celebration. Traditions include military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla and other festive events. For many Mexicans, however, May 5 is a day like any other: It is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks, and stores remain open.

February 11, 2020

Happy Youth Day, Cameroon!

Youth Day is a public holiday celebrated in Cameroon on February 11th. It celebrates and glories the country's youth because they are the future. Children get off school to participate in events such as parades, where they dance through the streets, accompanied by marching bands. Shops sell food to participants in the parade along the streets as government officials watch. Other activities include sporting events, competitions, and art exhibitions.

Youth Day focuses on shaping the potential of the future of the youth by encouraging children to renounce violence. The president usually broadcasts speeches on the radio and television to talk about all the youth in the country have achieved and different ways to improve the education and lives of the people.

January 6, 2020

Happy La Fête des Rois in France

La Fête des Rois or Epiphany is Celebrated January 6th. Epiphany is a Christian holiday that celebrates the arrival of the wise men at the Nativity where Jesus was born. While this is a widely celebrated holiday throughout the world, France has some unique traditions in their celebrations, especially when it comes to the food.

During la Fête des Rois, families gather together for a dinner and traditionally eat a galette des Rois, which is a pastry cake filled almond paste. Hidden within the cake is a bean, though most families will substitute a small toy instead. The person whose slice of cake contains the bean or figure gets a prize, usually a crown.

Here is a recipe for the galette des rois!

December 22, 2019

Dōngzhì Festival, China

Today, December 22, marks the Dōngzhì Festival in China. It is celebrated in many different ways.

In northern China where it can get bitterly cold, people eat hot food and drink hot liquids to stay warm. Historically on Dōngzhì day, people went to the clan tombs to offer food and drink to their ancestor's spirits, clean the tombs, and work to maintain them. Then they gathered in the evening afterward for hot dumplings and drinks. People believed that when the days were short, there was insufficient yang energy, and they tried to eat high yang foods according to Chinese medicinal cuisine principals. Because of this, they ate fatty dumplings that contained meat and high yang warming herbs such as ginger and garlic.

Some people in southern China and some Chinese in communities in Southeast Asia gather together to make and eat a meal of tang yuan. Tang yuan symbolizes family unity and prosperity. These are specially cooked balls of rice that might have a filling of bean paste or meat with sweet high yang herbs. These are usually pink or white colored. Tang yuan is often served in a bowl with a sweet soup or broth.

For many Taiwanese and people of Taiwanese descent in other countries, the festival is still important. Families will go to the ancestral tombs and have meals of tang yuan, and they might offer tangyuan to the spirits at the tombs. They also have a custom of offering nine-layer cakes to their ancestors. The cakes are made of rice flour and are shaped like animals such as chickens, ducks, tortoises, pigs, cows, and sheep. According to traditional Chinese medical concepts, winter is the time of year it is important to rest, relax and nourish the body with high Yang fatty foods.

Tang yuan

December 9, 2019

Constitution Day, Spain

Constitution Day (Día de la Constitución) marks the anniversary of a referendum held in Spain on December 6, 1978. In this referendum, a new constitution was approved. This was an important step in Spain's transition to becoming a constitutional monarchy and democracy. Each year, a selection of high school students are invited to read the Constitution in the Lower House of the parliamentary buildings in Madrid a few days before December 6. The parliamentary buildings are open to the general public for one or two days.

Spain's Flag

November 23, 2019

Why Should My Child Learn French?

Is French Really Practical? 

Perhaps you have heard the myth that learning Spanish will be more advantageous to your child's future, or that learning Spanish is far easier than learning French. While learning Spanish definitely comes with its own benefits, and there may be more jobs on the rise for Spanish speakers, there are benefits to learning French instead.

French is not dying out! The majority of French speakers today are not living in France, and some key areas in which French is spoken, chiefly African countries, are poised to gain importance on the world stage. In fact, after English, French is the most-learned language worldwide. This means that there are huge communities available to the French learner.

It also means that by your child learning French you’re opening the door to communicate not just with native French speakers, but other people who have studied French. This can especially come in handy when traveling.

Children are natural learners, and language is no exception. The earlier a child learns a second language, the easier it will be and the more vocabulary he or she will retain into adulthood. Don't miss out on this crucial skill that will benefit your child in the future! Here at Cultured Kids Club, we are dedicated to growing multilingual children; we offer Spanish, Chinese, and French language lessons for kids. We've already discussed the advantages of learning Chinese and Spanish, so why not give French a try? Here are some reasons you should learn French as a second language.

