Today’s post is a first for me: I’m hosting the Multicultural Kid Blogs monthly blogging carnival on travel with kids. Travelling with my kids is something regular readers will know I’m passionate about so I’m delighted to be able to collate an article with contributions from bloggers all around the world on this subject close to my heart.
The theme I have chosen for this carnival is visiting/participating in festivals, fairs, fêtes and cultural events across the globe as a way for children to understand more about a particular place or culture. Travelling far isn’t always possible for families for numerous reasons including the two main ones of time and cost, but travel doesn’t have to be far to be rewarding – “travel at home” is just as important as overseas or foreign travel. What is seen as normal or mundane by one person might be seen as exciting or exotic by another so in the case of an international blogging carnival one blogger’s visit to a local food fair in Europe is as interesting and relevant as another’s visit to a tribal festival in Africa.
Carnaval in Brazil by Our Whole Village
As a family we regularly visit local festivals in the South of France which range from small village affairs celebrating the harvest of local produce such as pumpkins or bitter oranges to the big international celebrations that are Nice Carnival and the lemon festival, la fête du citron, in Menton at the end of every winter. While many of our local fairs focus on food (this is France!) and flowers (we live very close to Grasse, the world centre of perfume) there are also medieval fairs and other historical fêtes that we love discovering or going to each year. The children learn about things such as traditional practices in farming/local industry, environmental concerns and sustainability and realise how important it is/was to our region while having fun. Even the biggest annual party locally, Nice Carnival considered the oldest carnival in the world, is both historically important and contemporarily important as the floats all poke irreverant fun at modern life. As my kids get older they understand more of the satire and current issues relevant to today’s world. It’s great to see them “get” the point of a particular float.
Lemon festival in France by Lou Messugo
So going back to today’s blogging carnival and feeling certain in my belief that festival/fairs are something that kids can enjoy and learn from in a fun and easy way (without them necessarily being aimed at children), I asked bloggers in the Multicultural Kid Blogs group to share with me their experiences of visiting these sorts of events with kids. And just as I’d hoped, I’m far from alone in my beliefs and have been sent articles on festivals as varying as carnival in Brazil via Diwali being celebrated in Canada to King’s Day in Holland and Songkran in Thailand, with plenty of others in between. A true multicultural and international mix. I hope you enjoy this virtual world tour of fascinating, fabulous and unusual festivals.
Celebrating cultural festivals when not in the country of origin
Constitution Day in Norway by Eva Varga
Celebrating festivals that are culturally important to your family when living in another country is a challenge that many expats and multicultural families face. It’s not always possible to travel to the country of origin but parents want to pass on their cultural heritage (or share something special from their past) and involve their children so they have to find their own ways of doing so. MADH Mama shows us How to celebrate Diwali abroad (from Canada) and Castle View Academy takes us to a couple of interesting Japanese festivals, Hanami in Northern Ireland and Japanese summer Matsuri also in Northern Ireland. Eva Varga explains the history of Norwegian Constitution Day and how she celebrates it in the US and Super Urdu Mom writes about her memories of Basant in Pakistan and how she shares them with her daughter.
Visiting traditional local festivals close to home
Sweet chestnut festival in France by Rue du Belvedere
As I explained above my family enjoy going to local festivals and clearly so do many other bloggers from the number of contributions I had. Hanna Cheda writes about visiting a nearby harvest festival to teach her city children the origin of certain foodstuffs. Mama Smiles describes a trip to a local fete all about inventions – Maker Faire and Family on the Loose go back in time at a Renaissance Faire. Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes writes about going to a Native American Heritage and Culture Festival for the first time and in a guest post on Multicultural Kid Blogs Cordelia explains all about Thai New Year Songkran. Pintsize Gourmets takes us to Hawaii for May Day festivities and we experience a sweet chestnut festival in rural France with Rue du Belvedere. La Cité des Vents writes about visiting an Autumn Fair and a Medieval Festival both in Oberursel in Germany, while American Mom in Bordeaux shows us around a traditional French fun fair on International Francophonie Day
Visiting foreign festivals locally to home
Welsh festival in USA by Tara’s Multicultural Table
Slightly different from attending traditional local festivals some families like to go to festivals about another culture (still nearby) even though they don’t necessarily have any ties to that particular culture themselves. Family on the Loose describes how they spent a day in Japan by going to a local Japanese autumn festival. Expat Life with a Double Buggy writes about visiting an Embassy Festival designed to showcase all the different nationalities living in The Hague. Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes explores the world under one roof at Columbia’s International Festival twice! One year the theme country was Brazil and another time The Philippines. Tara’s Multicultural Table takes us on a trip to Wales at the Fredericksburg Welsh Festival.
Travelling abroad to foreign festivals
Traveling to the Andes with kids by Mullticultural Kid Blogs
Sometimes the festival is the reason for the trip as Daria explains in this guest post on Multicultural Kid Blogs Traveling to the Andes for the festival of the Virgin of Candelaria (so good she went twice!) La Cité des Vents also travelled for a festival in this instance to Perpignan in France for the Sanch Procession. Other times it can be a lucky chance that a festival takes place while visiting an area as happened to Our Whole Village in Brazil: Carnaval in Moura and Boy Eats World in Thailand: Surviving Songkran with kids. For Vagabonding with Kids carnaval was a reason to stay on an extra week while on holiday in Brazil: Carnaval with kids. Sailing Yoga Family writes passionately about finding a festival they feel they belong at, Colourfest in UK.
King’s Day in the Netherlands
King’s Day in Amsterdam by Finding Dutchland
This festival gets its own subtitle as I received 4 submissions about it! First up Expat Life with a Double Buggy explains everything you need to know about King’s Day, Rina writes in Finding Dutchland how to celebrate King’s Day like a rock star and Michele also from Finding Dutchland talks about the life-changing magic of King’s Day and finally Good to be Mom looks at King’s Day specifically in Maastricht.
Songkran in Thailand by Boy Eats World
I hope you’ve enjoyed travelling around the world visiting these wonderful and varied festivals, I’ve certainly loved it. I now have serious wanderlust and desperately want to go to them all! Have you been to any festivals/fairs recently with your kids? I’d love to hear from you.
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