Back to School Traditions

“Without traditions, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd.  Without innovation, it is a corpse.” -William Churchill.

Ah, but as humans we find comfort in tradition.  Tradition is what brings us back to the present and reminds us of what is yet to come.  For some, it is a little bit of security and familiarity in what can sometimes seem like a chaotic world.

The first day of school is no exception.  As a child, what did you do to acknowledge the specialness of yet another year begun in your education? Perhaps you had a special breakfast that Mom only made every once in a while.  Possibly you stood on the stoop for the inevitable and predictable first day of school photograph, your collar starched and your hair greased into perfection.  Maybe you received a special treat in your lunch box to offer comfort and surprise during your first day, a small reminder that your family was at home thinking of you.

With the first day of school just around the corner, you may be wondering what some of the traditions are around the world.  Here are a few:

Japanese SchoolchildrenIn Japan, children pack their “randoseru” with origami paper, slippers, and weeding tools on the first day of school.

In the Republic of Kazakhstan, children receive a special bag filled with candles, pencils, and sweets.  Here children are not the only ones to receive special attention. Each child also brings a flower to the teacher.

In Russia, the children are treated to puppet shows and they ring “first bells” to represent the first day of school.

In Germany, children receive paper cones called “Schultute” that are packed with school supplies.

Now you have the power to make the first day of school special for a child. You can reuse a tradition you experienced as a child, or perhaps you want to adopt one used in another part of the world.  Or maybe, like Churchill, you appreciate innovation and want to create traditions that are all your own. This is fine, too. Whatever you choose, remember that you are helping to instill that sense of excitement and newness that is only representative of the first day of school. Remember how it felt for you?

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  1. Pingback: Back to School Traditions | Rusty and Rosy

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