Learning one language is not enough

In today’s world, speaking only one language is not enough. Students who speak several languages will increase their chances of finding a job, whether at home or abroad. Learning another language enriches the mind and opens up new horizons, both personal and professional.

The ability to speak both French and English is an advantage for finding a job. Many multinational companies use French as their working language, in a wide range of sectors from retail, automotive, luxury goods, and aeronautics. France, as the world’s fifth biggest economy, attracts entrepreneurs, researchers from all backgrounds.

For an English speaker, French has a great difficulty-to-benefit ratio. Although Spanish has become more frequently taught in the United States for quite some time now, there is one thing to keep in mind:

Taking the less popular option will make your skills more valuable when someone really needs them.

While jobs who are looking for Spanish speakers might be a consistent stream—Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the United States after all—the ones looking for French speakers may find fewer qualified candidates. Fewer qualified candidates mean a higher chance of being hired if your child is fluent in French.

It is Fun to Learn

Contrary to popular belief, French is not a difficult language to learn. Pronunciation may seem daunting, but the earlier a child is exposed to a different language, the easier it will be for him or her to pick it up. It will not take long to reach a level where your child can communicate in French. French also appeals to students because it is a soft, melodious, romantic language.

If you want your child to learn both French and Spanish, you might want to consider starting French first. While French will likely be more intimidating to speak initially, its shared vocabulary with English will help lessen the difficulty of memorization. Then, the similarities in grammar between French and Spanish make it easier to move from one to the other.

French is also a great confidence builder as a gateway to more challenging languages; especially the Romance Languages (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) and even English, since over half of modern-day English vocabulary is derived from French.

French and English are culturally and conceptually complementary. The American is pragmatic; he’s got two feet on the ground; the French is conceptual, he’s got the head in the stars. Feet on the ground, head in the stars; an unbeatable combination!

Increase Your Child's Educational Opportunities

Speaking French opens up opportunities for higher education at some of France’s best-known universities (the Sorbonne, Pierre Marie Curie University, etc.). Students with good French fluency may be eligible to apply for a French government grant to enroll on a postgraduate course of their choice in France, leading to an internationally recognized postgraduate degree.

Some 310,000 pupils are enrolled at 481 French schools in 133 countries. Half of them are foreign nationals, which makes the network of international French schools truly unique.

It is easy for students to make contact with French speakers of their own age, as pen pals or via the Internet. There are many different exchange programs in France that offer rewarding experiences. Thousands of French schools are twinned with counterparts around the world, creating links with the world’s largest educational network.

Increase Your Child's Travel Opportunities

France is the world’s top tourist destination and attracts more than 79.5 million visitors a year. According to the World Tourism Organization, France attracted 83 million foreign tourists in 2012, making it the most popular tourist destination in the world. A honeymoon is Paris seems to be the number one dream for young married couples. The ability to speak even a little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France. French also comes in handy when travelling to Africa, Switzerland, Canada, Monaco, the Seychelles and other places.

Spoken on 5 Continents

More than 220 million people speak French on all continents. French is a major language of international communication. It is the second most widely learned language after English and the sixth most widely spoken language in the world. French is also the second most widely taught language after English, and is taught on every continent. The OIF, an international organisation of French-speaking countries, is made up of 77 member states and governments. France also operates the biggest international network of cultural institutes, which run French-language course for close on a million learners. If you already speak English and add French to your repertoire, you might be surprised how many people you can talk to, even in countries where neither English nor French is an official language.

Whatever your goals, if you want your child to get started learning French, nothing should stop you now. Be sure to check out Cultured Kids Club's French class offerings; we make learning fun for children!

November 1, 2019

Today is La Toussant in France

La Toussaint is what they call All Saints Day in France. It is celebrated on November 1. All Saints Day is a Catholic holiday that celebrates the dead and all the saints in heaven. The French celebrate by visiting cemeteries to see the graves of their deceased loved ones.

One tradition they have is placing chrysanthemum flowers on the graves every La Toussaint.

This day is designated as a time to be with family and other loved ones as you remember your deceased loved ones. It is a day for prayer and silent remembering.

Chrysanthemum flowers.