Learning a language is not only about studying grammar and expanding your vocabulary. It’s important to learn about the traditions and customs of the countries in which that language is spoken as well – and fortunately, that’s a very fun thing to do!
This week we invited many of our young students to a party to celebrate that it was 100 days until Christmas! Although I’m not sure exactly where this tradition originated, my family has celebrated it for as long as I can remember, so we wanted to share it with our students.
The students and their families arrived around 6:00 in the evening and we chatted and relaxed and played with our new kitten. When everyone had arrived, we gathered in a circle of chairs around a beautiful display, a block tower we’d built and decorated with wooden figurines of the holy family and lots of Santa Rita flowers and candles. We sang many Christmas songs, including some of the most well-known Paraguayan villancicos.
Then came the students’ best part: the delicious Christmas snack! We had baked Stollen, a traditional Christmas bread that is stuffed full of nuts and dried fruit, as well as star-shaped cookies. One of our students’ mothers had baked a cake as well, so everyone ate to their heart’s content.
As we licked up the last crumbs and finished our drinks, the adults sat and talked and the kids ran around the yard and played in the sandbox. I think they all enjoyed practicing English in a less formal setting! We’ll have to do it again next year, for sure.