December 24, 2018

Noche Buena, Spanish-speaking countries

Christmas Eve is called Noche Buena in Spanish (Good Night) and it is the most important family gathering of the year. In many Latin American countries, a huge feast takes place. Depending on where you are, the type of food eaten will differ. In some Caribbean countries, the night’s feast revolves around lechón asado, or roast pork. This is often cooked in a Caja China box, with the entire pig roasting under hot coals. The food is served with rice and beans, vegetables, salad, and other delicious side dishes. In Mexico, tamales, atole, or bacalao is typically eaten with buñuelos, or small donuts, for dessert. In Spain, you may find people feasting on seafood and soup, with turrón for dessert—a type of cake made of honey, sugar, egg whites, and roasted almonds or nuts.

Dessert is a Christmas sweet called turrón, which is a nougat made of toasted sweet almonds. Another typical festive sweet is called Polvorones which is made from almonds, flour, and sugar.

After dinner on Nochebuena, people will go to a Misa de Gallo, or midnight mass, at their church. It’s called Misa de Gallo because some believed that a rooster, or gallo, crowed the night that Jesus was born. There at the church, and in homes, people may see poinsettias, the beautiful red flower that has come to symbolize the winter holiday.

Poinsettias, the flower of Noche Buena.

December 21, 2018

Happy Holidays

From all of us here at Cultured Kids Club, we want to wish you a safe, fun, and festive holiday season!

December 6, 2018

Happy Saint Nicholas Day in France

On the night of December 5 (the eve of Saint Nicholas) children place their shoes in front of the fireplace and they sing traditional songs to the saint before going to bed. They believe that he will arrive on his donkey carrying treats and gifts for children. On the morning of December 6, children awaken to find their shoes filled with treats. Naughty children receive a little bundle of twigs tied together with a ribbon. Most children will receive some twigs in addition to their presents to represent any times they have been naughty.

Saint Nicholas originates primarily in Alsace, Nord-Pas-de-Calais (French Flanders), and in Lorraine, where he is the patron. A little donkey carries baskets filled with children's gifts, biscuits, and sweets. The whole family gets ready for the saint's arrival, with grandparents telling stories of the saint. The most popular one is of three children who wandered away and got lost. Through St. Nicolas' help, the boys were revived and returned to their families, earning him a reputation as protector of children.

Bakeries and home kitchens are hives of activity as spiced gingerbread biscuits and mannala (a brioche shaped like the saint) are baked. In schools, children learn songs and poems and create arts and crafts about St. Nicolas, while in nursery schools, a man portraying St. Nicolas gives away chocolates and sometimes little presents.

These shoes were left out for Saint Nicholas to fill!

December 3, 2018

December 2018 News

Winter Break Information

Cultured Kids Club will be CLOSED the week of December 23 through the end of the year. Our classes will resume on January 2.

Don't forget that spring semester classes begin in January; if you haven't enrolled yet, now is the time!

Register Today!

Dōngzhì Festival in Taiwan

Taiwan celebrates the Dōngzhì Festival on December 22. Families go to ancestral tombs and have meals of tang yuan, a glutinous rice ball. They offer tang yuan to the spirits at the tombs. Another custom is 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, such as lamb dumplings, another traditional food.

Try out this recipe for tang yuan!