<Standard 1.8 .................................................................................................................................................................... Standard 2.1>

Explain that Americans have a variety of different religious, community, and family celebrations and customs, and describe celebrations or customs held by members of the class and their families.

external image ReligiousFreedomStamp.jpg
America is a country that is made up of people from many different countries and backgrounds. It is important for children to be aware of different beliefs and respect them.

Image to the right is a Postage Stamp, 1957. The Flushing Remonstrance set a precedent for the freedom of religion provision in the Bill of Rights.
external image Reports.gifU. S. Religious Landscape Survey (2010) from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

  • Click here to read an article from PBS on teaching children about diversity.
  • Click here to read an article from Scholastic on teaching children about diversity.

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 1.00.41 PM.pngWelcoming Schools is a project through the Human Rights Campaign aimed at making schools more open, welcoming, and safe for LGBTQ and all students. They have lesson plans (Common Core aligned!) about teaching students about LGBTQ issues and diversity.

lessonplan.jpgClick here for a unit lesson plans on teaching about Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

lessonplan.jpgClick here for a lesson plan from the UNC School of Education on family traditions.

The people in America have many different religions:

This map shows religion by state. From wikimedia commons, 2006

As of 2007, the most common religions were Christianity, Judaism, Islam.

Symbols of Christianity

  • There is one God
  • This God knows and sees all
  • This God is the creator of everything
  • Jesus Christ is God
  • Jesus died for our sins
  • Jesus was resurrected from the dead
  • Those who believe in God will go to heaven

Holy Book:
  • The Bible
Major Holidays:
  • Lent-
    • 40 day fasting period
    • Starts 40 days before Easter
    • Used for self-reflection
    • Many Christians don't eat meat on Fridays during Lent
    • Many Christians give up something they enjoy for Lent
  • Palm Sunday-
    • The Sunday before Easter
    • Celebrates Jesus entering Jerusalem
  • Good Friday-
    • Friday before Easter
    • The day that Jesus was crucified
    • Day of mourning
  • Easter-
    • First Sunday after first full moon on March 21st
    • Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus
  • Pentecost-
    • 40 days after Easter
    • Celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit
  • Advent-
    • Starts 4 Sundays before Christmas
    • Celebrates the second coming of Jesus
  • Christmas-
    • December 25th
    • Celebrates the birthday of Jesus
    • Many families celebrate with gifts
Click here to read more about the religion of Christianity.
Click here to read more about the Christian Holy Days.

Symbol of Judaism

  • There is one God
  • This God is present everyday
  • This God is too complicated for us to understand
  • Every person was created in the image of God
  • All Jewish people are connected
  • A Messiah, or messenger from God, will come to Earth one day
  • This Messiah will unite the world and bring peace
  • Many belief this Messiah will be a descendant from King David
Holy Book:
  • The Torah
Major Holidays:
Jewish Holidays begin on sundown the day before
  • Passover-
    • Celebrates when the Hebrew slaves were freed from Egypt
    • Starts on the full moon in April
    • Celebrated for 8 days
    • During this time, the Jews hold a Seder and tell the story of Passover
    • During Passover, Jews keep Kosher
      • Avoid eating foods with wheat, barley, rye, spelt, and oats
      • Eating a flat bread called Matzah is very common
  • Rosh Hashanah-
    • Jewish New Year
    • Lasts either 1 or 2 days depending on the form of Judaism
    • Occurs between Labor Day and Columbus Day
    • Time to reflect on the past year and make goals for the next year
    • Also a time to prepare for Yon Kippur
    • Most Jews do not work or go to school on this day
  • Yon Kippur-
    • Jewish day of atonement
    • Occurs 9 days after Rosh Hashanah
    • On this day, Jews ask for forgiveness for any mistakes made in the past year
    • A day of fasting
    • Most Jews do not work or go to school on this day
  • Chunukkah-
    • Festival of lights
    • Occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas
    • Celebrates re-dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem after revolt against the Greeks
    • After the revolt, the Jews lit the menorah, but there was only enough oil for one day
    • The oil lasted for eight days
    • To remember this, Jews celebrate for 8 days, lighting a candle on the menorah each night
    • Not an equivalent to Christmas
Click here for more information on the Jewish faith
Click here for more information on Jewish holidays

Symbol of Islam

  • There is one God, Allah
  • Allah created and knows all
  • There have been many prophets, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus
  • These prophets each had a message from Allah
  • Allah's final message was lost before it was received
  • Muslims believe in all scriptures and messages from Allah
  • These scriptures and messages show the Right Path of Allah
  • There are angels of Allah, who are perfect creatures
  • There will be a Day of Judgement, in which all believers will go to Heaven
  • Muslims pray 5 times a day to Allah
Holy Book:
  • The Qur'an
Major Holidays:
  • Ramadan-
    • Takes place during the 9th month of the Islamic year
    • During this month, Muslims fast during the day light hours
    • This time is used to cleanse the body, pay attention to Allah, and practice self-sacrifice
    • Also used to forgive others, and strengthen bonds with friends and family
  • Eid Al-Fitr-
    • 3 day celebration at the end of Ramadan
    • To prepare for Eid Al-Fitr, Muslim families give a food donation to the poor during the end of Ramadan
    • This way, even the poor can participate in the celebration
    • On the first day, the day of Eid, Muslims gather to perform the Eid prayer and for a brief sermon
    • After the prayer, Muslims spend the days visiting family and friends, gift giving, and calling distant relatives or friends
    • This is usually a celebration in which Muslims do not attend work or school
  • Hajj-
    • Considered one of the 5 pillars of Islam
    • Requires that every able-bodied Muslim (who can afford it) travel to Mecca
    • About 3 million people attend each year
    • Has been happening for 14 centuries
    • In Mecca, the Muslims dress in the same white robes to represent human equality
    • While at Mecca, Muslims perform ceremonial rites from the prophet Abraham
  • Eid Al-Adha-
    • Celebrates the end of Hajj
    • Lasts for varying amount of times, usually about 3 days
    • To remember Abraham, Muslims will sacrifice an animal during this celebration
    • 1/3 of the sacrifice is eaten by the family, 1/3 is given to friends, 1/3 is donated
    • The holiday is also a time for prayer and visiting friends and family
Click here for more information on Islam.
Click here for more information on the Islamic holidays.

For more information on Islam, see World History I.2

multicultural.pngClick here and here for guides on behavior and custom by country. They list what is expected in each country and may help explain certain rituals members of the class could have.